Thursday, December 15, 2005

(Jewish) Leadership Qualities

I recently posted about the lack of quality leaders within the Jewish People & State today, instead, we find that our leaders are primarily driven by personal ambition and a desire for power.

This led me to begin thinking about what qualities are needed for one aspiring to assume a position of leadership.

I came across the following list of leadership qualities:
A Leader:

1. Has a mission that matters…
2. Is a big thinker…
3. Has high ethics…
4. Masters change…
5. Is sensitive…
6. Is a risk taker…
7. Is a decision maker…
8. Uses power wisely…
9. Communicates effectively…
10. Is a team builder…
11. Is courageous…
12. Is committed…

If we were to focus, now, specifically on the qualities needed to lead the Jewish People & State, what qualities would we include? Would it differ from the above list?

Just for starters, one quality that I believe is a pre-requisite for any Jewish leader, particularly one in the Jewish State, is a belief in the G-d of Israel and in the truth of His Torah (even if he / she doesn't / isn't able to follow all of it himself / herself).

I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on what qualities are needed for Jewish leadership?

Perhaps, if we can put together a comprehensive list, we can then begin thinking about whom (if anyone) meet those qualities and are fit to lead the Jewish People & State.


Zeev: Why not turn to the Tanach for a list of great Jewish leaders, and then work backwards to see if they match your list.

Was David HaMelech really a sensitive and caring guy? Granted, Tehillim is an amazingly poignant work that millions have used to beseechingly call out to Hashem, but the way to stole Batsheva from her husband? Omri Sharon would have loved that trick...or Bibi.

King Shlomo oppressed Bnei Yisrael with heavy taxation. He had hundreds of wives. That makes him a big thinker I guess...but high on the ethics side?

My point is, your list needs to be prioritized, since not every quality you mention is 100% neccessary ar even attainable for this "leader" to have.

Perhaps we have set our sights too high...

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Thu Dec 15, 02:34:00 PM GMT+2  

Jameel, I agreewith your points, so why not get the ball rolling. Who, in your eyes, were great Jewish leaders in tanach, and what qualities did they embody - and how would you prioritize them?

Perhaps we should start with Yitro's charachteristics for those who would be worthy to serve judges of Israel?

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 02:38:00 PM GMT+2  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:25:00 PM GMT+2  

I think Yosef & Mordechai were probably examples of great Jewish leaders, but like all our greatest Jewish leaders, they seem to be at their best when the real leader isn't Jewish and they are his most-trusted advisors and deputies.

(Jameel: That was meant to be slightly tongue-in-cheek and not in the least bit academic.)

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:25:00 PM GMT+2  

Joe: Thats exactly the wrong type of leader we need for Israel...we are supposed to be leading now, not Mafdalish deputy advisors.

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Thu Dec 15, 03:29:00 PM GMT+2  

On Feiglin:

1. Has a mission that matters…Read his party platform

2. Is a big thinker…He wants to be PM, and surrounds himself with intelligent thinkers

3. Has high ethics…He seems to stand by his word

4. Masters change…He's going up in the polls despite events in the Likud

5. Is sensitive…I'd have to ask his cellmates

6. Is a risk taker…He did lead a civil disobedience movement

7. Is a decision maker…He decided to not get arrested during the expulsion

8. Uses power wisely…He knows how and when to close down streets

9. Communicates effectively…I saw him on Channel 2. He spoke well.

10. Is a team builder…He got thousands of people to join the Likud under him

11. Is courageous…He is willing to face off against the leaders of the Likud and their ridicule

12. Is committed…He was committed to jail for his beliefs

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:34:00 PM GMT+2  

No one really thinks about him that much, but how about Joshua.

Here’s a man who had a tough job and did it pretty well.

-He had to get all of B”Y into Israel.

-Lead B”Y into battle

-Rally Israel to fight those that were occupying Israel’s territory once they began to get settled.

-Reestablish the Galut governing institutions to work in Israel

-Deal with the fact that he was probably always being compared to Moshe

-Other stuff

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:41:00 PM GMT+2  

-Get B"Y to start fulfilling many of the new miyzvot talui b'aretz

-and of course he was married to super hot Rachav

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:43:00 PM GMT+2  

Joe, so are you endorsing Feiglin?

I love your list of qualifications for yehishua: "Other Stuff"

Don't mention Rachav's name again, or else...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 03:52:00 PM GMT+2  

Within the Likud (and as a Likud party member) I endorse Feiglin.

Is he my prefered candidate for PM. Not really, but I haven't yet found anyone I really want that's in politics.

But I think Adin Shteinzaltz could be great.

Do you have any suggestions?

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 03:59:00 PM GMT+2  

I think Steinzaltz is busy heading the Sanhedrin...

Sadly, no.

I like what Feiglin is trying to do, but for an umber of reasons, i dont see him being successful...

Eve nthough I vote NU, I dont see anyone from there currently having what it takes to be PM.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 04:16:00 PM GMT+2  

Well it's certainly not going to be anyone from the NU if they let someone from the Not Relevant Party have the 1st seat.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 04:24:00 PM GMT+2  

did you come up with the acronym yourself? And I agree about them heading the list...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Thu Dec 15, 05:16:00 PM GMT+2  

I'm pretty sure that I must have heard it before somewhere.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Thu Dec 15, 05:20:00 PM GMT+2  

AS Jewish Leaders from the Tanakh go, Look no further than this week's Parasha - I am a fan of Ya'akov - in his more mature later life and not in his youth.
I believe he learnt to be honest with himself and struggled with his own faults (the allegorical tale of the "Ish" with whom he struggled). THis brought him to a place where he was able to make peace with his brother Esav - one of the hardest tasks for any leader - to put the good of the collective in the future over the pain of the past. But when making peace he was guarded and sensible - dividing his camp before going to meet Esav.

He proves he has learnt with the story of his daughter's rape and his son's attack on Shchem - where he manages to stay reasoned in the face of great provocation.

Great POst Ze'ev - I think that you were 100% right with the list, but of course I think that the theocratic elements you added at the end were exclusive and far too open to subjective reasoning.

I would suggest that they be replaced by "a belief in the people of Israel and a desire to see the People's self empowerment and hagshama"


By Anonymous H, at Thu Dec 15, 05:31:00 PM GMT+2  

H: For many of us - Hagshama and self-empowerment is a Jewish State according to what makes us Jewish in the first place; our religion. Secularism is not a religion, or even a real culture.

By Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata, at Thu Dec 15, 05:59:00 PM GMT+2  

are you comparing sharon to yaakov? is that why he keeps "dividing the camp"?

"to put the good of the collective in the future over the pain of the past"

Sharon was "elected" on a platform and he made a complete about-face and decided to do whatever he felt like even if his party didnt agree. He finally realized that since he doesn't give a crap what the governing body thinks, he might as well start his own party and then he will never have the embarrassment of being told by the governing council of the party that he must abide by their rules; the only rule that Sharon follows is that he has no rules. Ever hear about flip-flop Kerry?

By Blogger Jerusalemcop, at Thu Dec 15, 09:43:00 PM GMT+2  

Sharon is going to be the next Shimon Peres (Loser)

For my post election prediction check out my latest work at


By Anonymous Adam, at Sat Dec 17, 06:53:00 PM GMT+2  

Jameel called me up and said he invented the term, "Not Relevant Party" around 5 years ago. I don't remember this worldspinning event, but I'll give him the credit.

See my post on the NRP at

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Sat Dec 17, 07:29:00 PM GMT+2  


I doubt I ever tried to imply that secularism is a religion. But nor would I claim that Jewishness is a religion - and in fact it is quite a hard claim to make - it is an inherent truth that if a culture does not have a word for something in its own language, then that concept does not exist within that culture. So tell me Jameel - what is the ivrit for "Religion" (And don't say Dat - because that means law).

JCop - no I was not comparing Ya'acov to Sharon. I said I admired Ya'acov - I am pretty sure you will never find me saying something similar about Sharon, unless in a particularly defined and restricted manner.

As for Not Relevant Party, I think it originally belongs to Neil Lazarus. That or he stole it of Jameel / Joe - either way, never a truer word said in Jest!


By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 18, 02:12:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, look at this, you are agreeing with Jameel and Joe... two people who you would probably consider to be facists...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 18, 02:51:00 PM GMT+2  

On what did we agree? That Sharon is not to be trusted? That none of us support Sharon? Only you guys don't like him because he is too left and I don't like him because he is too right. That is like saying too negatives is a positive - which it isn;t.


By Anonymous H, at Sun Dec 18, 04:37:00 PM GMT+2  

We all agreed that the NRP is not relevant...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Dec 18, 04:41:00 PM GMT+2

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