The great Sage Hillel was referred to as Hillel HaGadol (Hillel the Great) because of his status
and wisdom. He spent much of his life engaged in study and was one of the great leaders of
the Jewish people. Many of his teachings have been preserved in the Talmud.
In Pirkei Avot 1:14, Hillel teaches, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only
for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” This quote brilliantly reminds each of us of
what we too often forget in our day-to-day existence. It demonstrates the importance of
doing for others, taking care of ourselves, and that one doesn’t have the luxury to wait until
tomorrow for what needs to happen now.
As we begin this new school year, here are a few things to get us all started on those first days
with our students. It is the small things that help the school year start out right.
Alissa C. Zuchman, Ph.D.