By Sima Alhadeff - Class of 2017
One of my students recently asked me, “If someone asked you to define a Mitzvah, what would you tell them?”
“Literally translated, a Mitzvah is a commandment,” I responded.
“And if they asked: why do you keep the commandments?”
I would answer, “The root of the word Mitzvah is Tzav which is a connector. The mitzvot are connectors. They bring me close to Hashem and help me perfect my character. I keep the Mitzvot because Hashem told me to and because they bring me closer to Him. In fact, six Mitzvot apply to any person at all times.”
My student appreciated the answer. And as I reflected a little, I was grateful for the educational path that prepared me to answer that question.
Last year, I was blessed with the ability to study in Israel, in a seminary called Me’ohr Bais Yaakov. While there, I had the privilege of learning a Sefer (Jewish book), The 6 Constant Mitzvos by Rabbi Heimowitz, with the author.
The first of the six Mitzvot is the Mitzvah of Emunah. Belief in G-d. Knowledge of His existence. An understanding so profound that it impacts your thoughts and behavior. “I am the Lord your G-d who took you out of the land of Egypt” (Shemot 20:2). This is the first of the Ten Commandments. It is the foundation of our faith.
It seemed so obvious to me that religious high school girls would have learned about Emunah. I certainly did. We had classes about it. Sitting around conference tables, we discussed these ideas informally, and without judgment.
My friends and I were respected and accepted. All questions were welcomed as we learned about this central outlook. And yet, as I sat there in seminary, with students from all over the country, it became clear that for some girls, it was their first exposure to this concept.
It was then that I started to gain a deeper appreciation for Derech Emunah, my high school. It literally gave me the path of faith. My teachers were dedicated to instilling within the girls of the Seattle community knowledge of their Creator so that they could conquer the world, prepared and confident, with Him by their side..
Graduating Class of 2017
I am currently living in Dallas, TX and interning at Mesorah High School. I teach 9th and 10th graders in the morning and am there hanging out with the girls in the afternoon. And evening. And night. And I love it.
Below: Sima Alhadeff surrounded by her students at a Retts Syndrome Stroll-a-thon, in support of a local child and her family.