Kenneth Cohen

True Leadership

The Haftarah for Parshat Zachor is very tragic. It speaks of the fall of King Saul, and how he lost his kingdom.

Although the theme is the destroying of Amalek, if we look carefully at the text, we see a message for leaders. Shaul’s excuse for not fulfilling the Divine command to destroy Amalek, is that he was afraid of the nation. He didn’t want to go against public opinion. He gave into their wishes, rather than follow the word of G-d.

Contrast Shaul’s behavior with that of King David, who was a real leader. David was reprimanded by his wife, Michal, the daughter of Shaul.

She felt that he had made a spectacle of himself, when he danced wildly when the Holy Ark was returned to Jerusalem .

David told Michal that her father lost his kingdom because he cared about what the people thought. He was chosen to succeed him, because he only cared about the word of Hashem.

If only we had leaders today who would truly lead. And how successful they would be, if they only cared about doing that which was right in the eyes of G-d.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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