By Mrs. Sara Munk
I have always been taught that the Torah only shares with us exactly what we need to know. There are no extra details and no missing information. Whatever may seem extra or may appear missing always has a reason and a lesson to impart.
In this week’s parashah, we learn about Hashem’s commandment to Avraham to journey to an unknown land. Seemingly, Avraham has been chosen by G-d to form the roots of what became Am Yisrael. What we don’t know, however, is why he was chosen. If we are trying to learn from these past historically great figures, what did Avraham do to be chosen? And why did the Torah feel the need to leave it out?
There are a number of midrashim that attempt to answer the first question. The common theme in these midrashim is that G-d did not choose Avraham; rather, Avraham chose G-d. He came to a realization of monotheism on his own by contemplating how the world really works. Avraham understood that it was impossible for a man of flesh and blood or for an idol to operate the world in the way that he knew it.
Yet the second question remains. Why did the Torah leave out this information? Rav Alex Israel explains that had the Torah been specific about how Avraham became the “chosen one,” we may mistakenly believe that it is precisely his way that needs to be followed. We may find ourselves bound to follow his path step by step, detail by detail. I can only imagine the disappointment by countless individuals who could not replicate exactly what Avraham was able to do. There are many ways to connect to G-d. There are many ways to achieve greatness. The lesson of “why Avraham” is to find G-d and achieve greatness your way.
In the world of education, it would be catastrophic for students to feel there is only one way to succeed. It would be devastating for those who could not live up to that one way and would leave countless young minds feeling like disappointments. I think about Rebbe Akiva, who did not learn even one word of Torah before the age of 40. I think about Michael Jordan, l’havdil, who famously did not make his high school basketball team in ninth grade. I think about my father, who despite not growing up as a frum Jew, was able to participate in the Siyum HaShas in 2005. I think about the many students I have taught in my life who found their path “later,” or who discovered their strengths and the way to maximize them in a different way than their peers.
At Shulamith High School, we pride ourselves on looking at each student as an individual, on understanding that each young woman will achieve success in different ways and will find her connection to G-d in a way that speaks to her. We have embarked on a mission to create an environment where each Shulamith student is met on her spiritual level and is given all the tools necessary to take her spirituality to heights beyond anyone’s expectations.
Mrs. Sara Munk, principal at Shulamith High School, is a creative and dynamic educator who brings to her position 15 years of high school education experience and a passion for learning and teaching.