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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Leadership- Moshe, Korach and Beyond

This week we read one of the summer camp parshiyot, Parshat Korach. One cannot read Parshat Korach and not think of models of leadership. Moshe, a leader chosen by God displays his very human emotions. He is hard working, uncertain at times,

and he suffers under the weight of carrying this band of people. He seems to sacrifice his personal life for the sake of his calling. Above all, the text emphasizes that Moses was a humble leader.

Korach, on the other hand seems to be a revolutionary leader, charismatic and willing to take chances. We are not certain what his motivation is to be the leader, whether it is altruistic or out of jealousy and the quest for power.

Parshat Korach asks us to think not just about who the leaders are, but also what are the affects of leadership on the population. Questions about being fit for leadership still ring true until this very day and even though these questions seem dominate the news now, I can only imagine that if we brought ourselves back in time through the generations, we would find the same questions dominating.

On this July 4th, it is nice to think about the passing of time, of ideals set down on paper and then how history plays out with different leaders at the helm.

May we hear good news soon.



It is good to remember

especially now and importantly then

that leaders come and go

climbing or stumbling onto the stage of history

and facing their audience.

Some are benevolent and masterful in their dealings with their calling.

Some are wise and gracefully escort us onto a path of peace and prosperity ,

Occasionally there are leaders both loved and inspired,


while others wax between shades of petty and ridiculous,

striking notes of cruelty and cultivating fields of disaster.

There are leaders who are swollen with power and foolish with pride,

For those sail in a leader’s wake

life can be a dream,

a dream of plenty, peace and prosperity

or for those caught in maw of a vicious leader

life is an unending nightmare.

This is no small thing.

Whether a leader holds on gently or with a vice like grip

it is prudent to recall

that leaders don’t last forever,

they are human and not invincible


when it seems that

some leaders try to swallow us whole and vomit us out

perhaps it is some small comfort

(sometimes it seems hopelessly small)

that this, too, shall pass.

To each leader there is a time and a season

לַכֹּ֖ל זְמָ֑ן וְעֵ֥ת לְכל־חֵ֖פֶץ תַּ֥חַת הַשָּׁמָֽיִם׃ {ס}  


A season is set for everything, a time for every experience under heaven:*

Perhaps then and perhaps now there is a place for hope.

*(Kohelet 3:1)


Now Korah, son of Izhar son of Kohath son of Levi, betook himself,-a along with Dathan and Abiram sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—descendants of Reuben-b—

to rise up against Moses, together with two hundred and fifty Israelites, chieftains of the community, chosen in the assembly, men of repute.

They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and the LORD is in their midst. Why then do you raise yourselves above the LORD’s congregation?”

Bamidbar: 16:1-3


Richard Nixon 1972 from his presidential library

(A note about this image: I usually go to my images for this blog. I couldn't find the appropriate image. I tried Ai images, but those always come out either a little or a lot wrong. I wanted something from the past, not the present time. This is the closest that I got to what I want. )


On Leadership and this Parsha


Other poems on Parshat Korach from Words Have Wings:



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