We are overjoyed and filled with nachat—with deep satisfaction and pride—as we look toward the graduation and ordination of our students this Sunday, June 3, at Hebrew College.
As our graduates stand on the threshold of becoming rabbis and cantors, teachers and mentors—spiritual, educational, and communal leaders serving the Jewish people and the world—they do so in the light of the menorah that shines from this week’s Torah portion, B’ha’alotecha.
The menorah—or seven-branched lampstand—was to be kept lit at all times in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. Eventually, this light came to be known as the Ner Tamid, or perpetual light. Writing about the Ner Tamid, the Itture Torah says:
“Every person must light the Ner Tamid in her heart, and not only in the Tabernacle or the Tent, that is, in the synagogue or the school. She must light it “outside the curtain”—in street and marketplace, in profane activities, in all matters relating her to her fellow human beings. The word “ner” can be understood as an acrostic for nefesh ruach, a soul with spirit. This is the lamp we must light regularly.”
To our esteemed graduates: Wherever your journeys take you, may each of you continue to tend carefully to the light of your own ner tamid—in order that you may tend to the lights of others with integrity, clarity, and vision. May you each continue to be “a soul with spirit,” and may all who know you and learn from you be warmed by your light.
To our friends and colleagues near and far: If you are in the Boston area this Sunday, June 3, please join us in an inspiring day of celebration as we gather for morning Commencement exercises and afternoon ordination ceremonies. The complete schedule is on our Commencement website.
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld if President-Elect of Hebrew College.