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Parshas Pinchas: How to educate our children

“And to the children of Israel you shal speak, saying ‘If a man will die and he has no son, you shall cause his inheritance to pass over to his daughter” (Numbers 27:8).

The Talmud Bava Batra 116a explains this verse to mean that if a person doesn’t have a son to inherit  he brings about G-d’s anger. Not only that but they will lose their inheritance as well! How can a person be punished if he doesn’t have a son since this is not in their control!

Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit’a in Ta’am Da’as explains that word l’yorshav (his inheritance) does not mean that he will lose his physical inheritance ie money or property but rather it means if he doesn’t leave over the proper path for his children to go in.  There is an obligation for a parent to give his children the best spiritual education possible so that they will go in the path of their forefathers.

For generations in America and other places, parents have given their children a basic Jewish education to fulfill their obligation. The problem is that the people teaching their children do not believe in the Torah and its precepts and what is given over is a very diluted version! The end result is rampant assimilation and intermarriage. Wouldn’t this bring about G-d’s ire? After all, if He gave us instructions for living, how could we possibly give it lip service?

At the same time, the older generation had a strong connection to Judaism through their parents and grand parents and wanted their children to also have these strong feelings as well. The problem is that it is impossible to pass down a feeling! A Judaism without Torah and mitzvos is like having a body without a soul. It is the heart of what Judaism is all about and through lack of education and understanding we are losing thousands each year!

That being the case what can we do about it? We have an obligation to try and reach out and bring back our wayward brethren by showing the meaning and richness of our heritage. This has nothing to do with kabbalah but we can show its depth and understanding that gives us more reason of why we do what we do. At the end of the day, all the commandments are a decree by G-d, but the more we learn and practice what we are being taught, won’t that give Judaism a fair chance to survive?

This is what the verse here is telling us. We need to give our kids the best chance to succeed spiritually and connect to their priceless heritage. The only to do so is by giving them a quality Jewish education. Although there is no guarantee even with the best education that they will continue on that path but if settle for mediocrity at best then there is no chance at all!

May we merit to educate our children and ourselves to the best of our ability so we can see a continuation to future generations of Jews who follow their tradition!

Shabbat Shalom

About the Author RabbiChaimCoffman