Joseph’s triumph was a powerful testament to his father’s extraordinary education, and a strong reminder to all parents and educators that education is not about the words you preach or the love you cultivate. Rather, it is about the ethical values you embody and the authority of divine morals you inculcate in your children and disciples.
A few years ago, a talented young man sought the advice of my dear mentor Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz on how he should grow and succeed.
“My wife says you’re skilled,” Rabbi Steinsaltz complimented the young man, a rising rabbinic leader. “But be cautious of the illusions that you may encounter. People will invite you to speak and provide enjoyment and pleasure. They will even smile at you and pay you a decent compensation. But, at the end of the day, many of them really care for their pleasure more than they care for you. Therefore, always surround yourself with a base of people who really love you and care about you. And it is that base that you must cultivate and trust.”
The Tiger Woods saga should compel each of us to face the challenges of solitude by dedicating ourselves uncompromisingly to the ethical morals and divine values of the Torah, and by nurturing our relationships with those who truly care about us – parents, spouses, children, etc.
It is our embodiment of these values that will appear in the minds of our dear children when they face life’s arduous tribulations and seductive temptations. Our everlasting image will then enable them to thrive where Woods and others have tragically failed.