The Torah portion Vayechi concludes the book of Genesis as Jacob passes away, and though he wants to share with his family that he is about to pass away and the prophecy he has seen, he is unable to. Instead, Jacob gives his blessings to his children and grandchildren with each being is specific to the role they will play in their different tribes.
In our work, we come across so many students with myriad strengths, leadership roles, responsibilities and expectations. As professionals and mentors, it is important for us to be like Jacob – recognize the individual’s potential, and help them see all that they can accomplish. Sometimes we want to share what we know, and impart our wisdom, but the moment or opportunity does not arise, and we must adapt instead. These moments help us refocus our efforts and energy – no two students are alike, and it is our role to meet each student where they are, and help them grow into their strengths and meet their potential, so they in turn can help another. In our work, we must recognize the moments in which we can share our wisdom, and the moments where we must teach students to grow their own.
Nora Greenstein is the program manager and Ezra Fellow for the USC Hillel Foundation.