I consider myself privileged to be a Head of School who also gets to do some teaching. I’m very lucky to currently spend a few periods a week with our oldest students, our 7th and 8th graders. One of the subjects that we learn together is parashat ha-shavuah, or the study of the weekly Torah portion. Each week, after a quick review of the weekly text and its themes, each student picks a part of the parasha or a theme to engage with and then has time during the week to either write a d’var Torah, create a piece of original artwork, or present their learning in some other creative way. The goal of this parasha workshop is for students to be able to find new meaning, inspiration, and connections in stories that they already know.
And the best part for me is that I get to do it too! The challenging thing I find with texts like this week’s parasha, which I’ve learned over and over, is that it can be hard to find a new point of inspiration. However, I noticed a few verses in the second chapter of Shemot (Exodus) that I find really meaningful. In the story-arc of Moshe’s life, we tend to focus on the big moments such as his birth, his striking of the Egyptian, and of course the burning bush and the events that follow.
Verses 15-17 in chapter 2 contain so much, but they can be easy to skip through if the reader does not slow down. In verse 15, Moshe runs from Egypt, fearing for his life and arrives in the land of Midian. In the verses which follow, he has already stood up for another cause, been adopted into a new family, and then in verses 20 and 21, he already has a new wife and child.
The Torah’s ability to cover so much ground in a short amount of text never ceases to amaze me. What we have here is a major turning point in the life of the next great leader of Israel and a transformation of character. Moshe, running for his life and quite possibly unsure about his identity in living a double life, is able to find a new home and a new community and a chance to reset before going back to free the Israelites.
This speaks to me on a personal level as well. I am amazed at how quickly this semester has flown by and how much we have been able to accomplish as a community. I feel honored to have found a school and a community that has welcomed me and my family and that continues to achieve great things on a daily basis. Our wonderful faculty, staff, and students have worked hard this semester and it is now time for a well deserved break.
Wishing you all and your families a Shabbat Shalom, a Happy New Year, and a restful vacation!