Daf Yomi Yevamos 69
There is a disturbing new trend developing in many North American Jewish high schools that I refer to as the ‘closing of the gap’. Over the last few decades, it has become the norm for young Orthodox men and women to spend a gap yeshiva year or two in Israel before beginning university. But that tide is sadly turning. Enrollments are down in yeshivas in Israel as more and more parents are encouraging their children to go straight to university.
Are they financially exhausted after years of paying yeshiva day-school tuition? Or are they concerned about the intense yeshiva education their kids will get in Israel?
The Torah states, “A woman who is a harlot or is desecrated, they [who are a cohen] may not take in marriage.”
The Mishnah states: A violator, a seducer, or a mentally-ill man who copulated with a woman against her will do not invalidate her from partaking of the priestly tithes, nor do they entitle her to partake. How is this exemplified? If an ordinary Jew violated a coheness, she may continue to partake of her father’s tithes. If she became pregnant, she may no longer partake, since her child would draw her into the ordinary Israelite’s family. But if the fetus did not survive, she may resume her consumption of the tithes.
On the flipside, if a cohen violated an ordinary Jewess, that does not qualify her to partake of the tithes. Even if she became pregnant, she still may not partake. However, if she gave birth, she may now partake, since her child is a cohen and has drawn her into the priestly family.
And thus, the power of the child is greater than that of the parent!
Rashi explains: Whereas the man who cohabited with her cannot adjust her status, the child can.
We all want our children to be more powerful and successful than ourselves. That’s progress, isn’t it? If your children aren’t more accomplished than you, you’ve failed the evolutionary system! And so we schlep our kids from soccer to hockey to dance to math tutoring, the list is endless.
But many of us forget the true purpose of our sojourn on earth: spiritual growth. If you desire offspring that are more advanced than you materially and physically, how much more so should you pursue their spiritual mastery and yearn for children who are better versed in Torah, and spiritually stronger than you.
That means finding intensive Torah tutoring for them. That means providing them with an intense year of yeshiva or seminary learning in Israel to spiritually fortify and protect them against the onslaught of secularism they will face forthwith at university and in the workforce.