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Gedolim, Tzaddikim, and Leaders
A long time ago I posted about two related and curious phenomena.
The first is that there is a common assumption that if someone excels in one area of Torah knowledge, it means that he excels in all areas. The most common manifestation of this error is that it is assumed that if someone is a great lamdan, then he is also a great theologian. Yet this is clearly not the case.
The second phenomenon is the common, but baseless, assumption that if someone is a great Torah scholar, then they must be a tzaddik, and often vice-versa. I don't think that this is entirely baseless, but there certainly is not a firm correlation.
Recently, it occurred to me that there is another related phenomenon. There is a common, but baseless, assumption that if someone is a great Torah scholar, then they must be a great leader.
This last misconception is especially odd because Tenach is replete with the idea that the two are not necessarily connected. First of all, with some obvious exceptions, the greatest Torah scholar (or other such person connected with Hashem) was not necessarily the leader of the Jewish People. Second, there are people who, at least in the Charedi view, are understood to be Gedolei Torah (e.g. Korach's group) and yet were clearly not suited to be leaders.
Furthermore, throughout history, there was usually a divide between the political leadership of the Jewish People and the rabbinic elite. And it's pretty obvious that there have been some great Torah scholars who were thrust into leadership roles and yet were/are very poor leaders. Leadership requires very different skills than Torah scholarship, and there is no reason why brilliance in the latter should automatically qualify one for the former.
This seems rather obvious, so why the widespread misconception? In many circles, it's unthinkable to point out that a person is an outstanding Torah scholar, and even a tzaddik, and yet a very poor leader. It probably has to do with the general simplistic, black-and-white view of things that is so prevalent.
(Please try to keep the comments constructive, to the extent possible with a topic such as this.)