• Gabbai

Sh’mot – Humble, Honest and Caring

A young businessman just opened a new office of which he was very proud. Sitting down in his new, plush office chair behind his desk he noticed a man walking into the office. He immediately picked up the phone and began talking as though he was on an important business call. He threw out large figures of money and pretended to be closing a deal of great importance. The visitor stood respectfully in the entrance until the phone was hung up. The young business man, satisfied that he had made an impression upon the visitor, turned and asked how he can help. “I’ve come to connect your phone lines,” was his response.

What does it take to make a boss? What are the qualities that are necessary in leadership? In this week’s Parsha we find the makings of a true leader in Moses.

A shepherd tends to his flock on the hillsides, leading them to fresh areas where they can forage for greens to eat and nourish themselves. Inevitably a shepherd spends most of his day outside of the circles of civilization, away from watching eyes. There are no security cameras monitoring the shepherd. Even animal rights activists have not set up a watch on shepherds to determine the sheep are being treated well. What happens in the pasture stays in the pasture.

Herding a flock is unique in that it is out of public sight. A shepherd’s work requires little oversight because so long as the sheep are well fed and protected little else is important. However, a shepherd does encounter challenges. Not all land is open for grazing. Some lands are owned by other people and the sheep of others may not graze in that area. We find this to be the object of quarrel between the shepherds of Abraham and those of Lot, causing them to part ways. The Midrash relates that Abraham’s shepherds would not allow their flocks to graze from land owned by others while Lot’s shepherds did not prevent their sheep from doing so. Moses led his sheep far into the wilderness (Exodus 3:1), ensuring they grazed only on land that had no owner. He demonstrated integrity of character, not stealing from others even while no one was watching and even when no one would ever know the difference.

Another quality of Moses is illustrated earlier in his lifetime. Moses grew up in the palace, with a silver spoon in his mouth. We don’t know