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Kid Insurance!

Friday, 12 May, 2017 - 8:10 am

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with a sharp ninety-six-year-old Jew, Al “Elya” Zelver. I spent over an hour listening to his amazing story; he grew up in California to Polish/Romanian parents, enlisted in the service, served in the China Burma India Theater, Japan and a bit in Korea and is currently writing his memoirs. He mentioned that he once asked his “agnostic” father why he donated $200 annually, a large sum in the 30’s, to a local Synagogue, even though he never goes and doesn’t believe? To which his dad responded, “It’s like insurance, you never know when you may need it”.

This week’s Torah portion, Emor, commences with the eternal words “And the Lord said to Moses: Speak to the Kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: Let none of you defile himself for a dead person among his people”. Rashi, quoting from the Talmud, comments “This double expression comes to admonish the adult Kohanim to be responsible for the minors that they must not contaminate them”.Interestingly, the Rebbe would often emphasize that the Hebrew word Rashi uses for “admonish” is "Lehazhir", which also means "to illuminate", a healthier method of education. While we can have certain expectations from our children, the onus is on us, the adults/parents to be their educators, even at the risk of them de-friending us. Every word we say, every expression we show, every movement we make, is part of their education. They internalize it and that’s on us. 

School teachers are an amazing gift to our society and need to be treated as such. I believe they are too often underpaid, underrecognized and underappreciated. Yet, as my Bubbe Esther said to me more than once “If a child doesn’t have a healthy home, a stable home, it will be so much harder for the Yeshiva (Jewish high school) and Mashpia (mentor/teacher) to make them a Mentsch”. In the words of President Reagan “Our leaders must remember that education doesn't begin with some isolated bureaucrat in Washington. It doesn't even begin with state or local officials. Education begins in the home, where it is a parental right and responsibility.”

Children are insured by parents!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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