In a moment of intense, hallowed energy, a voice echoed through the Sinai mountains. It began, “I am the Lord your God...” and concluded with “all that is your neighbor’s.”
The Torah’s ten essential guidelines that address our place in the world are bookended by the self (anokhi) and the other (re’ekha).
On a daily basis, we challenge ourselves and our students to consider the existential WHO AM I? and the social WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? What a blessing! To be tasked with the responsibility of compassion and respect for others, even as we continue our individual searches for truth and meaning.
As we celebrate Tu Bishvat this week, let us mirror our natural environment by finding strength and space to nourish personal growth, while cultivating circles of responsibility. May we find balance in our rooted knowledge, and may we continue to enrich one another on our journeys of self-discovery, social awareness, and everything in between.
Ira Blum is Director of Jewish Student Life at Penn Hillel.
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