And you shall teach it to your sons

 Educating children:  The survival of G-d's people

The word used in Hebrew for education is chinukh חינוך, which means to initiate and to educate. It also means "inaugurate" like in the case of the inauguration of the Temple. 

Proverbs 22:6  Train , חנך a child in the way he (should) go; and even when old, he will not swerve from it.

Our children are temples that must shelter the treasures of the knowledge of His Word. Like the Temple, nothing soiled must enter, and all that enter must be centered on the Menorah of His Spirit. It is written in Numbers 8:2:

Tell Aharon, ‘When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps are to cast their light forward, in front of the menorah.’”

The six branches of the Menorah represent the six branches of knowledge: Mathematics, Astronomy, Philosophy, Arts, Medicine, and Physics, all of which must face the main branch that represents G-d.  

Herewith we understand that we must preserve our children from all sort of soiling, but also that school teaching must be sanctified and give glory to the Creator. 

In Judaism, there is no separation between sacred and profane. All knowledge comes from G-d and returns to G-d.

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Parents have a very important responsibility concerning their children, they must prepare them to become holy vessels filled up with His knowledge and capable of teaching their own children after them. This is so that the identity of G-d’s people can be conserved, safeguarded, and the young generation can bear fruit. 

There is no greater joy than seeing young people walking in holiness, conscious of having a mission to accomplish, glorifying the Name of G-d on the earth. Even now, Jewish people continue to bless their children with Yaakov's blessing:

Genesis 48:20 Then he added this blessing on them that day: “Isra’el will speak of you in their own blessings by saying, ‘May God make you like Efrayim and M’nasheh.’” Thus he put Efrayim ahead of M’nasheh.

Yossef is the Jewish model of integrity, a symbol of purity which he kept in the midst of the Egyptian depravity, and who taught his sons the same vision. 

We bless our sons on Shabbat evening, to be like Ephraim and M’nasheh, uncorrupted and pure in this generation. 

Our daughters are blessed in Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah, so that they will become like these mothers who invested themselves in the callings of their children, praying for them and teaching them the Fear of G-d. 

Education is a divine right given to the parents; it is the first ministry and duty of each parent toward his child. It is also a priority for the Jewish people to teach the young generations, and it must be a priority for the Kehila (Assembly) as well.

When Yaakov came down to exile in Egypt, he sent Yehuda ahead to prepare a Yeshiva, a Torah learning center. The word used in Hebrew is lehorot, which means "to teach."

Genesis 46:28  Ya‘akov sent Y’hudah ahead of him to Yosef, so that the latter might guide lehorot, להורת him on the road to Goshen; thus they arrived in the land of Goshen.

Teaching in order to prepare the way for the descendants and prevent assimilation was the priority for Yaakov, the Patriarch. 

The Midrash tells that when the children of Israel arrived in Egypt, in order to prevent assimilation, they mutually agreed not to change their Jewish names, to continue speaking Hebrew and not to change their way of dressing!

Romans 12:2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

G-d asks us to teach our children so they will be able to discern between holiness and soiling, in order to shine in the midst of this generation, asserting themselves in their identity and calling. 

May Yaakov's priority be our priority!

Excerpt from Yehouda ben Tema's work, a Jewish erudite of the II century after JC. 

At 5 years old one is fit to read the Bible.

At 10 years for the Mishnah

At 13 for fulfilling the Commandments

At 15 for the Talmud

At 18 for the Chuppah (wedding)

At 20 for pursuing a calling

At 30 for authority

At 40 for discernments

At 50 for counsel

At 60 to be an elder

At 70 for grey hairs

At 80 for strength

At 90 for a bowed back

And at 100 a man is as one who has already passed away and ceased from the world.

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