Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein
Good Morning! If you search online to see what official festivals or events occur in the month of January, you will find a surprisingly long list, from two Christian New Years, Chinese New Year, a minor Jewish festival and National Blood Donor Month among very many more. This 2014 January, I discovered a new one was proclaimed.
"I, Barak Obama, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 2014 as National Mentoring Month!"
He went on to write, "Mentors help children build confidence, gain knowledge, and develop the strength of character to succeed inside and outside of the classroom. They are relatives, teachers, coaches, ministers, and neighbours."
There is a Jewish teaching which says, "When you teach someone when they are young, it is like writing on a clean, new sheet of paper." If you help someone when they are young, you have helped them for life. And the most important thing you will ever have to learn about and master is learning about yourself.
And as no one sees themselves clearly, we all need a mentor whom we can turn to and discover how to maximise the potential we have and sometimes to tell us when we have made mistakes and how to put them right.
In all of the things I ever teach my students I always tell them the most important thing of all is the Jewish teaching, which says, "Get yourself a Mentor." Almighty help us find a guide like that... not just for January or even throughout the year, but throughout our entire lives.