Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tetzaveh 76 - Successful Partnerships

Parashat – Portion of Tetzaveh is a continuation of God's  commandment  to Moses concerning the tabernacle- Mishkan  and deals with the preparation  of the oil for the Menorah lamp, the designation of the priests-Kohanim and their priestly clothes and the selection of wise and talented people  to make the clothing and the features- components of the Mishkan. In this regard the Torah changes the style of the language – And Now you will command …….'ואתה תצוה. The Or Hachaim asks why was it necessary to introduce these commandments in this way, if God was already busy communicating His instructions concerning the Mishkan to Moshe.  He answers – that the words ' ואתה תצוה ' and Now you ( Moses)  will command' informs   Moses that he will be the one who commands others, the commander-in-chief and  the king. Aaron and his sons will be the priests but Moses' children will not inherit his position, they will remain as Levites.

 The partnership between Moses and Aaron, Moses – the king and prophet and Aaron, the priest proved to be one of the most successful partnerships of all time.  King David in Psalm 133 describes a brotherly love between Moshe and Aaron – 'Behold, how good and pleasant that brothers dwell in unity'   הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים ביחד The primary reason for this, was that each of them was totally committed to ensuring the success of the other and completely identified with his brother, rejoicing in his success as if it was his own success. Aaron had absolutely no feeling of jealously when his younger brother Moses was chosen above him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. It also meant giving up on ' prophecy' as Moses now became the prophet of the nation. Moses did not want his gaining the leadership to be at his brother's expense,  so he kept on refusing to take on the position until God explained to him that ' Aaron is on his way to meet with you and when he sees you, he will rejoice in his heart ' - because of his brother's promotion to be the redeemer of the Israelites. Aaron's noble and generous response was rewarded that as the high Priest he would wear the Breast Plate with the Urim ve Tumim, a parchment with the name of God written on it. The high priest would be the one to ask God answers to questions of national importance. The  Urim ve Tumin in a prophetic way caused the individual letters of the tribal names on the Breastplate to light up and provide a hidden  answer. Only a heart that was large enough to include all the people of Israel, an understanding  , empathic, caring and compassionate heart that  helped share and carry other people's  burdens  and rejoice with them in happy times could wear the Breast plate and interpret the letters correctly using innate  divine spirit and prophecy.  Aaron had generously given up being the prophet of the nation and for this he was rewarded with being the one to use the Urim ve Tumin. 

  Moses' reluctance to take on the leadership showed a slight lack of respect and appreciation of God's decision that he was the man for the job. For this, he and his sons lost the privilege of becoming priests and instead Aaron and his sons would become priests. Moshe did not see this as punishment. He identified with Aaron's recognition and promotion as if he was being anointed as high priest. Verse2  in Psalms 133  says – it is like the precious oil upon the head, that ran down upon the beard , even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments.  כשמן טוב על הראש יורד על הזקן , זקן אהרון שיורד על פי מידותיו  Why is the verse referring to 2 beards? Moshe felt that the oil with which he anointed Aaron and was dripping down Aaron's beard was actually also dripping on his beard itself, as if he was being anointed as the high priest.  So were his total identification, joy and happiness when Aaron was designated as high priest. And after the sin of the Golden calf, the privilege of the first born to offer sacrifices was revoked and Moses had to intervene on behalf of Aaron and save him.  For not one moment did Moses think that because of Aaron's involvement in the sin of the Golden Calf, the Kehunah- priesthood would be given back to him and his sons. Moses also related to Aarons sons as if they were his own. Moshe and Aaron supportive relationship must be seen in the context of their vision and mission to serve God and be of service to their people.( R' Chaim Smulevitz, Drashot Ha'ran 3 )

In an article   on how to create successful and effective partnerships Carl Robinson says that a company must be more than a money –making enterprise if it wishes to survive. The company must have a vision and purpose to be of service to the public, be clear on its values when it comes to business development, delivery of services, giving value to customers above product quality and price and how the members of the company treat each other. It is important to nurture relationships within the partnership because people work together for more than making money. There should be a clear decision making process where problems are solved in a collaborative way, all concerns and perspectives are heard, consensus and mutually satisfying solutions are the goals. The compensation plan should not only reward 'rainmaking' but team work. While each person should have a role in the company, they should also be in sales and marketing business, helping to bring in new business each person according to his own talents and personality. When it is only the sales people who are bringing in the business and new clients, other people in the company get marginalized.

When it comes to religious institutions, especially schools and Yeshivot, internal problems, conflict and the breaking up of partnerships can be traced to a lack of commitment to the values of Moses and Aaron and principles supporting partnership success. Problems include seeing the institution as more of a money making enterprise  and a  job provider for family members, a  lack of a vision and  message, not everyone having a vital role, competition,  focus on being the chief  rather than on teamwork, not working for the success of every staff member and not supporting the autonomy of staff members. Often there are power struggles to gain control between different families or between the staff and the controlling a'mu'tah – association. The worst possible scenario is when students are brought into the fray in order to support the quarreling parties.

As parents and teachers we should be promoting collaboration and cooperation, rather than competition which teaches kids to see others as obstacles to their success. We should teach them that life is about forming partnerships and alliances, whether it is in business, learning or socially and the success of others is something which we rejoice in. Life is about lessening the burdens of others by participating in their  struggles, supporting them and also rejoicing in their successes and happy moments, so many more people get a taste and a share in happiness. If businesses need to focus more on a vision and their contribution to society , how much more so do organizations and schools that are non-profit and should be focused on chesed and making a contribution. The family and school are good places to start where not only staff collaborate, but students, staff and parents collaborate and cooperate for the greater good.

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