Dear Ezra Community,
Wednesday night, we had a beautiful night to honor and celebrate our Eighth Grade class of 2022 for their graduation. Below is an excerpt from my charge to the graduates:
No Jewish artifact represents this class better than the Menorah that is mentioned in this week’s parasha. Described as a set of lamps or lights that is also a part of the greater lamp-stand, the Menorah has become a symbol for Temple worship, Jewish ritual, and of course the holiday of Chanukah. One word in particular jumped out at me from the text. בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ - translated as “when you mount” but literally meaning in raising something up. Rashi explains that since the flame rises up, that this word is used for the act of actually making the flames rise. I love the image of you all being the lamps that shine the actual light and that together, we have done the mounting or raising to bring you together as that unit.
As I delved a little deeper into this image however, I encountered a small challenge. You may be aware that the Menorah that stood in the Mishkan and in the Temple had seven branches and lights and there are six of you. Rashi again saved the day by explaining to me that the reason that the text says אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה - over the front of the lamp, means that the middle lamp is the central lamp, and therefore NOT one of the branches. Therefore, there are six branches which hold lights that join the existing central branch and its light. So you are still those six lights and Ezra is the central branch. You simultaneously receive light from Ezra while also giving it back. You have all joined as a group at different times, and now on this last evening as current Ezra students, you stand together as a unit. As you go on to your next learning settings, you will take some of that central Ezra light with you and know that the Menorah still stands here ready to be reconstructed whenever you come back to visit.
And now, to our special Ezra community, thank you for making this a year of professional and communal growth for me. I wish you all a restful and fun filled summer.