Eikev 5776 – Education

This week’s Parsha contains the second paragraph of Shema which discusses reward and punishment, acceptance of Mitzvos and learning Torah, wearing Tefillin and putting Mezuzos on our doorposts. When describing studying Torah, it states, “V’limadetem osam-And you shall teach them, L’vneichem-to your sons, L’daber bam-to speak them (words of Torah), B’shivtecha b’veisecha u’velechtecha va’derech-when you sit in your house and when you go on the road, U’veshachvacha U’vkumecha and when you sleep and when you awaken.” This implies that we should always be learning in every situation we find ourselves.

There is an obvious question. Why does it say to teach them to speak Torah when you sit in your house and when you go on the road? Isn’t the point to teach them to speak of Torah when they sit in their house and when they go on the road?

The Torah is teaching us a fundamental principle of Chinuch-education. When a parent wants to teach a child how to serve Hashem and to act morally and ethically, it isn’t enough to preach at them. As the expression goes, “You have to walk the walk and talk the talk!” The only way for children to absorb values is to observe their role models practicing them. When the Vilna Gaon was asked how a Rebbe could influence his students he replied,”It is as if there is a large vessel surrounded by many smaller vessels. When the large vessel is filled and overflows, the surrounding vessels are also filled. When children see their parents or teachers overflowing with love of Torah and fear of Heaven they will naturally be influenced as well.

When a Rosh Yeshiva was being hosted by his friend, a wealthy businessman (who was making a parlor meeting on his behalf), he observed his friend learning in his study. The Rosh Yeshiva told him, “I have one “complaint.” Why don’t you leave your study door open in order that your children will see and hear you learning?”

This is what the Torah is teaching us. In order for your children to realize the value of Torah study, they have to see you occupied in Torah when you sit at home are are out on the road! This is the only way to teach them to be constantly occupied in Torah. When they see that you value and love Torah. This applies to any good Middah that a person would like to teach his child. A child knows when he is being told, “Do as I say and not as I do!” This never works. The only way is to serve as a positive role model. Then the child absorbs it by osmosis.

By Rabbi Sharaga Thav
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