In Parashat Tetzaveh, God commands Moses to appoint Aaron and his sons as priests. God goes into extreme detail about the kinds of adornments that the priests should wear, which thread, stones, and metals to use, and how to honor each son of Israel by engraving their names next to corresponding precious stones. By the end of this section of the parsha, we have a beautiful, striking image in our minds of what these priests must have looked like. When I imagine them, I imagine them shining and proud. It goes on to describe the steps of the twice-daily sacrifices that will be made to God, describing what to do with the blood, how cuts should be made, and how to burn the offerings. Once again, the tasks are presented in great detail.
What if we treated student leaders this way? What if before we even explained the work to be done, we honored them “for dignity and adornment?” What would it look like for student leaders to first feel how truly special and important they are before they even begin the work of their roles? I’d like to see student leaders stepping into their roles, shining and proud. Only then can we task them with the essential work they do for the Hillel community. We must first adorn our students with all of the gems that Judaism has to offer them, and teach students how to honor and respect themselves, so they can serve the Jewish community with pride and vigor.
Lauren Fine, Director of Student Leadership, North Carolina Hillel