By the Grace of G‑d

Dear friends,

You have spent the last four to seven years giving your all. You have not just accumulated information, you have developed a persona. Tamar and I eagerly wait with you to hear today's news. We hope for, and we know you truly deserve, great news.

This week's lesson from the Torah portion describes how our ancestors also eagerly awaited a missive. The format in which it came, and the manner in which it was earned, is very telling for today's occasion.

The missive described in this week's Torah portion, is the Ten Commandments. The Mandate Within, like the mission in yours, was not painted with ink, but rather etched into the very being of the Stone, much like your medical pursuit is neither a career nor a quest, but rather it has become ingrained into who you are.

Today, as you stand here prepared to accept your mandate, there is another lesson we learn this week, one that instructs us how to achieve this thorough embodiment.

In an extracurricular placement, we learn this week of the special service of the red heifer. What is pertinent to us is not how rare or exotic the heifer was, but rather an element of the service: To prepare the red heifer for use it was necessary to use both fire and water.

As with the service of the red heifer, I hope that your preparations and inspiration for medicine are not mundane. Rather, like the fire represents, that your intent and effort are selflessly directed to, and focused on, loftier, unifying, ideals.

Knowing you, both that stage, and the next, come naturally. Because we learn from the red heifer that emulating fire with supernal ideals is not enough. We must also emulate water.

Water will constantly flow downward. No matter how lofty your ideals, you have proven over the last few years, and I hope this defines the Mandate you receive today: your mission and your goals must encompass the individuality, the culture and the detailed nature of those that you are here to help.

With warm wishes for a match in a program that will bring out the very best of your potential, a team that truly appreciates you, and one which you truly respect.

Warmly yours,

Rabbi Zalman