Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Millions of students are receiving mid-year report cards at this time. Along with their report cards, Irit Levy, principal of a religious girls' high school, included an important message to her students which is relevant to all of us:
"The journey from Egypt to the Land of Israel begins in the Torah portions we are now reading. God intentionally takes us by a circuitous and difficult route. Why should we have to make such a long detour? Why not go directly to our destination? The Rambam answers this question in the Guide for the Perplexed as follows: "Ease destroys bravery, while hard work engenders strength." In other words, divine wisdom comes to teach us that in our journey through life there are no shortcuts. In order to grow, we need to exert ourselves through a process that demands strenuous effort.
We tend to soften the lives of students, to allow them to relax since the students themselves want everything to be fun and assignments to be simple and quickly done. But the truth that must be said -- however unpleasant it might be -- is that in order to achieve something of value, we need to sweat. Only in this way do we rise to greater heights.
Mid-year report cards are a gift. Students are saddened by low grades. However, low grades are not a reason to despair since they demonstrate that the schoolwork is challenging, that the teachers do not just hand out compliments indiscriminately, that the learning process is a serious matter. It can be a life changing insight to discover that, instead of searching for an easy way out, it is better to search for a way to advance no matter how arduous the process. Only in this way did we finally reach the Promised Land."
May all students in Israel enjoy much success.