Leaders and Strangers
Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.
Countries are defined by their borders, the vein-like thin lines on a map that indicate who is a member of one nation and who is not by virtue of pure geographic location. But more than mere geography filters into the status of a resident or an alien. There are human boundary conditions, acts and behaviors that are deemed acceptable, and those deemed beyond the pale, that determine citizenship in the literal or metaphoric sense. There is accidental membership. I happen to be born in a particular country and, therefore, am a citizen and subject to the laws of that place. There is also intentional membership. I want to become a member of a place, so I engage in certain behaviors and fulfill particular requirements that enable me to qualify. In addition, that intentionality may involve loyalty and allegiance or overt demonstrations of affiliation. The changing nature of human status also signals transition. For example, most Jews today can easily identify a number of friends and acquaintances who have converted to Judaism. Fewer can identify those who have converted out of Judaism. If we were to gauge this same change two hundred years ago, the transition would have been reversed. This trend may say something about a people, something about the context in which people live, and something about changing conditions that allow for the fluid constitution of the collective.
In the wilderness, there were no imaginable geographic boundaries that generated an understanding of community. Other boundaries existed. We studied the nazarite in the previous chapter; the nazarite was a “stranger” by virtue of a spiritual decision to separate from others ascetically. The sota, a suspected adulteress, was a moral stranger to the camp. The ger was a convert into the camp. The ger toshav was a different kind of stranger, one who lived among the Israelites but was not of the Israelites. The lack of such known boundaries and the very nature of being between two countries and not a member of either was a source of irritation and confusion. Demands like the census, the flags, the positioning of tribes relative to the Tabernacle, and the role of the Levites were all attempts to scrape together some minimal scaffolding. Rules about those who were entitled to live within the camp and those who could not enhanced the inclusionary/exclusionary nature of this odd desert grouping. The leper lived outside the camp, as did one who was ritually impure. The riffraff of Numbers 11 made trouble on the periphery of the camp. There is a continual return to the theme of belonging and estrangement throughout Numbers. The very difficulty of determining “citizenship” in this boundary-less era helps us understand why the text keeps returning to explore it. The matter is not limited to rules and regulations, but touches the heart of existential identity. The inability to live with the identity tension of not being Egyptian slaves, but neither living as Israelite freemen and landholders was too much ambiguity for many to tolerate. The faith that this struggle would soon be resolved was fragile.
To address this conundrum, the midsection of Numbers presents a legal digression on the participation of the resident alien or the protected stranger in acts of personal and communal sacrifice. It is a passage about transition and identity in a time of challenge, and its appearance here is not hard to understand. As the Israelites sojourned and came in contact with other nations, some sought to skirmish and a number of foreign residents felt compelled to join them; consequently, laws were needed to clarify the standing of such individuals. Thus, the text must pause and offer some legal guidelines about the ger toshav, the resident alien. In creating a desert society, there were rules that applied to those living clearly within the community, those outside of it, and those on its margins, whose status on the boundary lines must have persistently raised questions about identity. In or out? Obligated or exempt? Punishable or not? The legal position of the stranger within any particular society offers insight into the nature of the community being created and the posture of self to other that is promoted, citizen and stranger alike. With this in mind, we turn to Numbers 15:
And when, throughout the ages, a stranger has taken up residence with you, or one who lives among you, would present an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord – as you do so, so shall it be done by the rest of the congregation. There shall be one law for you and for the resident stranger; it shall be a law for all time throughout the ages. You and the stranger shall be alike before the Lord; the same ritual and the same rule shall apply to you and to the stranger who resides among you. (Num. 15:14–16)
In this passage, both the stranger and the citizen can offer a sacrifice of pleasing odor to God and both are exculpated by sacrifices given by the community.
There is an implicit understanding in these verses that there will always be individuals who find themselves among Jews, either through fear or desire,1Compare this text, for example, with the close of Esther 8: “And many of the people of the land professed to be Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them” (8:17). who wish to participate in Jewish rituals. Offering sacrifices, in particular, had appeal because it was a means to achieve forgiveness and experience belonging. This longing may have been obstructed by the pain of being an outsider. The desire to join, to participate, and to dispense with self-consciousness in the joyful presence of others is part of the desire to join a common bond, and represents the longing to cleave to something. As a band of wanderers united by shared history and values, the Israelites may have constituted a magnet for those who observed them from a distance.
Sacrifices generated community because many were offered on behalf of a group and were, in part, consumed by a group. The one sacrificing was often mandated to share the cooked ox or sheep remains with his entire household and the needy. Thus, one of the most basic mechanisms for creating community in Exodus and then later in Joshua was the offering of the Paschal lamb – a rite that only a foreigner with circumcision could observe (Ex. 12:47–48 and Num. 9:13–14).2The connection among the rites of circumcision, the Paschal lamb, and the entrance into the Land of Israel is highlighted in Joshua 5 and inferred in Exodus 4:24–26. The three commandments seem to be part of a continuum of covenant beginning with personal covenant represented by the act of Brit, which allows membership in the community that offers the Passover sacrifice, and finally the community becomes a nation with the joining of a people and its land. In Genesis 34, Dina’s brothers base their ruse to kill the Shechemites on the accurate principle that without personal circumcision, marriage into the broader society of Israelites is forbidden. This desire to be part and parcel of a community is reinforced in the very same chapter of Numbers with regard to a communal sacrifice offered to account for a group error:
If this [sin] was done unwittingly, through the inadvertence of the community, the whole community shall present one bull of the herd as a burnt offering of pleasing odor to the Lord with its proper meal offering and libation, and one he-goat as an offering. The priest shall make expiation of the whole Israelite community and they shall be forgiven; for it was an error, and for their error they have brought an offering…. The whole Israelite community and the stranger residing among them shall be forgiven, for it happened to the entire people through error. (Num. 15:24–26)
The rule initially seems to be inclusive only of Israelites. The need to achieve forgiveness for an inadvertent error as a community is deep and pervasive. The whole community requires it and benefits from it. Yet suddenly, as the passage closes, the stranger is both mentioned and included. A need this intense should not disqualify those living among Israelites who may be guilty of this error themselves, or feel themselves swept up in the momentum of the group sentiment. Someone not well-acquainted with the rituals of a community may feel the need to be part of this sacrifice, tripped up as he or she might be by the correct behaviors – a ritual choreography not yet mastered – desiring all the while to be part of something larger than self.
If the stranger can enjoy literal and metaphysical benefits such as atonement, what makes the stranger a stranger at all? Multiple times in the Pentateuch is the expression “there shall be one law for you and the resident alien” used to show legal equivalence.3See Exodus 12:48–49; Leviticus 7:7, 24:22; Numbers 9:14, 15:15, 15:29–30. Like citizens, strangers can be cut off from the community for cursing God and are obliged to refrain from behaviors that engender impurity.4For examples, see Leviticus 4, 17:15–16, 18:27–28, 35:34–35; Numbers 15:30–31, 19:13, 19:20. The stranger and the citizen both enjoy the privileges of the community and are both accountable for their place in the community and for their personal relationships with God through prohibitive commands. A poor gentile or ger was counted among the recipients of communal welfare (Lev. 19:10) and enjoyed the protections of the community as a relative equal (Lev. 24:22). Who, then, was the stranger, if during this period of transition there was no land from which to claim citizenship? Who was a stranger if we were all strangers? Furthermore, what made this individual alien if he was included in the community, such that both citizen and stranger were “alike before the Lord”?
Alien or Convert?
The term “stranger” is actually rendered in many translations as a “resident alien,” oxymoron that it is. A resident alien conveys the conflict of identity in its rawest sense. The individual in question is neither totally part of a community nor is he or she foreign to it. Like the convert, he or she is both insider and outsider at the same time. Saadia Gaon, one of the great early medieval scholars, observes on Numbers 15:26 that the stranger is a convert who desires to bring a sacrifice to gain full acceptance in the Israelite community. In this reading, this act demonstrates the simultaneous insider and outsider appellation of a resident alien. The desire to belong is coupled by an act to gain acceptance. Where this individual was once a stranger, he or she has made a momentous leap into a different faith and should be called a Jew or a citizen like any other.
Maimonides, in his famous letter to Obadiah the Proselyte, writes that, as a convert, Obadiah may use the expression in our liturgy, “the God of our fathers,” even though Jewish forefathers were not technically his ancestral family. Once an individual has chosen to become Jewish, he retroactively absorbs Jewish history as if it were his own. This fact is a remarkable testament to both the Jewish sense of history and Judaism’s willingness to integrate those who make the difficult choice to live Jewishly.
In the sixteenth-century code of Jewish law, the Shulĥan Arukh, the process of conversion is not a guided course in commandment observance. We are commanded to teach the convert some major and minor laws, but predominantly to question a potential convert about Jewish history and identity. Is the convert willing to accept Jewish peoplehood, marred as it is by repeated persecution? Does the convert know about the trials that Jews as a people face? In essence, we are inviting the convert not only to affirm a decision by creed and deed, but also largely by a history that he may not have thought his own. The convert is a full-fledged member of the “tribe” only when he can accept the fate, and not just the faith, of the Jewish people.
Conversion is its own wilderness, a demanding transition and passage of self-definition and definition through others. Acceptance of the law is not the same as being accepted by the other. Even when converts make the commitment to live by the legal confines of Jewish practice, they find that acceptance into the community is more tenuous. The convert’s personal prayers, according to Maimonides, must reflect the fact that this individual has been able to fully embrace Judaism in its totality as a statement of identity, not merely of behavior. It is both act and history. Yet those responsible for integrating the convert into Jewish life often cannot get beyond the sense of otherness that the convert represents.
Although Saadia Gaon read the passage in Numbers 15 through the lens of medieval perceptions and concluded that it described an act of conversion, the context of the verses belies this reinterpretation. The participation of the resident alien in biblical rituals and the act of conversion should not be confused. As Bible scholar Jacob Milgrom reminds us:
It must be remembered that the ger, the resident alien of biblical times, is a far remove from the ger, the convert of rabbinic times. Conversion as such was unknown in the ancient world. Ethnicity was the only criterion for membership in a group. The outsider could join only by marriage (e.g. Ruth). In fact, it was not those who intermarried but the subsequent generations that succeeded in assimilating and even then not always (e.g. Deut. 23:1–9). Some gerim, like the Kenites, were ultimately absorbed into Israel, presumably for marriage. Others, like the Gibeonites, maintained their slave status throughout the biblical period.5Milgrom, The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers, Excursus 34, 401.
Saadia Gaon’s comment is ahistorical, but perhaps was prompted by the lens of his personal experience.
Residing in the Tension
There is a place between two familiar spaces that defies identity. In art, we call it negative space. It is the outline of the borders of tangible reality that is itself an unnamed reality. It is the space between two chairs that helps define the relationship of the chairs to each other. It may be the space between two buildings or a tree and a person. That empty space may be represented by a simple set of lines and curves and is often drawn first, only then followed by the demarcation of the actual shapes. It is this drawing of negative space that offers the rest of the represented images an identity. The space that isn’t defines the space that is. In politics and literature, it may be the experience of exile. An exile defines himself or herself by where he or she is not, not by the place of current residence. At the same time, this self-definition does not tell the whole story of personal existence. You can be from a place, but not of it. Dislocation can be in and of itself defining, even if it is unintentionally so.
Turning back to the biblical text, the expression “resident alien” is an oxymoron because one who dwells within a community should not be a stranger, and a stranger is not someone who has standing within a community. At issue is the state of belonging and the condition of acceptance. A person can feel an emotional sense of belonging, but fail to be accepted within a community; a stranger can, through outlined protocols, be technically accepted, but never feel himself or herself a full-fledged member. Resident aliens to this day struggle with the same contradictions that the expression surfaced in the ancient past. Jews throughout history, especially during the centuries when citizenship was denied to those living throughout Europe and elsewhere, were acutely aware of being both from a place but not of a place, living but not strictly belonging.
This dissonance created constant struggle. Perhaps this very ambiguity of status prompted a legal digression in Numbers. Throughout the book of Numbers there is an attempt at identifying those who belong in the Israelite camp in the wilderness, those who are outside of it, and those who have, for differing reasons, an ambiguous affiliation. They were in a place by nature transitional so that communal or national identity for them was, at its best, fragile and unstable. Their very existence was transitional, and although transitions are not desirable or generally sustainable, they often provide the necessary tunnel to the next stage of existence, identity, or meaning, all the while presenting the challenge of passage.
When you have a definitive understanding of your place within a society, it is easier to navigate that society. The contemporary scholar Donniel Hartman writes in The Boundaries of Judaism:
There is no viability for social life without some notion of boundaries and limits on the difference that it can accommodate. Without these boundaries it becomes impossible to locate that common core by virtue of which fellow members affiliate with one another and form a social entity.6Donniel Hartman, The Boundaries of Judaism (New York: Continuum, 2007), 16.
Boundaries and limitations create barriers but also generate self-understanding. I know who I am by virtue of where I can or cannot be, what rules I must obey to be a member, and what taboos I must not break. While rules can always be broken, an understanding of what the rules are and how they define a society offers easier placement in that society. The philosopher Charles Taylor has done extensive research on notions of personal identity, and in Sources of the Self, he writes:
To know who I am is a species of knowing where I stand. My identity is defined by the commitments and identifications which provide the frame or horizon within which I can try to determine from case to case what is good and valuable, or what ought to be done, or what I endorse or oppose. In other words it is the horizon within which I am capable of taking a stand.7Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self: The Making of Modern Identity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989), 27.
In this “horizon within which I am capable of taking a stand,” I must both be cognizant of the borders that encircle me and contribute to humility and duty and, at the same time, be capable of some level of self-determination that is not only fueled by the norms and conventions within a societal framework. Identity for Leon Wieseltier, in his small but potent book Against Identity, is a mystifying state that
imparts a feeling of the inside; but this feeling is imparted to us from the outside. The inside, the outside; they must be properly mapped. The country to which I belong is outside, the people to which I belong is outside, the family to which I belong is outside. Inside, there is only my body and my soul. From the beginning, I recognize this family as my family and this people as my people and this country as my country; but not in the way that I recognize this body as my body and this soul as my soul. I am not estranged from my family and my people and my country, but neither are we the same. I must bring them from the outside in, if I am to love them for more than circumstance. And circumstance is a poor reason for love. And the inside is vast, too.8Leon Wieseltier, Against Identity (New York: William Drenttel, 1996), 23.
All we have with certainty, in this observation, are a body and soul that are our own. Our surrounding environments remain at some distance from us. We can move closer to them so that we are impacted by them. They will be, however, always outside of the self.
First Jew, First Resident Alien
Identity confusion and identity naming begins as early as Genesis 23:4. Abraham, in trying to purchase a plot to bury Sarah, calls himself a “ger vetoshav” among the other residents of the land. It is odd for Abraham to make this identity observation at this juncture. Surely Abraham must have felt his outsider status most profoundly when initially entering Canaan with a mandate from God to start a nation in a land populated by others, as far back as Genesis 12. Yet he pursued God’s command with particular zeal, without hesitation or pause to reflect on the fact that he was a stranger to Canaan. The experience of death, of losing one’s second self and partner in the creation of a national vision, may have precipitated Abraham’s new self-awareness. When a man loses his wife and is living in a country not yet his own, he wants to own a piece of land for eternity. He needs to know that he can always be within proximity of those he has loved and lost. Imagine, and it is not difficult to imagine, that a man buries his wife in a country that soon thereafter exiles him and his community elsewhere. He will say good-bye to all that is familiar to him, but worse, he will say good-bye permanently to his second self. Selecting a family burial plot is a momentous decision with long-term implications for future visitors.
Burying the dead often precipitates a sudden, overwhelming lack of belonging. Within the narrative arch of Abraham’s life, his universe of collaborators, who were never a large group, narrowed. Abraham lost his nephew Lot, his expected heir, to Sodom and its immoral attractions. In Genesis 21, he was told to banish Hagar and his son, Ishmael, from his household. In Genesis 22, Abraham readied himself to sacrifice his son; according to the text, Isaac did not leave the mount with his father. Father and son never spoke again in the story and came together only at Abraham’s burial. Immediately after Isaac’s binding in the biblical text, Sarah’s death at the age of 127 is recorded. When Abraham lost Sarah, he may have had a painful understanding of being a stranger that did not exist for him in the expansiveness of possibility created when he first set out on his spiritual adventure.
In the act of buying a plot for Sarah, Abraham introduced himself to the Hittites in just this way, “I am a resident alien among you.” The Hittites, in responding to him, changed his status: “Hear us, my lord, you are the elect of God among us.” The Hittites not only welcomed Abraham, they told him that he was no stranger to them. He was a member of God’s elect. He enjoyed a special status, perhaps even one above themselves. They knew him.
Citizens must be treated equally by the law. A stranger, however, knows that no matter the kindness surrounding him, he may never feel at home. Abraham expressed his estrangement; he felt himself a guest, an alien. He did not wish to be lower in status or higher in status than his neighbors. The Hittites treated him as a resident in the dialogue, but it was of little consequence in assuaging Abraham’s sense of dislocation and limitation. Abraham was unsure of the horizon in which he stood but knew that the country was outside of himself.
The depth of this alienation in the presence of others is perhaps best illustrated in the Hebrew Bible through the name Moses gave his first son, Gershom, because, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land” (Ex. 2:22). Abandoned as a baby under Pharaoh’s decree, absorbed into Pharaoh’s house until he slayed an Egyptian taskmaster, Moses was initially rejected by his fellow Jews: “Who made you chief and ruler over us?” (Ex. 2:14). He was then identified as an Egyptian by Midianite shepherdesses, and after marrying one of them and having a child, he named his first baby after his profound sense of strangeness. With each utterance of his child’s name, he affirmed his status in the world as he experienced it. He belonged nowhere. He belonged to no one.
Moses could not take a stand until his sense of identity was cemented, a transformation that began at the burning bush and was negotiated with God in the acceptance of a mission that would align him forever with those who initially rejected him. Moses, however, was never fully integrated into the fiber of the camp. Throughout the journey, he stood apart. Even when questioned about this distance by his very own siblings, God reminded Miriam and Aaron that Moses was decidedly not like them:
Hear these My words: When a prophet of the Lord arises among you, I make Myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is trusted throughout My household. With him I speak mouth to mouth, plainly and not in riddles, and he beholds the likeness of the Lord. How then did you not shrink from speaking against My servant Moses! (Num. 12:6–8)
Moses was unlike his siblings, those closest to him biologically and emotionally. He had direct access to God, a privilege that neither his brother nor sister enjoyed. When God wondered at their capacity to criticize Moses, Aaron immediately took the lesson to heart and called Moses his master, rather than his brother.
Moses’ identity of remoteness was a source of anguish but also a source of strength. Perhaps only one who had not been a slave could lead people out of slavery. As a result of his own perplexing place in the universe, Moses was suited to the task of moving people from one identity state to another, from slave to landholder, from powerless to powerful, from subject of Pharaoh to object of God, from pyramids to Sinai. This responsibility may have come easier to him precisely because he was someone who slipped from one external environment to the next, carrying his existential distance with him wherever he traveled. He was also driven by the strongest desire of the stranger, to find home, even if it required years of homelessness and wandering. As a stranger, Moses could assist others who were strangers to a homeland. Ultimately, however, Moses would never become a resident or citizen of the land he desired, despite his stubborn commitment to ushering others to a different horizon. He would forever stay on the side of otherness. Moses died alone, inspiring Martin Buber to write of the prophet’s last hour, “And now Moses ascends Mount Nebo, solitary as he has always been; more solitary than he has ever been before.” 9Martin Buber, Moses: The Revelation and the Covenant (New York: Harper, 1965), 201. Dislocation was not only the name he gave his son; it was a description of his existential condition, from birth to death.
The Leader and the Stranger
What role does the leader have in relation to the stranger? Is there a way in which the leader must act in relation to the stranger? We have just seen that Moses’ lack of connection to people or place offered him a unique stance in the world to assist others in their search for place. Paradoxically, only one who suffers alienation can recognize it and create salvation from it for others. It was the priest in the Bible who diagnosed the leper and set him outside the camp, and it was the high priest who ushered the leper back into the camp, letting all know that the person on top of the spiritual pyramid in society was not beyond escorting the one lowest in position. It was his very duty to accompany the leper and demonstrate through association the role of the leader.
If identity is an internal state determined by acts and emotions from within and acceptance and isolation from without, then the leader is a critical figure in crafting responses to otherness and escorting the follower through these states. Daniel Goleman, the pioneer of emotional intelligence studies, believes that leaders manage meaning for others, particularly during periods of ambiguity when unfamiliarity characterizes the state of affairs.10Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2004), 8. Within that framework, the leader sets the emotional standard used to measure acceptance. If the leader alienates the stranger, even less can be expected in the commoner’s treatment of the very same person. If the leader, however, creates an environment of acceptance, welcome, and love, it will trickle down and shape the culture in which that leader moves and operates. To that end, Goleman and his coauthors stress the quality of empathy in the emotionally intelligent leader, the capacity to read others and understand their inherent stance in the universe:
Leaders with empathy are able to attune to a wide range of emotional signals, letting them sense the felt, but unspoken, emotions in a person or group. Such leaders listen attentively and can grasp the other person’s perspective. Empathy makes a leader able to get along with people of diverse backgrounds or from other cultures.11Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee, Primal Leadership, 255.
More than getting along with others who are different than himself, the leader models the reaction of others to the stranger. If the Bible commands us to be gracious to the stranger as a reflection of our historical experience – “You must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut. 10:19) – then the leader shows us how.
Abraham had every reason to identify as a citizen. He walked to the land on a divine promise. God told him in no uncertain terms that he would possess all the land upon which his foot stepped: “Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you” (Gen. 13:17). Abraham had children in that land, fought its battles, and dug its wells, an ancient act that conferred land ownership. But Abraham lacked the internal presumption to claim citizenship. Abraham came to Canaan at seventy-five. He lived a good portion of his life outside of its borders. Its existence predated him, and he approached his neighbors with the humility required to understand that you can live in a place for decades and still be a stranger. This Genesis text also reminds us that perception of outsider status is generated within and without, by the self and by the other. While Abraham may have regarded himself as an outsider, the Hittites were quick to remind him that he was an insider because God had conferred that status upon him. Status is not only where you are born but also where you give birth to your own identity. The Hittites accepted Abraham with a willingness that was mirrored in Abraham’s own acts of kindness to strangers.
As mentioned earlier, many of the remarkable changes we have undergone as a people involved a change of geography, an act of crossing over, be it the Reed Sea or the Jordan. We moved from one location to another and became transformed in the process. But we also stayed in a posture of detachment as ivri’im because we were constantly in transition. The passage about the resident alien in Numbers 15 may be a plea to treat the stranger as citizen and not to let the demarcations of the past create separations. Indeed we are told in the text that this is a law that applies throughout the generations. Identity wrestling gave rise to the flexibility of a formula for determining boundaries. Even in the Promised Land citizenship is not guaranteed, but shared with other inhabitants. Once living within an Israelite camp, the stranger is regarded as an integral part of the Jewish landscape with regard to compassion and equality.
The resident alien status may also be a reminder to the citizen that he is ultimately no different than the stranger. By making laws that apply equally to both, the stranger comes closer to citizenship status and the citizen becomes more like the stranger. After all, the wilderness was foreign territory to all of its inhabitants. It made strangers of us all.
Empathy and the Leader
As we mentioned earlier, the leader has a particularly critical role to play in shaping the dominant attitude to the stranger in any setting. The leader is the one who has the most influence in terms of including or excluding others. The leader can be callous or empathic and will set the standard of behavior for followers. You cannot demand that others exhibit kindness to strangers; you can only model it and make others aware of situations that require additional attention and compassion.
In Resonant Leadership, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee believe that empathy is one of the most important characteristics of an effective leader.
Effective leaders care enough to want to learn about other people, to feel what they feel and see the world the way they do. And then they do something with what they’ve learned. We define compassion as having three components: understanding and empathy for others’ feelings and experiences, caring for others, willingness to act on those feelings of care and empathy. When experiencing compassion, a person does not assume or expect reciprocity or an equal exchange. Compassion means giving selflessly.12Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Resonant Leadership (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2005), 179.
Empathic leaders have curiosity about others. They listen with their whole face. They embody the pain of others. They are not afraid to be vulnerable. They do not back away from pain or conversations that prove emotionally entangling. They are big enough to make themselves small.
Numbers, through a weaving of story and law, narrative and regulation, creates an understanding of what it means to live in a community and what it means to live just outside of it. The leader’s job, more than others, is to recognize the other. The leader must see the resident where others only see the alien. The leader builds community, one relationship at a time.