Mashiach and Jewish Leadership

Mashiach and Jewish Leadership: Part 5 – Rectified Soul – Union Between the King and his People

The capacity to lead rests ultimately upon the perception among the followers of a certain leader that he or she represents their conscious and unconscious dreams, aspirations and beliefs. A "bonding" occurs to such a degree that the leader projects this soul connection to each and every individual. More than mere identification, the leader opens new vistas and dimensions within the souls of his followers.

The word for "king," melech, contains both the words "speaking," mal, and "going," lech. This confirms the view of Sefer Yetzirah that the right foot is the part of the body identified with Nissan, speech and Judah, the tribe of kingship. The purpose of a leader is to lead, to take his people somewhere they would not be able to go on their own. Once again we see the concepts of potent speech and leadership merging as one. In Aramaic, the word "speech," dabar, means "to take." This is illustrated in a negative sense in the book of Bamidbar by Korach who attempts to overthrow Moses as leader. Although the portion begins: "And Korach took…," the rest of the sentence gives no indication of what exactly he "took." Our sages interpret this to mean that Korach "took" the people through his charismatic speech. Moses, on the other hand, had a physical speech impediment, which interestingly enough was turned to an advantage. Whenever Moses addressed the people in a faultless manner of speech, it was clear to the people that G-d's Divine Presence was speaking through him.

In the Talmud, a series of prophetic predictions are given regarding events that will occur before the coming of Mashiach. One of these "signs" is that the generation preceding Mashiach will have "a face like a dog." Among many possible interpretations is that a dog always runs ahead of his master appearing to lead, but always looks back to his master to get a sign as to which direction he should go. This can be compared to today, where most "leaders" lead only in appearance, forever looking behind at the press and public opinion polls to gauge which opinions to adopt.

Within this negative development is actually hidden a positive aspect if properly applied. A true leader in a sense also "looks back," but for different reasons. As discussed above, the word for "messenger," shaliach, with an additional yud numerically equals Mashiach, 358As the ultimate leader, Mashiach not only leads but is forever "looking back" to G-d, the source of his message, for instruction as to which direction to pursue. Additionally, a compassionate leader "looks back" to his generation, forever strengthening the soul connection between them.

The most telling sign of a leader is whether his people are joyous and content. The letters of Mashiach when rearranged spell the word "to be joyous.". At the conclusion of the dedication of the first Temple by Solomon it is written: "On the eighth day he sent away the people and they blessed the king and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that G-d had done for David His servant and for Israel His people." The number eight always signifies a level above nature and logic. The bond between king and people transcends all other relationships, touching the deepest supra conscious point of the soul, the yechidah, the origin point of the spark of Mashiach within each individual Jewish soul. The sense of joy emanating from the soul-union of king and people creates an experience of redemption and new life. This is referred to as the passion "to see the king in his glory." The phenomenon of movie stars, performers and sports figures commanding loyal followings, to the occasional point of near hysteria, is but a perverted shadow image of this reality.

The words of a holy person first surround and then enter into the deepest recesses of one's being. The words of a king furthermore have the power to "uproot mountains." As the Divine speech of G-d was the actual instrument of Creation, so too, the words of a king cause actual changes to become tangibly manifest. The only other time the word "in the beginning" appears in the Bible is in relation to the beginning of the reign of a Jewish king. The advent of the Messianic era will truly be a new beginning, infusing all of reality with new life force and the exhilaration of redemption.

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