Bus rides- a somewhat stressful experience. First, comes the frantic search for my bus card, moving quickly so not to hold up the line of eager year 4s behind me. Next comes the dawning realisation that I have in fact left my bus card at home. Sitting anxiously, sweaty hands and all, I pray that another bus will be the target of the bus manager’s eagle eyes. Yet, despite all these factors, my bus rides are very special. My bus driver, Leo, is one of the nicest people I know. Each day, I am greeted by Leo’s friendly smile and warm good morning. As each person climbs the stairs of the bus, they are met with the same enthusiasm and positivity. Never will Leo understand the impact of his smiles, weekly countdowns to Friday or his reminders to smile. But his compassion lays the foundation every day to what is to be a good day.
Whether it’s a Shrek English analysis, an Animal Farm essay or an exam, unfortunately, tests take place, and you are always in it alone. Regret is usually the main thing going through your mind as you stare at a blank piece of paper and realise that you probably should have watched an edrolo or made some cue cards instead of highlighting aimlessly during class. So the concept of a collaborative test, doesn’t make much sense. Believe it or not, they exist. Just when you thought you were being treated like a real student, and you were finally done with marks out of 8 and endless reflections on how you can improve, VCE throws you a collaborative SAC. What’s the point? How does this benefit your ATAR? Do you share? Should you share?
Last Wednesday, more than 2,000 Jews and non-Jews attended “Wear a Kippah” rallies in Berlin and other German cities. These protests came in the wake of an attack on a non-Jewish man wearing a Kippah. In an act of solidarity, Jews were joined by Christians, Muslims and atheists, many of whom wore kippot. In a protest against anti-semitism, Berlin’s mayor Michael Mueller stated that “Today, we all wear kippot”.
So how does one connect these somewhat convoluted ideas of our stressful collaborative sac, Mia’s incredibly kind bus driver and the events that occurred in Germany? Conveniently, this week we celebrated Lag B’omer, the perfect answer to this question.
During the Omer period we mourn the deaths of 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva who died in a plague because they did not respect each other, namely they displayed sinat chinam, baseless hate. Lag BaOmer is the day on which the plague ended and the dying ceased. The day serves as a reminder of the importance of ahavat chinam, baseless love.
Even in theory, baseless love isn’t the simplest. It’s difficult to expect someone to have the ability to be kind and nice to everyone all the time.
Baseless love is not only holding the door for random people, but is also recognising where we go wrong, and making the active effort to be the best people we can be.
So with this, we will strive to be as consistently kind as Leo, and create a community that is as unified and strong as the one in Germany. Maybe we will even share our answers on the collaborative SAC. Today, we turn to love, to care, to compassion, endlessly, limitlessly. Perhaps we undermine its impact, maybe we do not take the time to realise its potential, Yet, loving, without reason, without limits, is the only solution to its antithesis. To conquer arbitrary hatred, to overcome injustice, to infect the world with smiles, we turn to the most powerful act, love.