The Torah often lists names, without detailing who the people were. However, in the midst of a list of Esau’s descendants, the Torah mentions someone named Anah (Genesis 36:24
): “that was the Anah who discovered Yeimim
in the wilderness...”
is understood to mean different things by different commentators (see Rashi
, for example). Anah’s discovery was so obscure that we don’t even know what it was. Yet the Torah found it important enough to mention.
In our communities, we often focus more on students who come to every event, or our leaders, praising their contributions to the community.
But what about the student who only came to one event? Or the student who helped plan only one program? We need to make sure that student’s contribution to our community doesn’t go unnoticed.
Every student has something to contribute, and every student deserves some recognition for that contribution. Let us learn from the Torah’s treatment of the unknown Anah, and work to strengthen our communities by recognizing each individual contribution.
Vera Wexler is the OU-JLIC Educator at Illini Hillel (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.)