Review of Moses and the Path to Leadership

November 25, 2014

By Fred IsaacMosesWeb2

Many recent books have pointed to great leaders—Jesus, Lincoln, etc.,—as role models for modern managers and leaders. In this book, Zvi Grumet (formerly at the Lookstein Center) examines Moses as the exemplar of leadership, using the Torah and Jewish scholarship to develop his thesis.

Grumet divides his thesis into five parts, including: Moses’ “zealotry” and how he controls his emotions; “the man of the people or the man of God”; growing pains on “The Rocky Road” through the Wilderness; how “Leadership Emerges” in Deuteronomy; and “The Leader as a Teacher.” Each section contains three chapters dealing with the identified aspect of leadership. The first chapter poses the relevant issue as presented in the Torah. The second analyzes how the stories in Exodus and Numbers resolve the question both for the people and Moses himself. The third chapter summarizes the lesson both in Torah terms and for us. The arguments are made using Torah primarily, but other Biblical texts and Talmudic sages are also cited, as well as classical and modern scholars, to reinforce the discussion. The book contains indexes of names and relevant Biblical stories, and a timeline of chapters in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy that chronicle the key events cited in the volume.

While it does not discuss contemporary society directly, Grumet’s book can certainly provide insights into the modern world. It is recommended for synagogue libraries with extensive Torah Study collections, as well as academic libraries interested in demonstrating the value of biblical tales. It may be beyond most Bar Mitzvah students, but rabbis and mentors can also use its perspective on well-known stories.

This review originally appeared in the AJL Newsletter