What's the Big Deal?

Friday, 21 May, 2021 - 5:05 pm


Today we’re throwing a big birthday bash - for a fairly young birthday boy; Meir turns three today, so we’re making a big celebration out of it. But why make such a big deal out of turning three? Aren’t there more important things to do than inviting everyone to join a three year old’s birthday party?

Turns out that age three in Jewish tradition is pretty important, in fact that is when the parents’ obligation to educate their child begins.
In other words, age three is not just a simple age; rather it’s the age that a Jewish child begins the process of becoming a link in the illustrious, millennia long, chain of Jewish tradition.
Jewish education is not as much about teaching information - it’s about providing a firm foundation for life. Today many people view education as teaching information; 1+1=2, ABC, etc.

To clarify: Information helps us understand the difference between a cat and a comma; a cat has claws at the end of its paws but a comma is a pause at the end of a clause. Admittedly useful information - but so secondary to the grand scheme of things.
The most important aspect of education is teaching children about G-d, Torah, absolute moral values and the precious-ness and significance of life. The fact that no matter their family or national origin, their life is significant - and they have a responsibility to their creator - and all humanity - to live up to the potential for which they were created.
It’s never too late to learn information but there is no second chance to provide a child with true foundational education.
(Witnessing the fallacies and moral confusion recently expressed by so many in reaction to events in Israel underscores how downright crucial real education is.)
“But you have to let children discover their own path,” come the complaints. Yes, within a proper foundation, within the correct context. If children are not provided with a firm G-dly and absolute moral values-based foundation, they end up adrift in the sea of life with no means of getting ashore.
When we provide children with a proper education - not just information - this provides them the tools to make proper choices and succeed wherever life leads them.
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