I taught Torah for the first time when I became a bat mitzvah. At the end of my d’var torah, I sang to my congregation, blessing them with the priestly blessing from my parsha (Num. 6:24-26).
In college, I had the chance to come back to Parashat Naso at a Shabbat service. Although I felt nostalgic about re-teaching this parasha, I also acknowledged feeling distant from Torah. I longed for text skills and deeper learning.
Now, as I again teach Naso, I feel the change and growth in my reading. Now, I am a rabbinical student. I read into the intricacies of words and grammar. I find parallels with other Jewish teachings.
In the context of Hillel, what most strikes me is the process of my cycling back to Torah – how different the words feel in my mouth and how forgiving my relationship with Torah has been.
My blessing is that we have the courage to invite college students into this evolving, malleable, and hopefully gentle relationship with Torah.
Becca Richman was Rabbinic Intern and Reconstructionist Resource Person with the Brandeis Reconstructionist Organization (BRO).