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Community Blog Commencement 2024:
Closing Prayer

By Rafi Ellenson
Rafi Ellenson

The book of job asks:
Ve’hachochma–me’ayin timatzeh?
V’ei zeh mikom binah?

Wisdom — where can it be found?
And understanding — what is its source?

A life of learning is built upon these questions and this quest. It is built on the never-ending search for knowledge, the desire to use it constructively, and the gestation from the initial spark of wisdom — chochmah — to the fuller-fleshed out gift of understanding — binah. Over your respective experiences at Hebrew College, you have been confronted with new ways of thinking, fresh perspectives, and unique challenges. Throughout these years, questions have persisted — just as they should and just as they will long after you leave this institution.

The Book of Job answers its own questions just a few p’sukim down:

Hen yirat adonai – hee chochma!
V’sur mi-rah binah!

Being in awe of god — this is wisdom!
And shunning evil — that is understanding!

My b’racha for you, this graduating class, is that in all the answers you seek you find two common denominators. In all your searches may you find awe of god and may you always swerve towards that which is just.

I bless you that you will live your life aware and awake to the possibility of godliness and the divine in all moments, in all people, in the music you hear and make, in texts both holy and mundane.

I bless you with an acute ability to celebrate peace and justice in this world and to enact it. To see the problems that are rampant on scales both micro and macroscopic and feel empowered to use that which you have learned at Hebrew College to bring forth goodness into this world.

And I bless us all to merit the beautiful and singular gifts of this graduating class.

And let us say: amen.


Rafi Ellenson is a student in the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College.

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