Imagine being allowed to study without a significant outcome required. For so many educators, allowing ourselves the time to partake in Torah Lishmah, learning Torah for its own sake, is difficult at best. Focusing on our own learning, especially when our calendars are already full, tends to go by the wayside.
Nonetheless, I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend the last 18 months as part of a cohort of educators that met and studied to gain knowledge and understanding without the pressure of how it was being utilized for work. M²: The Institute for Experiential Jewish Education provides educators with compelling experiences that help each learner find meaning and relevance within the text. Utilizing texts from the Torah, Talmud, and Midrash to comprehend the deeper level of the core values that we hold close, we looked at the tension within each value and increased our awareness of how to experience Jewish values in action.
The Sages believed that the mitzvah of learning Torah is equal to all of the other mitzvot. Allowing ourselves the sacred time to learn is truly holy work. Modeling lifelong learning for our students is important; so they, too, will continue learning throughout their lives.
As we head into the new school year, I hope that we allow ourselves the precious time to learn.
Alissa Zuchman, PhD