The Call to Find a Mentor and to Mentor Others
In parashat Pekudei, the Israelites are on a journey to a new life, having escaped the Egyptians, experienced the revelation at Sinai, and completed the building of the Tabernacle. They are now in the wilderness, sometimes unclear about their direction, sometimes filled with fear, and in need of guidance. However, they had mentors to guide them. They had the cloud that indicated the Presence of God, and they had Moses on their side.
Part of my role at The Davidson School is to advise our students and alumni on their professional growth. Because of that role, I see lessons in the parashah that can help guide each of us in our own journeys, when we too may feel we are in the wilderness, unsure of our paths to a new beginning—be it a new job or some other opportunity to learn, to grow, or to thrive.
Moses’s key role leading the Israelites is as guide and mentor to the elders and the Israelite polity. The tribes can’t get to the Promised Land on their own. In our professional and personal lives, we all need support: from current or past supervisors, our teachers, our peers, or other experienced folks in our lives who can be objective and help navigate us towards our goals. Pekudei reminds us that it is not our tradition to go it alone. It should also remind us—as Lori Hunt does in the video above—that we, too, should find opportunities to mentor others.
There is a divine presence in our own journeys, and, as we say as the book of Exodus concludes,Hazak, hazak, venithazek: Be strong. Be strong, and we will be strengthened. May the care provided by those who help us, and that which we provide to others, give us strength to reach our own promised lands.