Life is a series of graduations that move us forward


We all graduate in life. Whenever we learn a life lesson, we graduate to the next level. It may sometimes seem like we fall back when we learn a lesson, but the lesson is a graduation that moves us forward to the next step.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg, in his article “Jewish Secrets of Success,” on, states, “We are born into a particular set of circumstances, as determined by God. We only have control over the effort that we exert. How we deal with our particular circumstances determines whether we are a success. Where we stand on the ladder is less important than how many rungs we’ve climbed.” 

The analogy to the ladder resonated for me because I feel graduation means acceptance of my qualitative work, not just my quantitative accomplishments.  I spoke to a wonderful rabbi in our community recently who reminded me that my external accomplishments are part of why I am graduating to the next level, but not all of it.

He pointed out that I talked a lot about numbers in our discussion and in doing so I could be missing my inner achievements of doing service, changing lives and making a true difference. I sometimes brush this aside and only count the tangible parts of success.

So, for graduates on all levels, I think we all need to look at how we serve others, the community and ha-Shem. I am speaking to myself here as well.

Rabbi Tsafi Lev, student director of the West Coast CLAL Rabbis Without Borders, wrote an article on titled “What IT Means to Graduate.”

“Dear Graduate, make this day count. Shift your focus from what you have done to what you can now accomplish because you are graduating. See today as a wonderful step toward finding your own unique path towards a lasting and positive contribution to humankind,” he wrote.

“Life is a wonderful journey of many graduations – resist looking back as if on a plateau because if you do, you’ll be disappointed that there is still so much to climb. Instead, look up and past this moment, far past it if you can, and you will see far ahead of you.”

In my radio interview with Robbie Holz, the author of “Aboriginal Secrets of Awakening,” he said, “The Aborigines don’t look behind, they look forward and focus on where they are going.”

We graduate every time we learn a lesson and move on in a forward and positive direction. 

Happy graduation, everyone!

PATRICIA RASKIN hosts “The Patricia Raskin Show” on Saturdays at 4 p.m. on WPRO, 630 AM/99.7 FM. Raskin is a board member of Providence’s Temple Emanu-El.