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The Rebbe’s Investment

The Rebbe’s Investment

My Thoughts on the Rebbe's Modality of Leadership

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Leadership, to many, means leading the masses. To the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, leadership meant empowering individuals, each one, one by one.

Unconventional ideas require unconventional strategies. In his later years, the Rebbe did some-thing uniquely tied to his modality of leadership: He would stand in the hallway outside his office every Sunday morning, sometimes for as long as four or five hours, handing thousands of people, one by one, a dollar and a blessing. Students and business people, politicians and police officers, rabbis and rabble rousers, the famous and powerful along with the down and out—there were no limits on who could stand in line and each received the same dollar.

In the past, there were wise men for whom many stood in line for advice. The Rebbe stood for those standing in his line and gave each one a job to do. First, here's a dollar. Why a dollar? The dollar was not yours. It was the Rebbe's dollar that he wished to give to charity. Which charity? The charity that you would choose. You would give that dollar or its equivalent worth, on the Rebbe's behalf, to whatever charity you liked. The Rebbe was investing in you, in your ability to make the right choice and do something good. You and the Rebbe were now bound together in a single act of goodness: The Rebbe's dollar, your choice.

Many then reported to the Rebbe about all the good things they had already done. Very good, the Rebbe would reply, but don’t be satisfied. Double your efforts. And once you’ve doubled them, double again.

And then there was the blessing given to all without exception: Blessing and success. Success in what? In the job you have to do, in your mission in life, in doubling the power of that mission. What mission? The mission in which you have been empowered. Now go, choose, and do something. Always the bottom line: Do.

Empowerment. Leadership. Rebbe.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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