Planning Ahead While Studying the Past

In his inspiring book, Lessons in Leadership which I read each week (and which I've quoted before!) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speaks about Moses’s ability to think ahead and how he planned for the considerable time that it would take for the Israelites to transition into freedom and a new way of life. 

Even in the midst of the plagues and darkness descending over Egypt, the only home they have ever known, Moses is thinking ahead. He does not directly address the current situation at length but looks forward and prepares not just for the near future, but even for future generations. 

In examining how this makes Moses an unparalleled leader, Rabbi Sacks writes about how Moses knew that it would take time to institute change. He says that  “Therefore we must place as our highest priority educating our children in our ideals so that what we begin, they will continue until the world changes because we have changed.” 

This lesson is particularly important today. We continue to deal with the challenges of this pandemic and the hardship and stress that it puts on our students, parents, and teachers. At the same time, we are always thinking ahead and planning for the future. 

Our 5th and 6th graders have been learning these early parshiot of Sefer Shemot in depth to prepare themselves for our Pesach learning in the spring. Even these challenging stories and darker times are geared towards our festival of freedom and the studying of the themes of redemption. This morning in our upper school tefillah, we discussed the idea that during the plague of darkness there was still light in the houses of the Israelites. 

My blessing for all of us this Shabbat is that we can continue to shine light in the ways that we best can. Starting in our homes and with our families, but also extending out into the communities in which we live and beyond. It is easy to get caught up in the darkness, but together we can find light within it. 

Wishing you all a restful shabbat and wishing a Refuah Shleimah, a full return to health for all those who are experiencing illness at this time.