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I’ve always been fascinated by daylight savings time, this notion that you can literally change time – something that, to me, intuitively feels fixed – simply by moving the hands on a clock, pressing a few buttons on your microwave, or magically seeing your phone adjust to the season.
I thought about time when looking at this week’s Torah portion, Yitro. First, I find it ironic that the parashah is the shortest in the Book of Exodus since it references time which is infinite. Yitro, who might very well be a “management consultant” today, looks at time as something to be valued in ourselves and others. He appeals to Moses to not take on the burden of hearing every Israelite’s dispute and to not be the judge and jury for all. Yes, the disputes are important, Yitro acknowledges, but rather than spending from morning until evening micromanaging everyone’s problems, let the people handle the more minor issues. Give them the opportunity to problem-solve, to devise creative solutions, and to be leaders. Allow them to share the community’s burden.
In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Shemot, we are introduced to Moshe. Moshe is eventually appointed to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to begin their journey towards the land of Canaan. While the book of Shemot and the rest of the Torah might be commonly viewed as the story of the broader journey of B’nai Yisrael’s triumphs and tribulations along the way, there are also many lessons to be learned about Moshe’s journey as a leader. Reading this Parsha has inspired me to reflect on how my tzevet (staff) experience has shaped me into the camp leader I am today.
The book of Shemot is the beginning of a journey (or the “first day of camp”) of a leader who not only develops his own skills, but has the wisdom to gain insight from those around him.
One of the most valuable things I learned as a tzevet member is to not only have strong leadership skills as an individual but to lead as a team and collaborate with your fellow tzevet members.