Parshat Beshalach tells the story of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. Along with this parsha comes one of the most famous midrashim (rabbinic stories about the Torah), that of Nachshon. Before God splits the sea, the story goes that Nachshon stepped into the sea, having full faith that God would save him, until the water hit his nose and the sea miraculously split, letting the Israelites escape. Nachshon was an initiator and instigator - a leader.
As college students, we are on a path, albeit different for each of us. College is an opportunity to lead, not only in our clubs, Hillels, or classes but also for us to lead ourselves down the path to our future. Your future is in your hands and no one else's. Be the first to jump in. Let the water tickle your nose. Build something on the other side. Leading isn’t the size of your footsteps, but rather that moment right before, when you make the decision to lift your foot.
For the rest of our lives we will be presented with daunting seas and we will need the internal faith that we can step in and continue to follow our path. It can be scary, but start walking down the path knowing that the seas will part. Your Hillel community will always hold up those waters for you.
Rachel Marcus was the 2017 Student President at Berkeley Hillel