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The Difference Between Power and Influence

Why did Moses respond so graciously to the “competition” of Eldad and Meidad, and so aggressively to the “competition” posed by Korach?

1 hr 3 min

Class Summary:

Joshua came to tell Moses that Eldad and Medad were prophesying in the camp, away from Moses and the seventy elders. Joshua regarded this as a dangerous threat to Moses’ leadership and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!” Moses’ reply is one of the most majestic in the whole of Torah: “Are you jealous for my sake? Would it be that all of G-d’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!”

Yet, when Korach challenged Moses’ authority saying, “The whole community is holy, and the Lord is with them, why then do you exalt yourself over the community of G-d?” Moses uses his power to eliminate the opposition. What a contrast in responses!

 What was the difference between Eldad and Medad on the one hand, and Korach and his coconspirators on the other? What is the difference between Moses saying, “Would it be that all the G-d’s people were prophets,” and Korach’s claim that “The whole community is indeed holy”? Why was the first, but not the second, a legitimate sentiment?

There is a distinction here which goes to the very core of the two narratives. And it has to do with the fundamental difference between two modes of leadership: power and influence. Here we are being taught the difference between power and influence: Men of power can die; men of influence never die.

This class is based on an essay by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and other sources.

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  • MK

    Mendel Kaplan -11 years ago

    Outstanding!
    This is truly an outstanding insight with the highest of relevance in today's day and age when American (and Canadian) Jews vote with "Jewish values" (some valid like social justice, some ridiculous and egregiously offensive like a right to abortion etc.) rather than what is good for Israel…



    My only question: is this "vort" based on "harriray kodesh" or is it a "YYJacobism?" Not that the latter is necessarily inappropriate, but if it comes from another source I was very much appreciate being able to see it inside.



    A timely answer would be helpful in order for me to have the opportunity to be "mavie geula l'olam" by saying something "b;shem omro" tomorrow. Obviously, I need the answer before Shabbos to do that…



    Either way, sincerest thanks for sharing this excellent article!

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    • M

      Michael -11 years ago

      Outstanding!
      Rabbi Kaplan, your question is very odd. This beautiful article is just an expansion of the Midrash, quoted in footnote 2.

      Any sensible mind would understand the Midrash this way. Just because the words 'Rhine' and 'Starbucks' dont appear in the Midrash doesnt make them any personal 'ism'.

      I really wish people would study ancient texts with a lot more skill and thought. Our world, attitudes and behaviour would look very different if we had the proper and basic understanding of our most foremost texts.

      In other words, it's called 'sechel hapashut!' And sechel hapashut is one of the most authoritative sources for everything in life and Judaism.

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  • KT

    Kayo, Tokyo -13 years ago

    Amen
    Amen

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  • Z

    zeev -13 years ago

    move
    Would would happen if YY Jacobson moved to Eretz Yisroel ?
    Would this help the Jewish People ?
    Would the Jews in the diaspora fall apart because you don't live in crown heights anymore ?
    You could always make visits from your home in Eretz Yisroel to other lands & give lectures, etc.(or use Email, internet)
    Something to think about.
    Zeev Berg
    Tiberias

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  • J

    joe -13 years ago

    gaza vs. haiti
    Thought you might find this interesting:

    "The UN claims there is a siege when it has given $200 million to Gaza following a military operation that left 1,300 dead and wounded among a population of less than 1.5 million, and yet has only given $10 million to Haiti after the natural disaster there claimed the lives of an estimated 230,000. Of course, that is without noting that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for nine years."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.c...

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  • J

    Joe -13 years ago

    Gaza Vs. Haiti
    Thought you might find this interesting:

    "The UN claims there is a siege when it has given $200 million to Gaza following a military operation that left 1,300 dead and wounded among a population of less than 1.5 million, and yet has only given $10 million to Haiti after the natural disaster there claimed the lives of an estimated 230,000. Of course, that is without noting that Haitians have not been attacking an innocent nearby civilian population for nine years."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.c...

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  • TL

    Tone Lechtzier -13 years ago

    Testament to...
    Shalom,
    the truth of this essay lies in the depths of my soul. The yearning to live in our promised land. A strong unwavering draw. May it be His will.
    Blessings

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  • YG

    Yochanan Gordon -13 years ago

    Moshe/Yosef
    Its Hashgacha Pratis that you choose to write about Moshe and Yosef this week. I just was learning yesterday the hisva'adus in the Dvar Malchus for Parshas Devarim where the Rebbe addresses a Torah of his Father, Reb Levik on the Pasuk, Ho'il Moshe bei'er es Hatorah Hazos. He says that the word Ho'il is the same letters that spell Eliyahu. The connection between Moshe and Eliyahu is that the two of them comprise of the male female aspects of da'as. He then says that Vayikach Mosge es atzmus Yosef imo, while atzmus literally translated means the bones it also means the essence pointing to the fact that Moshe and Yosef are on an equal level.

    Thank you for this timely article, which contains messages to empower us all in a world and a time when people are looking to kick back and relax.

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  • B

    Binyomin -14 years ago

    the story of the Rebbe Rashab and Freud
    Where exactly is this story recorded (printed)?

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    • A

      Anonymous -12 years ago

      Re: the story of the Rebbe Rashab and Freud
      Reshimos vol. 92

      Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

  • EK

    Esther K -14 years ago

    Positive (Em)Influence
    I thoroughly enjoyed the class on Monday night and my mantra ever since has been influence vs. power. the lesson is profound and applicable in so many areas. I wonder if the word 'empowering' should be changed to 'eminfluencing', to recognize the vast difference between the two concepts.

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  • R

    rachel -14 years ago

    thanks
    Thoroughly enjoyed this amazingly revealing life's message. Truly a lesson for everyone; people in power and people of influence.

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  • E

    Elki -14 years ago

    Power has no impact on influence
    Once again, thank you for the deep, thought-provoking shiur, which you gave over in crystal clear words.
    Thank you for quoting Nechamah Leibowitz, a"h. I had the great privilege of learning Chumash from her several summers in Eretz Yitzrael. Undoubtedly she was the greatest influence in the teaching of Chumash in modern times and she hated the slightest modicum of power or even kavod. She insisted that all her students call her "Nechamah" and asked that the only word she wanted engraved on her matzeivah was Morah, and so it is. To her, that position, was the highest accolade. A teacher will get nowhere with power. Perhaps utilizing that power will last for two days, but then the students forget. Influence is transmitted without the need for power. Students, from the youngest age, sense it in a teacher. This applies to general education, but how much more so in Chinuch HaTorah, where influence is the point, the only point and power is counter-productive. Controlling a class in order to teach and influence is not related to power.
    Thank you again!

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  • J

    JJ -14 years ago

    Gevaldig!
    Zeir gut gezugt!

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  • B

    ber -14 years ago

    two types of people
    a few points: in order to have influence you often need power, so that you can harness your vision. the question is, what is your goal. some people construct empires of power just so thay can have influence; others may use the model of influence just to build their own power.
    A teacher, Rabbi, essentially is a position of influence, not power. its not about his control, it is about inspiring others; but some misuse it.
    To appreciate the depth of your influence, you have to go beyond your ego and realize that you don't need control. the more you give up control the more influence you will have, and the less power you will have. the more you hold on to control, the more power, but the less influence, because you are not allowing people to make it their own!
    if moshe would have to own everything, he could not be who he became. today, 3000 years later, he has no power, but how much influence!
    The Lubavitcher Rebbe is an example: he told people, go out and make it your own. you own it, not I. so he allowed his influence to continue to increase.
    Another point: influence often works in silent ways. sometimes you will never know how you influence others. power is always loud and open. one can be dead but their influence still changes peoples lives.

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  • J

    joe -14 years ago

    powers vs. influence
    you can say that Mussar is more the "power" model -- Hashem owns the world, and has all the power; Chassidus is more the "influence" model -- G-d is within you, and your essential soul and identity is Divine. Revealing that it is your own inner truth.
    Like the difference between the "wind" and the "sun" -- their argument who has more "power." the wind tried to remove one's garment, but the harder the wind, the tighter he held on to his coat; the sun began spreading its rays, and slowly the man removed the garment.

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  • T

    Tzilia -14 years ago

    i really liked this a lot. it's not an easy job to follow with trust or to look back and feel that what happened is right...but deep down i know what you say is true,
    hope all is well w/ you.

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  • A

    A.L -14 years ago

    Thank You
    Thank you, that was very nice. The sforno also has a very nice meforash on this topic, similar to the second approach.

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  • I

    isaac -14 years ago

    lovely
    i loved this class. what a powerful insight into life, a lot to think about.

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  • M

    max -14 years ago

    lecture
    Thanks another winner good topic

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Class Behaaloscha/Korach

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • May 24, 2010
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  • 11 Sivan 5770
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  • 4985 views
Dedicated by David and Eda Schottenstein in the loving memory of Alta Shula Swerdlov And in merit of Yetta Alta Shula, "Aliya," Schottenstein

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