First Person

In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

A true leader knows when to be intolerant

By Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

Pols and the masses would both do well to review this week's Torah portion | Every parent knows this fact, and every teacher can confirm it. No two children are alike. Every mother of more than one child knows that all children are already different in the womb. Every experienced teacher knows that no two pupils learn in the exact same manner.

Indeed, it is the recognition of individual differences and knowledge of how to address those differences that is the hallmark of an effective and master teacher.

As we grow older many of the differences which once made us unique begin to fade away. The pressures of conformity which are natural in any society tend to make us imitate each other and become more and more alike as time goes on. Yet, sufficient differences remain so that we each retain at least a small measure of uniqueness.

The fact that groups of human beings are diverse, and that one person's attitudes, opinions and emotions starkly contrast those of another, is the central problem for would-be leaders. It is a simple matter to lead a homogeneous group, one which is characterized by common beliefs and shared objectives. It is far more difficult to take charge of a group which is riddled by internal conflict and clashing interests.

The challenge of individual differences to leadership is one of the themes of this week's Torah portion, Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1). In it Moses learns that his life, and his term as a leader of the Jewish people, is about to come to a close. He will be allowed to glimpse the promised land, but soon afterwards would be "gathered to his kin, just as his brother Aaron was."

Acting responsibly, as he always did, Moses sets about finding a successor, and asks the Almighty to help him do so. In this request, Moses addresses God in a most peculiar way, using terminology that is most difficult to translate. Generally, the translation reads something like this: "Lord, Source of the spirits of all flesh, appoint someone over the community who shall go out before them and come in before themů"

What is the meaning of "Source of the spirits of all flesh"? And why does Moses use this term to begin his search for a new leader of the Jewish people?

Rashi, the foremost commentator, understands that Moses wants to find someone who can cope with individual differences, with every conceivable type of spirit. He is searching for a successor who can deal with all the Jews in spite of how different they are from each other.

It would seem that Moses is looking for a tolerant person, with great equanimity, who will not be perturbed by the assortment of characters he will be asked to lead.

The Almighty informs Moses that he has found just such a man, someone who has "spirit within him", and who presumably can deal patiently with everyone he encounters. That man, he is told, is none other than his disciple Joshua.

I have always found the choice of Joshua very puzzling. We have read quite a bit about Joshua over the past few weeks. What is most striking to me is that he does not come across at all as a patient individual who can tolerate all sorts of troublemakers. Quite the contrary. When the other spies disagree with him, he challenges them eloquently and forcefully.

More dramatically, when Eldad and Medad, of whom we are told that "the spirit rested upon them", seclude themselves and begin to act as prophets, it is precisely Joshua who demands that Moses strike them down. It is Moses who shows tolerance for his would-be rivals, not Joshua.

Personally, I have concluded long ago that although it is important for a leader to be able to recognize the differing qualities of his followers, it is not important that he acquiesce to these differences. Rather, he must actively declare his vision and assert his leadership. He must tolerate the differences he encounters, but he cannot allow them to deter him from attaining the group's ideals and objectives.


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Of all of the classical Torah commentaries, one was written by an experienced and credentialed master politician. That man was Rabbi Isaac Abarbanel, who was the minister of the treasury of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, and one of their most valued advisors. He knew whereof he spoke, and this is what he said:

"You, the Source of all spirits, know well the hearts of men and their innards. Appoint someone who will be a majestic and authoritative leader. Appoint someone who will not yield to the crowd, but who will be a courageous man of action, decisive and strong."

Yes, the leader must be sensitive to the different needs and demands of every component of his society. And he must try to address these needs. But not at the expense of what he sees as the overarching goal. He cannot allow his grand vision of what is best for the entire nation to be waylaid by squabbling minorities. In short, he must lead.

Daily, we read of leaders who either are strong and dictatorial, trampling upon the needs of individuals who are different. Alternatively, we read of those who are so sensitive to every subgroup that they are totally ineffective.

In this week's Torah portion we encounter the perfect balance: Joshua, the man who can work with every one, no matter how demanding, but who has the wisdom and fortitude to transcend short-sighted particular interests in his pursuit of the overarching goal and greater common good.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, PhD is currently the Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union.

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© 2013, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb