By the Grace of G‑d

Dear Fourth years,

Tamar and I wish each and every one of you the best of luck tomorrow – we are praying that you match in the best way possible in the field and program that you are hoping for. We wish that wherever you go, you earn the respect of those around you and the inspiration to reach your full potential.

  Many changes in life come slowly, creeping up on us bit by bit until one day we look in the mirror and we recognize what we’ve become. Generally this is because nothing in life is black and white and so, a guitar player goes from amateur to virtuoso without noticing - since, even at the beginning there is music and even at the end there is still room for improvement.

  Match day is certainly a watershed moment for many reasons, but there is one in particular which strikes me, which in a way personifies the often decade-plus pursuit of becoming a doctor.

  Every day and in nearly every act we do there are elements in which we are “looking out for ourselves” and, at the same time, working to help others or for the better good. Even in the noble quest to help others through medicine, much time and effort is focused on achieving high test scores, making a good impression and even the process of absorbing the medical information, although its goal is primarily to help others, is nevertheless a personal endeavor.

  Tomorrow all of this changes. Yes, there will still be tests to be taken and impressions to be made. Yes, there will always be a personal element within the struggle towards excellence. But, from the moment that the envelope is opened and you are contracted to a hospital program, the center of gravity has shifted. You are no longer a student seeking to become a doctor, you are a doctor, a care giver, striving to improve. (albeit a few months shy of the actual degree).

  Very few people have the merit to wake up in the morning and know that lives will improve drastically today because of the work that I do, that tonight, when I go to sleep, there will be parents, wives, children, thanking G‑d for creating me and for the work that I did. Far fewer have dedicated a large portion of their lives to studying, and pledged the rest to practicing, day after day, caring for and looking after the lives of others.

  This selflessness - this generous, extroverted dedication to others is to me the hallmark and definition of a doctor. Tomorrow may be one step in a life-long pursuit, but it is a defining moment in who you are and what you aim to be.

  Best wishes once again for success and a happy and healthy Passover for you and your entire family.


Rabbi Zalman

  For Match Day thoughts from previous years go to

For insights and info re Passover go to

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