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Send Your Child to "The World to Come"
by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon
We have now reached the campaign of Mivtza Chinuch.

This Mitzva is based on the pasuk in the Torah "And you shall teach the Torah to your children, and you should speak about it when you are home and when you travel, before you lie down to sleep and when you wake up." (Deuteronomy. 6:7) Another source in the Torah regarding education of Jewish children is the verse from Mishlei (22:6): "Educate the child in accordance with his way, so that also when he grows old he will not depart from it".

In 5736, The Rebbe announced that the year was to be called "A Year of Education", and the Rebbe initiated "Mivtza Chinuch". The Rebbe wanted for people in general to have proper, moral education, but the Rebbe particularly desires that every Jewish child should have a Torah education. The Rebbe stressed that education of our children must start even before they are born, because a fetus is effected by the spiritual state of its parents and surroundings even before birth.

The following story about Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad, will clearly illustrate the spirit of this mivtza.

Rabbi Schneur Zalman had a son, Rabbi Dov Ber, who was known for his remarkable abilities of concentration. Usually, while praying or studying, he did not notice anything around him.

One day, Rabbi Dov Ber was studying while his infant son slept in a nearby cradle. The baby woke up, fell out of the cradle and began to cry. Rabbi Dov Ber heard nothing. Rabbi Schneur Zalman, on an upper floor studying, heard the cry of the child, though. He interrupted his studies, came downstairs, picked up the child and soothed him until he was calm. All the while, his son noticed nothing.

Later on, Rabbi Schneur Zalman reprimanded his son, saying, "No matter how important a matter a person is busy with, he must always hear the cry of a child."

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, endangered his own life and the life of his Chassidim to keep the Torah education system alive in the former U.S.S.R. He said that while there may not be any Halachik requirement to "give away one’s life" for education, he explained that "If there are no young goats, there will be no old goats.” The existence of the Jewish people is dependent upon the education of its youth.

He authored the book entitled Klalei Chinuch Vehadracha: Guidelines in Education (Sefer HaSichos 5703). When he arrived in America, he founded "Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch" to promote authentic Torah education in America.

The importance of this inyan is very great!

Chazal teach that one must respect his Torah teacher even more than his parents, for parents bring children into this physical world, while teachers, through teaching Torah, bring children to the World to Come!

When the Torah tells us that we are commanded to “Be fruitful and multiply”, this directive includes teaching other Jewish people about Torah and Mitzvos. Chazal say (Sanhedrin 19b), that if someone teaches his friend's child Torah, "it's as if he gave birth to him," as it is written (Numbers 3:1): "These are the offspring of Aaron and Moses... " The Talmud points out that the verses which follow only list the sons of Aaron, yet the Torah calls them the "offspring" of both Moses and Aaron! This is because Moses taught them Torah, and through his teaching, states the Talmud, he became their spiritual
parent.

Another example of this same concept is the following statement (Sanhedrin 99b): "Whoever teaches his friend's child Torah, it's as if he made him", as it is written concerning the disciples of Abraham and Sarah: “the souls they made in Haran” (Genesis 12:5).

The above first is explained as follows. In Haran, Abraham and Sarah served as teachers and guides to the men and women of their generation who were searching for spirituality. The classical commentator, Rashi, in his explanation of the words, "the souls they made," interprets them to mean that they brought people "under the wings of the Shechinah, the Divine Presence." Their teachings gave new life to these searching souls, and from the perspective of the Torah, these are "the souls they made in Haran."

The following are some ways to be involved in Mivtza Chinuch. Sett up children's schools and camps. Encourage the development of the “Released-Time” program catering to public school children and take part in its operation. Another important inyan is registering children in the International Tzivos Hashem children organization, at www.tzivoshashem.org. This organization was started by the Rebbe to unite all Jewish children and encourage them to do mitzvos to bring Moshiach closer. Finally, all children should have a letter in a special children's Sefer Torah. For more information, you can visit www.kidstorah.org.

The education of Jewish children is closely linked to the times of Moshiach.

In general, all the Torah that we learn in the time of exile is compared to that of a child learning Torah. Just as we teach children and are involved in their chinuch so that when they become older (past Bar/Bas Mitzva), they will have the proper foundations for living a proper Jewish life, so too we learn Torah during exile merely as a preparation to learn and understand the "New Torah" that will be taught by Moshiach.

According to our sages, (Talmud shabbas 119b) the verse, "Do not touch My Moshiach (Divre HaYomim 1-16:22),” refers to the children who study Torah.

One of the many explanations of this statement is that the education of school children must be in accomplished in a manner that the children are completely permeated and filled with the ideal of Moshiach. Just by looking at a Jewish child, what should one see? Moshiach! (Simchas Torah, 5752)

In one of the prophecies of the Redemption (Malachi 3:23-24), we are promised, "Behold I will send you Eliyahu the prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day.... And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children." Rashi interprets the latter phrase to mean, "He will turn the hearts of the fathers to G-d through the medium of the children." Children will awaken in their parents an earnest desire to turn to Gd. Similarly, in the present context, the sincere desire children have for the Redemption should inspire a similar yearning in their parents.

I heard the following inspirational thought from Rabbi Levi Garelik. We find that the Rebbe placed great emphasis on educating children, even in the teachings of Pnimius HaTorah. The Rebbe started many campaigns and organizations for children and spent many hours speaking at rallies for children. Yet we do not find this behaviour demonstrated by the previous Lubavitch Rabeiim.

What is the role of the Chabad Rabeeim? To bring the Shechina back to this world and make G-dliness a part of its very fabric. This is accomplished by teaching Chassidus Chabad, which enables the people of the world to make G-dliness part of their being by internalizing the concepts of Chassidus.

In the era of the Ba'al Shem Tov and Mezritcher Maggid, only a select group – called the Chevraya Kadisha - were allowed to study these concepts. The Alter Rebbe, through his Chadarim, made it available to scholars. The Mittiler Rebbe made it available to young married men. The Rebbe Rashab made it available to Yeshiva students. The Frierdiker Rebbe made it available to woman, and then our Rebbe brought the Shechinah all the way to the children!

This is the final preparation for the Geula!
 

 


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