Monday, June 12, 2006

The proper attitude for a Jewish educator

Parshat B’Ha’Alotcha

In 11:29 Moshe responds to Yehoshua. Yehoshua had tried to defend Moshe’s honor. Moshe had gathered 70 elders to his tent to bestow upon them the ability to prophesize, thereby lightening the load on Moshe’s shoulders. Eldad and Medad, who had been left out of the group of 70, began prophesying on their own. The midrash tells us that they were prophesying regarding the future death of Moshe, and Yehoshua’s ascent to the leadership of the nation.

When Yehoshua heard this he felt Moshe’s honor had been affected. He stood up to defend Moshe’s honor and called for them to receive capital punishment for the great dishonor they caused to Moshe. Moshe responded that they should be left alone and he wishes that every Jew would be worthy to prophesize.

I had a cousin in a yeshiva for students with little to no background in learning Torah. After he spent two years learning in this yeshiva, it was time for him to leave to go back home to begin University. His rebbi asked him if he would consider sending his future children to learn in this yeshiva. He responded effusively that of course he would. He wants his children to learn in this yeshiva. It was great, they helped him grow so much, and he loved the rebbi and wants his kids to have the same rebbi.

The rebbi responded that if so, he was not successful. His goal in teaching this young man was to create a situation of growth so that he will not need to send his children to such a yeshiva, rather he would give his children a good yeshiva education and they would go to a yeshiva for kids with more background!

Moshe was not interested in his own personal honor. He was concerned with leading the Jewish Nation and effecting their growth. His highest goal was they should each and every person grows to the point that they no longer need Moshe telling them what to do and what Hashem wants. They should each be great in their own right and talk directly to God with no need for Moshe. When Yehoshua tried to defend Moshe’s honor, Moshe corrected him and said the fact that they are prophesying is making me deliriously happy! He wished everybody would reach that level of greatness!

That is a Jewish leader! That is a Jewish educator!


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Expressed very nicely! Where are those good leaders today? You have to search high and low.

Rafi G said...

and then you still can't find them!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Well let's be fair there may be 1 or 2 hiding under the table.

Rafi G said...

ha ha! Hope so!