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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Never lose your keys again!

Daf Yomi Yevamos 113

Our Millie is in grade ten.  She’s thirteen years old.  We’re fortunate to have her in an exclusive class of three intelligent girls and they’ve managed to breeze their way through school.  Actually, most boys and girls could probably accelerate the curriculum, but there’s a reason why we generally keep kids in school until the age of eighteen.  We want their formative years to be a time exclusively dedicated to education so that they understand throughout their lives that life is all about learning. 

Sadly, the message gets lost on too many.  The moment they’re finished school – or if they’re lucky, university – that’s the end of their education.  Instead of appreciating all the time and money their parents invested in infusing them with a love of learning, they spend their lives engrossed in work and play.  And unfortunately, as true as that is of secular education, it’s even worse when it comes to Jewish learning.  How many of our brothers and sisters “graduated” at their bar/bat-mitzvah and never studied a Jewish word since?   How sad indeed.

Rabbi Isaac bar Bisna lost his keys to the study hall in the public thoroughfare one Shabbos.   He approached Rabbi Pados, who instructed him, ‘Bring some boys and girls to the area to play.  If they find the keys, they’ll bring them back.’

How many adult Jews have lost their keys to the study hall?  How many adult Jews never even owned a set of keys to the study hall?  We pride ourselves on being the People of the Book, but painfully, most Jews can’t even read the Book.  

Rabbi Pados’s advice is to bring some children to find the keys.  When you were a child, your life was dedicated to learning.  It’s time to find those keys you had as a child and reopen the study hall!   Many of us are accomplished in our secular careers but our Jewish knowledge is downright embarrassing.  And maybe that’s what keeps us out of the study hall.  But as Ethics of the Fathers teaches, ‘One who is bashful will never learn.’  Open up your mind and heart and unlock the wisdom of the Torah!

If you’ve lost the keys to the study hall, it’s time you found them.  Bring back your youthful self and you will find the keys!  May you merit unlocking the doors of the study hall and becoming a lifelong learner!

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