Parashat Tetzaveh opens with the mitzvah of kindling the ner tamid, eternal flame, which will be lit by the priests and is to burn regularly in the portable sanctuary the Israelites take with them on their journey through the desert. (Ex. 27:20-21)
In order for the flame to burn continuously, someone needs to care for the flame and put effort into cultivating it so it does not expire.
The same is true of any relationship. Left alone, untouched, it will eventually burn out. But regular care will ensure that even in the darkest of times, the relationship can have a bright future.
College life, and indeed Jewish life, is all about relationships. As the semester enters into full swing, may we make the time and effort necessary to meaningfully tend to our relationships with students and staff alike, taking part in the sacred work of kindling the relationships with those who bring light to our journey.
Rabbi Leah Fein is Hillel Campus Rabbi at Syracuse Hillel.