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Home » Events in the News, Naso, Politics

Naso: The Trump Phenomenon

Submitted by on June 14, 2016 – 3:07 pmNo Comment | 2,882 views

Why Trump?

America is in the grip of a serious Trump phenomenon. There are times when voters take leave of their senses and take fanciful flights to lands of folly. Logic and rationale are powerless against these movements. Certain notions take hold and you can argue till you are blue in the face, yet the popular idea holds sway. Trump is one such phenomenon.

No one believed he would be the front runner on the republican ticket and yet here he is. Cooler heads and pundits spend hours broadcasting reasoned arguments in measured tones across the airwaves, but, it is falling on deaf ears. The phenomenon has taken root

When these things happen, I often ask myself, what has gotten into the voter? Everyone knows that the man is aggressive, a scrapper, a fighter. Everyone knows he has a temper, he makes every exchange personal and says terrible things about his opponents and anyone he doesn’t like. So why is he so popular?

Straight Shooter

The only answer I can think of is the man is a straight shooter. Americans are tired of polished suits, who poll every syntax and nuance before floating them on the Sunday talk shows. Americans are tired of leaders, who poll the nation for approval before announcing policies and ideas. American are tired of leaders, who lead from behind. They are looking for someone who will get out in front.

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a straight shooter. If he doesn’t like you, he won’t smile at you. He will tell you to your face in no uncertain terms. When he is criticized for spouting off, he doesn’t apologize. He doesn’t mind bringing his unvarnished self to his unvarnished viewers, sidestepping the politically correct inter-viewer; the one who gets – inter- between, him and the viewer.

I’ve always wondered what the other shooters are like. The straight shooters aim for their targets, what do the non straight shooters aim for? It finally came to me. The aim right next to their targets, hoping to scare their targets into moving where they want them to go. The straight shooters come right at you and disagree with you. You know where they stand. The others talk around you hoping to plant their ideas in your mind so that without realizing it, you will come around to agreeing with them.

Slick. And America is apparently tired of slick. They are ready for straight. The straight that they found is bombastic, aggressive and often dirty, but at least he is straight. The polished suits don’t get it. The more they direct their polished salvos his way, the more the viewer appreciates the contrast. They are playing right into Trump’s hand, making him ever more popular.

Is this good for America? I don’t know if Trump is good for America, but I know that straight talk and leading from up front, is definitely better. I say nothing of Trump’s policies and direction, but I think we can take a lesson about his leadership style from the Torah.

Inaugural Offerings

When the Tabernacle was completed and the altar inaugurated, the princes of the twelve Jewish tribes asked for the privilege of bringing the inaugural offerings. G-d consented and a twelve-day festival was proclaimed during which each prince inaugurated the altar on his respective day.

The princes were anxious to be part of the inaugural because they had missed out on a previous opportunity. When the time came to raise funds and materials to build the tabernacle, the princes held back. They figured they would allow the laypeople to contribute whatever they would and they, the princes, would provide whatever was lacking. It turned out that the laypeople contributed with alacrity and by the time the princes turned around there was almost nothing left to contribute. They had to scramble to find something to give.

This was a mistake they would not repeat. When it was time for the inaugural, they rushed to the front of the line and begged to contribute first. G-d consented.

True Leadership

This begs a question. Why did G-d allow the princes to go first? Doesn’t G-d want the leaders to encourage their followers even if it means losing out on that opportunity for themselves?

The answer is that the princes had tried that the first time and realized that it was wrong. If you want your followers to follow, you need to lead by example. The failure of their first method was not that they nearly ended up with nothing to give. It was that they failed to act like true leaders and hence didn’t deserve to give.

A true leader inspires others by jumping ahead. Officers in the Israeli Defense Forces are trained to jump into battle first. They never need to look back to see if the platoon is following. When the leader turns his back and forges ahead, the soldiers follow suit. By not turning back to check on their soldiers, the leaders demonstrate their confidence in their unit. This trust empowers and buoys the unit.

For the princes to hesitate, to look back and check whether the lay was contributing before moving forward with their own contribution, was wrong. It was done with good intention, but it was not the correct way to lead. It is a testament to the lay that they surged ahead of their leaders and gave without seeing their leaders’ example, but this doesn’t exonerate the leaders.

When the princes saw that they nearly lost their chance to contribute, they realized that standing aside to ensure that others would surge ahead, landed them at the back of the line. That is not where a leader belongs. He might not seek the prestige up front, but his people need him to lead from up front.

When it was time for the inaugural, the princes changed tack and got it right. They moved to the front of the line and jumped right in. They never looked back to see if their people were following. But the fact is that their people followed. Nothing is more inspiring, than a leader who puts his money where his mouth is. Nothing is more inspiring than a leader that practices what he preaches. A leader that leads from out front, knows he will be followed.

The princes had finally redeemed themselves. They were respected again. They were leading again.


Far be it from me from comparing Trump to the righteous tribal leaders of our nation’s past. I draw this comparison for one reason only. To point out that a real leader leads from up front. American voters are tired of leaders who don’t talk straight, who mislead the public, and who disrespect them by talking in circles.

America is looking for leadership. Is Trump a true leader? I venture to guess that America will one day find out.

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