1. Leadership and Authority: The Struggle for Dominion
From time immemorial, power and authority have been at the centre of the stage.
The Almighty created the world through His will but not long after He said, “In the beginning,” there were already power struggles:
And G-d made two lights…
According to Jewish legend, both were created equal, but the Moon was punished for generating the rivalry. The diminished Moon was jealous and in need of a supporting cast. It might be considered an appropriate metaphor for the strife to come during the unending story of princes, kings and Prophets, througout the subsequent generations.
As if that were not enough, Adam was given the authority to tend the Garden of Eden and a fitting helper in Eve was found. But the serpent, in his devious way, stepped in not only between Eve and G-d, but between the Man and Woman, bringing more trouble.
… on the day you eat it, your eyes will be open and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.
- Who was the leader and who was led?
- What sort of team-worker was Eve?
- What happened to Adam’s control of events?
These and many more questions pertain to leadership in all its guises. On reflection, any contemporary leader should think twice about accepting the mantle of responsibility, if he or she would pause to consider all its potential pitfalls. Indeed, leadership has always been a tricky topic in Jewish thought:
- Is leadership a privilege, or a duty?
- Is leadership the source of unmitigated demagogy?
- Can it be the prologue to sowing the seeds of one’s own downfall?
Professor Reuven Kimelman, The Seducation of Eve