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It’s Not Where You’re At


But wondrous though this is, it sometimes creates a disparity. As intelligent as the parents may be, they began their Torah education late in life. And while their sincerity may be impressive, their skills and actual knowledge is often lacking. Their children, on the other hand, attend the finest yeshivas and from a tender young age are steeped in Torah learning and mitzvos. It can happen that by 6th grade the child knows more than the parent. As the child matures, the gap widens and this may lead him to look down at his parents with an attitude of, “My father, he’s a good guy and all that, but what does he know? He’s an am ha’aretz.”

This Sforno may be a guiding light on this issue. What we see is that a person’s stature is defined less by who he is now than by how much he has grown. The scale of measure is where he is coming from. How far has he gone? How much of that change is because of his fortitude and will, and how much the environment he was in, simply going with the flow? So it may well be that your father doesn’t know as much as you, yet in the World to Come he will tower over you. It could be that his Chumash and Rashi are more valuable than your learning all of Shas.

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