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I Will Write It In Their Hearts - Volume 1
Letters from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The importance of educating Jewish children

Translated by: Rabbi Eli Touger

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  The importance of establishing Torah schools for girlsTable of contentsGuidance for the activities of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch in Montreal  

No. 72

The printed copy of this letter does not state to whom it was addressed.
B"H, Thursday, 8 Iyar, 5703
Greetings and blessings,

Using cleverness, an allusion could be derived from this week's Torah reading which includes the verse:[1] "Tell the [priests] ... and you shall tell them...." [Noting the redundancy of the verse, our Sages explain that it points to] the obligation of elders [to educate] the youth.

Our Sages (Yevamos 114a) comment that the Torah mentions the obligation incumbent upon the elders (in knowledge) [to educate] the youth (in knowledge] in three contexts:

  1. [the prohibition against partaking of] blood: The Jews were saturated with [partaking of] blood (as Rabbi Yuda states in the Sifri, quoted by Rashi in his commentary to Devarim 12:23). Nevertheless, a person should not ask: Since [those whom I am trying to educate] are sunk in the desires of their hearts, of what avail will my efforts be to give them a good education?

  2. [the prohibition against partaking of] shekatzim (small crawling animals): A person who partakes of these does so solely to anger his Creator (Horios 11a), for even he is disgusted by them. And so a person might think: What hope is there in speaking to him?

  3. the priests' obligation [to observe] ritual purity: The concepts of ritual purity and impurity are not able to be explained within [the scope of] intellect (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, the conclusion of Hilchos Mikvaos). Moreover, the subject is relevant only to priests who were chosen to stand before G-d. Therefore an educator may think: "How is it possible for me to explain these matters?" And particularly, there is the possibility that the listener will reply: "I will be like all the gentiles.[2] I don't want to be part of "a nation of priests, a holy people."[3]

Therefore in these instances, the Torah commanded us [regarding education], so that a person should not despair. On the contrary, we are commanded to try to do whatever is possible on behalf of every member of the Jewish people, [endeavoring] to set him up on the path of truth and arouse the Jewish spark within him.

In particular, this applies with regard to actual children, for they are like clay in the hands of those who educate them.

With the blessing "Immediately to teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,"

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) [Vayikra 21:1.]

  2. (Back to text) [Cf. Yechezkel 25:9.]

  3. (Back to text) [Cf. Shmos 19:6.]


  The importance of establishing Torah schools for girlsTable of contentsGuidance for the activities of Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch in Montreal  


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