Faithful Shepherd – Revisited
Faithful Shepherd or Shepherd of Faith?
There is something truly beautiful about language. The words that make up a language can have multiple meanings both independently and as parts of a sentence, and when translating words there can be various understandings and interpretations.
Moshe, the first leader of the Jewish people, was a called a “Raya Mehemna”or what is commonly translated as a “faithful shepherd”. He tended to his “flock” with love and dedication, and made sure that his people had everything they needed. He always took the side of the people and brought their numerous complaints to G-d. When G-d was angry with the people and wanted to destroy them, Moshe stood his ground and told G-d that if the people were to be destroyed than he would have nothing to do with a future nation.
There is another way to understand the words “Raya Mehemna” which is a “shepherd of faith”. Moshe was the one who provided the faith for the people. He brought the Torah to the people and he brought the people to G-d. He taught and encouraged the young nation as they struggled to understand all that was happening around them.
It is with this characteristic that Moshe teaches us what a true leader is about. Not only does he worry about his flock in a material way and make sure they have all that they need to survive, but he also worries about their spiritual well-being. He is responsible for their survival as well as their growth and advancement in their relationship with G-d.
Rabbi Mendy Hecht