Just before Moses sent off the spies on their mission to tour the Land of Canaan, he called over his trusted protégé, Joshua, and said to him: "May G‑d save you from the plot of the spies."1

But didn't Moses select the spies himself?

If he didn't trust them, why did he choose them in the first place?

And if, for some reason, he did have to send these particular spies, despite his doubts, then why did he only pray for Joshua, and not the rest of the clan?

By being demonstrably "just like you," the hopefuls try to dissipate our fearsIn today's political climate, perhaps the worse epithet you could throw at a politician is "elitist." Elitists are evil, haughty, out-of-touch, fly in private planes, and are "enemies of the people."

Politicians work very hard to portray themselves as "normal." Why, they even attend their kids' baseball games, buy food at the local take-out, and talk and walk just like the average dude.

They have a point. Leaders who are detached from the people run the risk of making decisions based on what they feel and understand, not based on the actual needs and wants of Main Street, USA. But by being demonstrably "just like you," the hopefuls try to dissipate our fears that they are aloof and out-of-touch.

Back to the spies.

Moses was worried that his group of leaders and "visionaries" would fall into the alluring trap of elitism—an oh-so-common condition afflicting people propelled into positions of power. He was worried that they would reach their conclusions based on their own agendas and wants, rather those that of the two million Jews they represented. He didn't know it for sure because he trusted and respected the spies; it wasn't a prophecy—it was just a hunch.

What he did know was that Joshua would succeed him as leader of the Jewish people.2 It was particularly important to Moses to ensure that the next leader of the Jewish people wouldn't be an elitist. As an extra precaution, he gave Joshua his blessings.

In the end, Moses' hunch was proven correct. The spies failed their mission by putting their wants before the needs of the people (as explained elsewhere).

The future leader of the Jewish people, Joshua, however, kept the people's needs first. And that set the paradigm of leadership until our time.

And for all of us, this teaches us to put our own wants and needs aside when working on behalf of others—whether family, friends or community.

May G‑d save us from elitism!