True Leaders

Right before Moshe is about to pass away, he passes the reigns of leadership on to Yehoshua.

In Parshat Vayelech, Devarim 31:7 we read "Moshe called to Yehoshua and said to him as all of Yisrael watched, .Be courageous and bold, for you shall enter with this people (tavo et ha'am hazeh) into the land that God swore to their forefathers to give them, and you will apportion it to them.'"

A few psukim later in Devarim 31:23 the wording is slightly different: "He commanded Yehoshua bin Nun and said, .Be courageous and bold, for you will bring B'nai Yisrael (tavi et B'nai Yisrael) to the land that I swore to them, and I will be with you.'"

The Gemara in Sanhedrin 8a points out that in the first pasuk it looks like Yehoshua is just considered a member of the people, while in the second pasuk Yehoshua is described as a leader of the people.

Rabbi Yochanan answers: In the first pasuk Moshe is instructing Yehoshua to lead the people in partnership with the zekainim (sages). In the second pasuk God is telling Yehoshua to make sure that he is in charge and that the sages are subordinate to him. There can only be one leader of a generation and not two.

Rav Ze'ev Soloveitchik takes this idea one step further. According to the Rambam, Moshe was considered a king (appointed by God) as well as the head of the Sanhedrin (appointed by the people). When Moshe passed on his leadership, he only passed on the aspect of head of the Sanhedrin. When God spoke to Yehoshua, he appointed him as king as well.

Let's hope and pray that we will again merit leaders in the land of Israel like Moshe and Yehoshua.