Sep 9, 2016

Rosh Yeshiva's Misguided Approach

I was listening to a shiur given by a talmid of a certain American rosh yeshiva and once again, I was peeved to hear a foolish idea from this rosh yeshiva. 

This time, it was about what to teach an 8-9 year old child from an irreligious home who attends a religious program.  Why teach him about kashrus and Shabbos, this rosh yeshiva asks.  Do you think he will be able to eat kosher on his own? Keep Shabbos on his own? Instead, teach him about tzedaka, chesed, Ahavas Hashem, Yiras Hashem, things the child can do on his own.

I have read numerous stories about young children being taught about kashrus and Shabbos who were the catalysts for their entire families becoming frum.  I read one just yesterday, a first person account in which her six year old, who attended a religious program, asked that the family keep kosher which he had learned about.  The mother refused but subsequently decided to do it, along with other mitzvos.

I remember a story of a little girl who learned about Shabbos and lighting Shabbos candles.  She asked her mother to buy candles and her mother refused.  So the little girl went to the store on her own and asked for candles and the person gave her yartzeit candles, thinking that was probably what her mother wanted.  The little girl lit two yartzeit candles in her room and when her mother discovered this and asked what was going on, she innocently replied that one candle was for her mother and one for her father.  That changed things in a hurry!

Numerous stories can be told by those who work in Talmud Torahs, Sunday schools, programs like Shuvu in Eretz Yisrael for Russian children, etc. about children who, in their sincerity, have followed through on their seemingly impossible commitments, and sometimes changed their entire families along the way.

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