After 40 years of leading his flock through the challenges of the desert terrain, Moshe was finally coming to terms with the fact that by Divine decree he would not enter the Land of Israel. Moshe was the ultimate selfless leader and pleaded with G-d to appoint a worthy successor. In this week’s parsha, we learn about the fascinating dialogue that takes place between Moshe and G-d about the necessary qualifications for this demanding position. Can you imagine trying to put together a job description to replace Moshe? What unique qualities did Moshe request that his successor possess? Was it being an outstanding scholar? A sharp judge? Someone that would pray for 6 hours a day?
In fact Moshe did not mention any of these but a quality that is crucial in any leadership position, let alone the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish people. As Rashi points out, Moshe addressed G-d as the G-d of all spirits. Essentially what we he was telling G-d was that since there is so much diversity among people, they need a leader that can understand everyone where they are. (This was without him ever participating at a congregational meeting!) Please appoint a leader that can have tolerance towards each and every individual. To be sure, having tolerance doesn't mean agreeing with someone that has a differing view from you. In certain circumstances it is necessary to condemn various actions or behaviors. Rather it means that it is not necessary for you to shout down everybody that you disagree with.
In our own Jewish world when there is so much mistrust among different streams of our people -- I think this message is more timeless than ever. I may not agree with you but I love you as a fellow Jew because we ultimately we have a shared destine as one nation going all the way back to Mt Sinai.
Tolerance and Patience are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of strength and greatness. This is a core Jewish value. This is what Moshe prayed for in a successor.
Please share your thoughts.