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A lesson for the power-hungry

Biblical wisdom from Rabbi Sacks about power vs influence. A good lesson for today’s power-hungry politicians and government officials.


“Judaism is a sustained protest against what Hobbes called the “general inclination of all mankind,” nameless “a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.”[6] That may be the reason why Jews have seldom exercised power for prolonged periods of time but have had an influence on the world out of all proportion to their numbers.

“Not all of us have power, but we all have influence. That is why we can each be leaders. The most important forms of leadership come not with position, title or robes of office, not with prestige and power, but with the willingness to work with others to achieve what we cannot do alone; to speak, to listen, to teach, to learn, to treat other people’s views with respect even if they disagree with us, to explain patiently and cogently why we believe what we believe and why we do what we do; to encourage others, praise their best endeavours and challenge them to do better still.”


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