This week has seen the beginning of another school year. Hasmonean is again bursting with students and there is a positive energy in the corridors. Staff and students, refreshed from a summer break, enthusiastically embark on a new school year.
But new beginnings come with challenges. Picture the fresh-faced student with his or her new pencil case, nervous anticipation, hope and desire for a successful year. How long will that last? It doesn’t take long for the pencil case to lose its shine.
When we wrap the tefillin straps around our hand we say the beautiful words from Hoshea: v’erastich li l’oilam – and I will betroth you to Me forever.
Rav Pam asks why use the word v’erastich, which is from the word erusin? In any marriage, there are two stages, erusin and nissuin. Erusin is more akin to a short-term engagement whereas nissuin is the long-term marriage. Would it not be more appropriate to use the word nissuin to express our everlasting connection to Hashem? After all, we say it is l’oilam – forever!
Rav Pam explains that in any relationship, the challenge is to maintain the initial excitement. Our hope is that we will not only bind ourselves to Hashem forever, but that the freshness of that relationship should not fade.
This is also the intention of the words we have begun saying in L’Dovid: “shivti b’veis Hashem … u’lvaker b’heicholo”. Permanence coupled with the excitement of the new.
Wishing all of our students a successful, happy and healthy year ahead, full of enduring enthusiasm and exuberance.