By Rabbi Mendy Wolf
Reb Shmuel Munkes, a well-known chossid, was walking through a shtetl early one morning. It was sometime before Yom Kippur and he met a peasant praying that his cow should give milk. Reb Shmuel couldn’t help but comment, “You wake up early so your cow should give milk?”
Many of us can certainly relate to the peasant. We express concern over monetary issues and prioritize our business over other matters. But what about expressing concern – genuine concern – for spiritual growth? What happened to sincerely caring about moral values or improving our character?
In this week’s parshah, we read about the Mishkan, the Sanctuary that the Jews built in the desert. When the Jews entered the Mishkan, they felt its holiness. Within its walls they appreciated spiritual growth, ethical principles, and the value of education.
We should all create a personal miniature Mishkan around us where we sense the importance of spiritual matters such as moral values. We need to convey that feeling to our children from a young age, in order to instill it in their hearts. This can only happen through genuine concern. At home, when you discuss the importance of having a good education as much as you talk about your financial assets, then it will leave an impression on your child.
My mentor in yeshiva once said, “It is a well-known fact that words that come from the heart enter the heart.” His eyes began to tear as he continued, “If my students do not behave as befits … it’s my fault.” His heartfelt words, conveying honest concern, made an impression on all of us.
Let your children feel that genuine concern for their growth.
Rabbi Mendy Wolf is the educational director for the Institute of American & Talmudic Law, and the director for Project Life, an organization which promotes Jewish values throughout the business community in NYC. R’ Mendy is a sought after teacher and lecturer and resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and family. Contact Rabbi Mendy to book him to speak or with feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.