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Inspiring a Generation

Friday, 5 July, 2019 - 1:45 pm

The former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, has remarked that, “Good leaders create followers. Great leaders create leaders.”

***

Tonight marks the 25th yahrzeit of my dear Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory.

For me it’s a bittersweet time. A time to connect with my Rebbe, and a time to meditate on his leadership that has brought us to this moment. A time to thank Almighty G-d for the great privilege to serve as the Rebbe’s emissary. And, a time to implore Almighty G-d to end all the suffering in this world and bring our righteous Moshiach.

As I seek inspiration, I look at this week’s parsha, Korach.

It’s all about leadership. Korach leads a rebellion against Moshe and Aharon. In the end, Korach and his mutinous men are defeated by acts of G-d.

It must have been a troubling time for Moshe. Here he dedicated his life to a people, serving as their savior and liaison to Hashem. Yet, at times, it’s a thankless job.

How did Moshe feel at this time?

Remarkably, Moshe stands tall with grace and humility. Whoever Hashem wants as a leader shall lead, he declares.

Afterwards, Moshe’s leadership is cemented to an even greater degree.

In fact, as we sit here today, Moshe’s stature has only grown in the many years since his passing.

Real leadership does not dissipate over time. Rather, it grows.

***

Twenty-five years is considered a generation. As we look around the world today we realize that the Rebbe’s contribution to Jewish life since his passing has probably outpaced his accomplishments during his lifetime.

Many observers wondered what would become of the Rebbe’s holy work after his passing. After all, his Chassidim were devoted to the persona of the Rebbe. With the Rebbe gone, what would happen to the movement?

What they misunderstood was that the Rebbe was not looking for followers.

He was looking to inspire a generation of leaders.

As we look at the next generation, born after the Rebbe’s passing – yet inspired by his love, teachings and care – we see that the Rebbe indeed succeeded.

In the Rebbe’s merit let us all recommit ourselves to be the leaders that the Rebbe believes we can be.

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