Nachshon Ben Aminadav, A True Leader

At the beginning of Parshat Bamidbar, we read about one leader from each tribe who is designated to help Moshe count B'nai Yisrael (the Jewish people).

The leader from the tribe of Yehudah is Nachshon Ben Aminadav.

The Gemara in Sotah 36b-37a describes how Nachshon was a true leader who caused the tribe of Yehudah to sanctify God's name in public.

After B'nai Yisrael left Egypt, the Egyptians pursued them until they came to the Red Sea. At that point they were unable to continue. According to Rabbi Yehudah, when the tribes were standing at the edge of the red sea, one tribe was saying "I will not be the first to descend into the sea," while another tribe declared "I will not be the first to descend into the sea". Each tribe was unwilling to enter the water first. At that point Nachshon Ben Aminadav, the prince of the tribe of Yehudah leaped forward and descended into the sea first.

While Moshe was praying, God said "Speak to B'nai Yisrael and let them journey forth. Lift up your staff and stretch out your arm over the sea and split it; and B'nai Yisrael shall come into the midst of the sea on dry land".

On account of Nachshon's willingness to sacrifice himself, the tribe of Yehudah merited to establish dominion in Israel. As we say in the Hallel prayer concerning when Israel went out of Egypt, Psalms 114: 1-3: "Hayta Yehudah Likodsho, Yisrael Mamshelotav", Judah became God's sanctified one to rule over Israel his dominions. For what reason was Judah God's sanctified one? Because "Hayam ra'ah vayanos", the sea saw and fled.

When the sea saw Nachshon jump in, it split.

Nachson taught us the important lesson that to be a true leader it is best to follow the teaching from Pirkei Avot, "Omer me'at v'aseh harbeh", say little, but do much.

A true leader is a leader who acts.

As the Nike ads say, Just do it!