Dear friends.

Tamar and I wish for and anticipate each of you matching in the very best program which you will not only love, but which will also accord you the fullest respect and bring out your full potential.

It is a true privilege to work here with all of you and it is humbling to see your dedication, selflessness and your passion to make a difference in the lives of others.

There is a lesson in this week’s Torah portion which seems to express your collective character, especially as it is seen on match day. Many assume that the offerings on the alter in the holy temple were a gift or a sacrifice - give something away to show devotion. The greater the item, the greater the sacrifice, the nobler the gift the deeper the impact. The Talmud, elucidating a verse read this week, seems to differ. The Talmud, explaining the implication of a seemingly redundant word: “offering”, teaches us that the ‘accessory’ offerings; wine, flour and oil may also be given as a stand-alone offering. Interestingly, the Talmud also adds in the list of possible stand-alone offerings: wood. 

This is strange. Wood certainly has its place on the altar, but we do not find it listed elsewhere as a part of another offering. The reasoning to deduce that oil, wine or flour could be brought on their own is clear, but what logic did the Talmud employ to understand that wood is also an option?

Each item on the alter had a title, a role, a distinction – except the wood. The wood was entirely consumed in the flames and entirely, only, to impact others. Its role consisted of facilitating the offerings heaped above it. Had the Talmud seen the offering as a gift, as an element of prestige, the wood would have no place. As a facilitator of our expression of humility however, wood is the ultimate.

There are some that see medicine as a career - the greater the title the more successful the bearer, the larger the office the grander the prestige.

You all believe otherwise and match day is the best example of that. Today you stand as the ultimate doctor. Today you show and feel that it’s not who you are, where you live, and for many not even what you do, but simply that you are ready to serve.

Tamar and I have seen as you personify the wood in its role on the altar. You give your all, not for a title, credit or even for yourselves. This is the essence of a doctor and we hope that long after you settle in the role and the career that you will ultimately lead, that you will remember this feeling and always let this ideal show.

With warmth and affection,

Zalman and Tamar Teitelbaum