This special day has arrived again: Sept. 1. Once again, we begin to feel the pleasant coolness of the Hebrew month of Elul. The notebooks are back in the backpacks and the books rustle in their new wraps.

This year, like every other year, every other generation, all who enter our educational institutions hold in their hearts the hope and promise to do their best. To study hard, invest in assignments and, of course, excel in all subjects.

It is no coincidence that the beginning of the school year coincides with the month of mercy and forgiveness ahead of the new Hebrew year. These are times of soul-searching. A time of reflection on the past and excited anticipation for the future. At this time, we leave behind our bad habits and take it upon ourselves to develop good and proper ones.

To the dear students of Israel who read these lines, I want to tell you a secret. A school year is not a sprint, but a marathon. You should plan for the long term and be ready to work hard and renew the promise of excellence every day, every morning.

Don’t get discouraged. There is no other way, for this is how you reap the fruits of success and practice. You need to plow the land of reading and writing with all the pulsating and well-known spirit of initiative and what is known as Israeli chutzpah. Sometimes, we forget that this legacy of hard work that leads to excellence is an Israeli legacy.

After all, this was the spirit of the people who founded our country with diligence and hard work, and it is being built generation by generation. And just like back then, so too today, in order to be able to deal with the unusual challenges ahead of us, we simply have to be the best. A step ahead of everyone.

This is what I wish and ask of all the schoolchildren in Israel, and in fact, of all of us: That the legacy of Israeli excellence lead us in every field and sphere. May we commit to doing our best this year and implement it on Sept. 1 and every following day.

May this be a good, educational, enriching, sweet and successful year!

Isaac Herzog is the president of Israel.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.


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