Parsha and Personalities

Hi all! In today’s post, I want to share a commentary from Rashi that appears in this week’s parsha, Parshas Pinchus, and is relevant to discussions about personality types.

After Hashem instructs Moshe on how the Land of Israel will be divided among the tribes, He reiterates the fact that Moshe himself will not enter the land but will ascend a mountain to view it before his passing. This prompts Moshe, a true, loyal leader who is concerned about how his People will fare even after his passing, to tell Hashem (Bamidbar 27:16): “Let Hashem, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation.”

Moshe wants to know that the Jews will be left in good hands and asks that Hashem assign a new leader while he is still alive. However, his choice of words is rather interesting. Hashem is often referred to as “the One Who created heaven and earth” or “Who took us out of Egypt,” but the “God of the spirits of all flesh” is a rather unusual phrase that isn’t found elsewhere.

Rashi explains that, with these words, Moshe was saying, “Master of the universe, it is revealed to You the mindset (da’as) of each and every person, and no two resemble each other. Appoint over them a leader who will tolerate each and every person according to his individual character.” As the dedicated, selfless leader that he was, Moshe wanted Hashem to appoint a new leader who wouldn’t only tell the Jews what to do, but would also be compassionate and sensitive and would be able to understand and relate to the many different individuals who make up this great nation.

A true leader isn’t one who tries to mold each of his or her followers to become clones of each other or expects them all to think and behave in the exact same way. Like our greatest leader, Moshe Rabbeinu, a true leader understands that people have different personalities, with different perspectives and different needs. A true leader tolerates, accepts, and appreciates the many different personalities that Hashem has created and can thus inspire all people to actualize their own unique potential.

May we all merit to find mentors, teachers, and leaders who are guided by “the God of the spirits of all flesh” and can inspire us to true growth as we try to find our way through life’s journey.

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