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Sculptures and failures

פרופ' אבי לוי, הרב יוני לביא וסיון רהב מאיר

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

Last night, with the school year just around the corner, I hosted a panel discussion at Sha'anan College, an academy for the training of religious teachers, in Haifa. Here are two thoughts raised by the college president, Professor Avi Levi.

"The Renaissance artist and sculptor Michelangelo once said regarding his work: 'I see the sculpture embedded in the stone. It's already there. I merely set it free.' Actually, this is the essence of education, and the essence of the month of Elul: Phenomenal potential is hidden there, even if all we see is a coarse block of stone. We need only chisel away in order to uncover the beauty inside and allow it to be revealed."

When I asked him what advice he would give to the next generation of teachers in Israel, Professor Levi gave advice that is appropriate for all of us:

"Our culture looks down on failure as if it must be avoided at all costs. I think that we need to know, at the outset, that we are going to fail. The biggest failure is to ignore failure. My approach is that failure guides me. Every day I ask myself what went wrong and how can I grow from that failure tomorrow. We have a tendency to ignore, to repress, and to cover up our mistakes. but as I said -- this is our greatest failure. Every failure can be a turning point and, b'ezrat Hashem, in the merit of our failures from 5782, 5783 will be a much more successful year."


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