As a leader, you know that leadership offers great opportunities to guide and inspire others, to set the agenda and see it to fruition. However, it also can place us in compromised situations, where we feel as if we have lost control of the situation around us and need to engage in damage control. There are even times when we step into a leadership role that did not previously exist in order to address a need, a problem or a concern, oftentimes a pressing one at that. Such was the case of Matthias, the elderly priest who assumed an expanded leadership role at a time of great national duress in order to save his nation and the Torah that they treasured.
In this article, I will aim to distill leadership lessons from within the broader historical context, lessons that we can apply within our own lines of work and our lives in general.
1. Understand the objective - For most of our nation's history, we have lived in exile (either in the literal sense or in our homeland under foreign subjugation). While in exile, we enjoyed varying levels of freedoms and autonomy, but were generally content to subvert ourselves to our host nation so long as we were given the freedom to live religiously as Jews.
Matthias and his sons had no interest in attacking the Seleucid forces. They had fled to Modiin, a small hamlet on the outskirts of Jerusalem, because they knew that it would give them a better opportunity to live a Torah-observant lifestyle than in the now-Hellenized capital. Knowing what was of primary importance to them is what drove their decision to relocate as well as all of their subsequent ones.