What’s Right?

There was a Rabbi renowned for his brilliance, and he was able to answer just about every question fired his way and prove his theories in the face of any challenges his students and colleagues could pose.

One day, a young man who had never before spoken up in the rabbi’s classes, raised his hand and asked a question that implied that the rabbi was wrong about the theory that he had been explaining.  The rabbi looked around and noticed an old man sitting in the audience whom he had never seen before.  The rabbi looked back at the young man and said, “You may be right.  I will consider it.”

After the lecture, one of the rabbi’s top students approached him, clearly distressed; “Rabbi!” Why did you let the young man imply that you were incorrect?  You were clearly right, and even I could prove your theory!”  The rabbi explained that after noticing the old man, he realized that the you man was possibly trying to impress the older man and the rabbi didn’t want to embarrass him.  After a few days it became clear what was going on.  The young man became engaged to the older man’s daughter.

To a true leader and sincere scholar, it’s never about being right; it’s about doing right.  It’s not about saving face; it’s about saving lives and helping the people you serve.