Choosing Our Leaders

The Jewish system is radically different than the American one.

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Comments (14)

(12) Anonymous, October 31, 2012 11:33 PM

without social media

I do not, nor will I cave in to ,using Social Media sources.I know too many grieving families who have lost members because these are available. Therefore, could you have a transcript made of your messages so those of us who are leary of the media you use can read your work. Why leave us out. If your messages are for text reading ,too, I will sign up for your newsletter. Thank you. P.S.

(11) Glatt some questions, October 31, 2012 4:59 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, Lori

Sorry to burst your bubble, Lori, but in choosing rabbinic leaders, it's not only Torah knowledge that comes into play. As one post already mentioned, yichus and family heritage generally is the defining factor in choosing leaders for Chjasidic dynasties. And don't think that politics, money, and behind-the-scenes negotiations don't go on when choosing other religious leaders. Yes, it's different than American elections, but it's also fraught with some of the same problems

(10) Menashe Kaltmann, October 31, 2012 1:10 AM

The Rebbe TZL ZYA wanted to make us also leaders....

Nice comments Lori and Lori mentions Rabbi Feinstein TZL. I live in Australia so unfortunately I didn't merit to see on trips to USA The Gaon R. Moshe Feinstein TZL ZYA. My brother in law's cousins live in Queens Kew Gardens and they knew Reb Moshe personally and describe his outstanding midos apart from his great humility, friendly manner and brilliance in Torah. As one Rabbi in Australia put it "If you had a question in Halacha you always knew you could call Reb Moshe TZL and receive clarification and an answer!" I did have the great merit to see and speak briefly to the Lubavitcher Rebbe TZL ZYA a true mentch, genius with an outstanding heart who sincerely believed in the coming of Moshiach. I believe that Hashem listens to TZadikkim we say in the Talmud "Tzaddik Gozar Ve Hakadoshu Brochu MiKayim" The Tzaddik decrees and Hashem makes sure that things will ghappen. I believe that Moshiach will come hopefully soon! NOW! The Rebbe wanted us to also be leaders not content for himself to be a leader.

(9) Aubrey Singer, October 30, 2012 9:04 PM

You have a very natural, unaffected, guileless way of presenting yourself.

Lori, I watched your video on how Jews choose their leaders. It brought tears to my eyes because you are so naturally and sincerely Jewish and unpretentiously honest. I appreciate that you are at ease with your identity as a Jew. My work and passion are as a songwriter and musician. I am popular on many Christian radio stations, although a Chasidic Rabbi in Oregon purchased a couple hundred of my CDs and sent many of them to Israel. I am also popular in the UK, but on Radio 2, a secular station. Yet, I am Jewish. I was born a Jew. I am moved by that part of me in a very deep way. So I thank you for reminding me of who I am, the "me" that easily surrenders to love and probably is the most responsible for the songs which bring such a warm response from the Christian community. Life is wild, isn't it? Aubrey Singer

(8) Cali Girl, October 30, 2012 6:48 PM

Apples To Oranges

Comparing how a religious leader of one group of people is chosen to how an economic and political leader of a huge nation with a myriad of different groups of people is like comparing apples to oranges. Why are so many of these videos "us versus them?"

(7) Anonymous, October 30, 2012 6:11 PM

With regard to the doctor's doctor and the rabi's rabbi, how do you resolve the situation where the doctor's doctor or the rabbi's rabbi needs help? There are problems in the lives of either that cannot be resolved by either alone. It is inevitable that either will need guidance from another and that choice will have to be made on the basis of the wisdom and confidence of another person, whether their breadth of knowledge is as great or not. In that particular circumstance the advice may be even better than that of the individual who needs it.

(6) Nachum, October 30, 2012 5:44 PM

Something is missing in the logic

If we abide by your logic, the Lawyer's Lawyer, Rabbi's Rabbi etc, would be so overworked and unemployment would run rampant. How can people get ahead in life? I realize there is a problem in searching for 'the best' - but that leads to increased cost that only the wealthy would be able to afford. Please try again - but throw in some reality. I say this with a smile and still am searching for the answer when it comes to finding an honest and competent politician.

(5) Rachel, October 30, 2012 5:28 PM

But this doesn't apply outside a small group of people

Israel, like the US, is a democracy (although Israel has a parliament while US has a two-house legislature and a separate executive.) The fact is, most organizations today are also run using a voting process. I'd also add that there is a certain level of meritocracy in order to make it to being the head of one's party (in Israel, UK, etc.) or a major party's nominee for president of the US. To take the current candidates: Obama is the incumbent (experience), was a US senator and a state senator (prior elected experience), had an excellent education, and clearly articulated his values in the 2008 primaries and campaign. Romney was governor of a big state (prior elected experience), was a very successful businessman, successfully managed the SLC Olympics, and has a different idea from the Democrats about how to bring back the US economy. The rabbinic model you describe only applies in elite institutions (we don't have popular votes for college professors nor surgeons). But when you're governing a large group of people, their voices should be heard. Being acknowledged "the best" only by one's own peers can create a bubble situation, where one only knows the approbation of those with whom one is already in agreement. Ask anyone who is not a frum Jew (including, I would venture, most reform and consevative rabbis) "who was Rabbi Feinstein?" and you'd get either (a) the wrong answer or (b) a blank stare. I'd also add that even for those of us who are Orthodox, it can be difficult at times to accept some of the positions taken by the rabbinic hierarchy because either we don't understand their thinking, and/or because we're concerned that they don't understand us and our thinking, employment situations, etc. As one of my friends said recently when our congregation's rabbi gave (yet another) talk in which he told a story about students in a yeshiva in pre-war Europe: "That's nice, but I wish he'd do more to relate the parsha to my contemporary US life."

(4) Tone Lechtzier, October 30, 2012 4:05 PM

wisdom & experience

Shalom, I wish it were so here in America. Seemingly our presidents are chosen by "the shadow government", a cartel of heavy money and power, that governs from the wings of the stage. When Obama was "elected" he was thirty five years old, with no military experience. A thirty five year old is capable of being president of the US by his own merit? According to the US geological survey, we have seven times more oil, than all the Arab countries combined. Why, are we buying their oil, when they are using the funds for armaments to destroy Israel? And, perhaps the US. gmail now censers what they consider anti government material. A 10,000,000,000 domestic communication complex is under construction in Utah. It will monitor and record every communication in the US. There is only one way, our Creators. Blessings ~ B"H

Tzvi, October 31, 2012 3:17 AM


The president was 47 when elected and in year 48 when his service began. Now he's a graying 51. Of course age per se does not confer wisdom. Shlomo was king at 18, by the way.

(3) Miriam, October 29, 2012 11:36 AM

Wow, Lori, even for you...

this was brilliant! You explained how our great leaders are "chosen" so clearly! What a contrast!

Tone Lechtzier, October 31, 2012 9:20 PM


Shalom, thank you. Blessings ~ Tone

(2) Cathryn, October 29, 2012 3:06 AM

Not so for Chassidic Jews

Lori, what you said is very true. But not so for some Chassidic dynasties. The position of Rebbe is usually passed down from father to son or son-in-law. Look at the disputes amongst the Bobover Chassidim, and how there is no longer a Lubavitcher Rebbe. I asked my rabbi why there is no longer a Lubavitcher Rebbe, and he said that there hasn't been a successor because the Rebbe (of righteous memory) believed that Moshiach would be coming soon. The Rebbe passed away in 1994. He did not have any children, so there was no son or son-in-law to succeed him, so I sometimes wonder if that was the reason...

(1) Rosen, October 28, 2012 2:20 PM


I'd wonder with Hamas in charge of the Palestinian authority, how exactly they could've been "freely elected" if they are not up for re-election every couple of years...


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