Babylonian Talmud, Arachin 17a
תלמוד בבלי מסכת ערכין דף יז עמוד א
פליגי בה רבי יהודה נשיאה ורבנן, חד אמר: דור לפי פרנס, וחד אמר: פרנס לפי דורו. למאי הלכתא? אילימא למעליותא, דמר סבר: אי מעלי דרא מעלי פרנס, ומר סבר: אי מעלי פרנס מעלי דרא
R. Yehudah Nesiah and the Rabbis disagreed (on the interpretation of a verse). One says ‘(the character of) a generation parallels (that of its) leader.’ And the other says ‘(the character of) a leader parallels that of his/her generation.’ What is the issue of disagreement? If you will say (that they are debating) righteousness, that one master holds that if a generation is righteous then their leader is righteous, and the other master holds the reverse; that if a generation’s leader is righteous, then the generation too is righteous. [Translation by Uri L’Tzedek. Edited for gender neutrality]

Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. How do R. Yehuda Nesiah and the Rabbis each understand the role of leadership?

2. How are societies influenced by their leaders, and how are leaders influenced by their societies?

Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)