As we conclude a rigorous week of midterms and head into our winter break, we end with an amazing message that is found in this week’s Parasha, which was said to the Jewish people by Moshe Rabbenu. After spending countless hours in debate with Pharoah, and discussing options with G-D, Moshe on three occasions in the Parasha instructs the Jewish people to “educate their children”. Sometimes through the grind of everyday, we forget the very purpose of education. Moshe Rabbenu understood that in the mix of it all, while experiencing a mass exodus, the people may not remember the greatest purpose of the redemption - To enter Israel, serve G-D and educate our children about this very story in every generation. So he instructed them to tell the story, and retell the story, and reteach it over and over again.
After seeing all of the students go through panic, and anxiety as they carve away day by day through their long and painful exams, I wonder if they realize that part of Jewish education is an instruction that goes back from the times of Moshe? We may not remember all of the small details of every class. We may forget some of those pesukim, or some of those Talmudic sugyot, but the “big ideas” stick. The idea or the memory of cramming for large exams, to only ask ourselves why? The answer is, because Jewish education is so important, it was one of the few things Moshe emphasized over and over again as he prepared the Jewish nation to embark on an amazing journey. Jewish education is a journey, so when your children ask you why they had to work so hard not only in their Math, Science, English, and History midterms, but also on their Judaic midterms, tell them because Moshe Rabbenu said so (instructions from G-D).
This may not satisfy their question, but at least they should feel comforted to know that Jewish education was on the mind of our greatest leader, as he was preparing the nation for the amazing exodus!
Shabbat Shalom, and a pleasant winter break.
Rabbi Aharon Assaraf
High School Co-Assistant Principal