Leadership at the Water’s Edge

When the fleeing Israelites reached the shores of the Red Sea they found themselves trapped between the vast waters and the Egyptian army. According to midrash one Israelite, Nachson ben Aminadav, had the faith and courage to step into the raging sea when all the rest were paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. Rather than waiting for a miracle, Nachshon dove in. He forced the issue and, in part because of him, the waters split and revealed a path to freedom and liberation.

Torah is overflowing with examples of different types of leaders and modalities of leadership. Here are a few lessons communal leaders can learn from the example of Nachson ben Aminadav.

Good leaders…

  1. lead when leadership is needed
  2. are emotionally intelligent and understand the needs, fears, hopes, and feelings of their communities
  3. set a personal example
  4. embrace change
  5. are willing to take risks
  6. bring others with them
  7. have faith in themselves, others, and the bigger picture
  8. are able to be decisive when decisiveness is called for
  9. leave a legacy and inspire others
  10. look to the future with optimism and hope

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