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Moses – The Executive

by Rabbi Lazer Gurkow


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The Achilles Heel

Friends of mine, who are blessed with a wonderful marriage, have recently confessed that money is the Achilles heel of their relationship. From the very beginning, he has always wanted to save and she has always wanted to spend. (They thought they were alone, huh?)

It all boils down to a he says/she says situation. He says that she spends every dime she gets; she says that he saves every penny he can. They recently went to a financial planner to settle the matter. They laid the question bluntly before him, “Is it better to spend or to be thrifty?” His reply was: “Both.”

Two Approaches

Managing to keep a straight face at their look of dismay, he launched into a detailed explanation. Every large successful company, he said, employs an Executive Board and a Department of Operations. The executive formulates the overall mission, develops strategy, and identifies long-term goals. Operations is responsible for implementing strategy while ensuring daily efficiency and maximum revenue.

“Is it better to spend or to be thrifty?” His reply was: “Both”
There is often tension between the two departments. The executive is paid to view the company through the lens of its potential. Operational officers are paid to view the company from the perspective of its current capacity. The executive sees the company the way it ought to be. Operational officers see the company the way it actually is.

Working Together

Both have a valid approach, but because of their bias each must be prepared to listen to the other. It is possible for the executive to formulate a strategy that is completely beyond the company’s true capacity. In this case, operations must caution the executive to lower expectations and synchronize strategy with reality.

It is also possible for operations to become so involved in the minutia of implementation that they fail to see beyond the company’s current capacity. In this case, the executive must help operations broaden their horizons and adjust accordingly.

Moses, man of G-d, saw their innate capacity. He peered at them through the lens of their potential
For a company to succeed, each department must learn to appreciate the importance of the other. Goals cannot be met unless the company is fiscally healthy, yet fiscal health cannot be maintained in the long term without a successful strategy. Each department must consider both angles.

Bringing it Home

This, concluded the financial planner, is the difference between your two approaches. Viewing each dollar through its investment potential is important to overall strategy and long-term financial viability. Viewing each dollar through its current purchasing capacity is vital for the household’s department of operations.

The key is to appreciate the value of both approaches and to communicate effectively.

Moses and Aaron

As I listened to my friends tell their story, something clicked in my mind and for the first time I understood something that had bothered me for many years. I had always wondered why G-d insisted that Moses and Aaron jointly lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Could Moses not have accomplished it on his own?1

When Moses first encountered G-d at the burning bush, G-d asked him to lead the Jewish people out of exile and made no mention of Aaron's name. It was only later, when Moses repeatedly avoided the task, that G-d appointed Aaron spokesperson for Moses.2 If Aaron was only a spokesperson, why is he accorded equal credit with Moses for the redemption? Could Moses not have done it alone?


  • 1. Exodus 6, 13 and 24.
  • 2. Exodus 3 and 4.


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History » Egypt

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Brother of Moses. First High Priest of Israel and progenitor of all Kohanim (priests) until this very day. Died in the year 1272 b.c.e.
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.