The Middat HaShavuah, taken from this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, instructs us to ask others to join us when we are doing important things. The verse reads as follows:

וַֽיִּקְרְבוּ֙ כׇּל־הָ֣עֵדָ֔ה וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ לִפְנֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה׃…

…and the entire community came near and stood before the presence of HaShem (Leviticus 9:5)

When we ask others to join us when we are doing important things, many wonderful outcomes can take place. For one, engaging in important activities together can strengthen bonds between individuals, whether they are colleagues, friends, or family members. Shared goals and challenges can lead to deeper understanding and trust. Secondly, participating in significant tasks together can create a sense of belonging and community. Individuals feel valued and part of something larger than themselves, which can be incredibly fulfilling. Finally, collaboration often leads to better results. With multiple people sharing ideas, solving problems, and providing different perspectives, the final outcome is typically more comprehensive and robust than what one person could achieve alone.

This week’s Middah lies at the core of our mission at The Toronto Heschel School. Our integrative, hands-on, and project-based learning approach is designed to cultivate relationships, nurture a vibrant sense of community, and foster collaboration, all of which invariably lead to better outcomes. These principles not only represent the most effective methods of learning but also instill crucial life skills that students carry with them into the future.

Moreover, these values are deeply intertwined with Jewish tradition. As I often remind our students, “You can’t be Jewish alone.” Being Jewish is about active participation in a rich and interconnected community. Whether it’s joining a Minyan for prayer or partaking in holiday celebrations, our tradition underscores the importance of engaging with others in significant endeavours.

Throughout history, being Jewish has meant embracing the imperative to invite others to join us in meaningful pursuits. The idea of inclusivity and collaboration continues to shape our identity and guide our endeavours at The Toronto Heschel School.

When we invite others to join us, we can achieve so much more. We become stronger and more resilient, united by a shared vision and purpose. Together, we amplify our impact, overcome obstacles, and inspire meaningful change. When we invite others to join us, we have the power to transform lives, uplift communities, and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach,

Moreh Alan