Modes of Learning
Why is education so crucial? Why, instead of an immersive environment, wouldn’t “Judaism 101” be enough? The Avner Institute presents the Rebbe’s emphasis on the formative years—childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood—and the role of committed parents and schools where Torah observance is 24/7, not only as the nurturance of moral and spiritual growth, but the safeguard against corrupting outside forces.
In loving memory Hadassah bas Shneur Zalman
“Truly an act of adoption”
By the Grace of G-d
3 Teves 5744
Blessing and Greeting:
Your letter of Oct. 3rd reached me with considerable delay. In it you write about an adoption, etc.
In as much as adopting a child is connected with various complications from the Torah viewpoint, and also psychological problems on the part of the natural parents, etc., it is advisable to discuss the whole matter with a competent Orthodox rabbi.
In any case, it would be advisable that you and your husband should take upon yourselves the upkeep of a Jewish child at a yeshiva dormitory, which is, in a deeper sense, truly an act of adoption, as our Torah, Toras Chaim, declares that “whoever helps teach someone’s child Torah is deemed as giving birth to the child.”
“The fullest immunization”
By the Grace of G-d
16 Kislev 5744
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Greeting and Blessing:
This is in reply to your letter of the 7th of Kislev.
My opinion in the matter is well known. Regardless of the career a young man plans to prepare for, it is an absolute “must,” especially in this day and age of upheaval and confusion, to attend at least one or two years at a yeshiva permeated with Yiddishkeit, to dedicate himself to the study of Torah and Torah-raised subjects, on an all-day basis. All the more so for anyone who has had no opportunity for a fulltime yeshiva education.
Regrettably, even the best Hebrew Day Schools do not offer such a program in such a conducive environment, for the student must divide his attention between Torah studies and secular studies, often to the disadvantage of the former.
As a result, the young man, or young lady, upon graduation from Yeshiva High School, does not get the fullest immunization against the influences of the environment, which is so vital in the present day, as mentioned before. It is all the more vital when the young person plans to go to college, in view of the atmosphere prevailing there nowadays.
I am confident that all Jewish parents, and yours especially, desire that their children should develop as whole and wholesome individuals, at peace with themselves and with the world around them, and not troubled by split personality complexes, etc.
Since, psychologically, parents are not receptive to being instructed by their children, it would be much better and more effective to have some mutual friends talk to the parents to convince them how much it is in the best interests of their son, or daughter, to encourage him or her to take out a year or two for a complete Torah program, as above, that would serve as a firm foundation for their whole future life.
Needless to say, you may show this letter to anyone whom you think appropriate.
“A very basic factor”
By the Grace of G-d
12 Adar II 5741
Blessing and Greeting:
Your letter of Jan. 23rd reached me with considerable delay. If you will let me know your full Hebrew name, together with your mother’s Hebrew name, as is customary, I will remember you in prayer for the fulfillment of your heart’s desires for good when visiting the holy resting place of my father-in-law of saintly memory.
You are, of course, quite right that a person enjoys peace of mind when he or she feels that the capacities with which one has been endowed, and the knowledge which one has acquired, as being fully utilized. Therefore, your decision to return to fulltime activity will certainly go a long way to get rid of any feeling of depression, etc.
Since everything is by Divine Providence, and you have written to me, I consider it my duty, as well as privilege, to call your attention to a matter which is basic, yet not always given the full consideration it deserves. This is that the inner peace and harmony of a Jew is closely associated with living Jewishly in the fullest measure, for, as our Sages put it, Jewishness for a Jew is what water is for a fish. And just as a fish cannot feel happy and contented when it gets out of its natural element, so it is with a Jew who, for one reason or another, becomes neglectful of the proper Jewish way of life.
To be sure, there may seemingly be many Jews who, despite being alienated from the Jewish way of life, appear to be leading a normal and harmonious life. But it is only that G-d, in His infinite mercy, gives a Jew time to return to his element, but unless he does so, the distorted behavior must sooner or later take its toll.
There is surely no need to elaborate to you on the above, and the reason I mentioned it at all is that I notice in your letter that you are particularly involved in research in Jewish sociology among Ashkenazim, Sefardim, etc. So far, whatever research in this area has come to my attention, I have found, regrettably, that not sufficient attention has been given to the above aspect as a very basic factor in Jewish life.
Since your profession and work is largely with young people who have yet to set up their family life, it gives you an opportunity to use your good influence with your students, to encourage them in regard to their Jewish identity and great and sacred tradition, so that when the time comes for them to establish their homes, they will establish them on the foundations of the Torah and mitzvoth and our sacred traditions, and transmit them to the next generation and for all posterity.
As we are approaching the festival of Purim, it is timely to note that the Megillah is called not after Mordechai, nor after Mordechai and Esther jointly, but solely after Esther—Megillas Esther. This significant tribute to Jewish womanhood clearly emphasizes the historic role of Jewish women in Jewish life and should certainly be a source of inspiration to every Jewish woman.
Wishing you a joyous and inspiring Purim,
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