At the outset of Vayakel Pekudey, this week’s Torah portion, we read:
And Moses assembled all the congregation of the children of Israel, and said to them: “These are the words which the Lord has commanded, that you should do them” (Exodus 35:1)
Why does Moses have to assemble the people to deliver God’s message? Moses learned from Yitro his father-in-law at that there is at least one other to communicate to the masses. There we read:
And Moses’ father-in-law said unto him: ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear away, both you, and this people who is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it yourself alone. Hearken now to my voice, I will give you counsel, and God be with you: you should be for the people before God, and you should bring the causes to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover you shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. (Exodus 18:17- 21)
I am sure that I am not the only one who feels that we just spend too much of our time in meetings. Going from meeting to meeting can really wear you down. I just wish that there were other more effective ways of getting groups of people to work together besides just having more meetings. So why did Moses need to assemble the people to deliver this message?
There is no doubt that there is a value to meetings. As Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I feel invigorated and much more creative when in the presence of others. But I need to remember that just because we have a meeting it does not mean that people outside of that meeting will benefit. We always need to work on making meetings more efficient to maximize our impact on the world beyond the meeting. And yes that means we all need more action items and time to do those actions items.