This week in Israel 350,000 higher education students begin the school year and millions more will resume kindergarten, grammar school, high school, yeshiva, and pre-academic programs. This week also marks 78 years since the murder [by the Nazis] of Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Piacenzo Rebbe [and author of Aish Kodesh]. Here are several of his thoughts for students and teachers everywhere as they embark on the new school year:
- He writes: “It’s not enough to teach a young person that he is obligated to listen to his teacher and nothing more. The main thing is to penetrate his heart with the idea that he is his own principal teacher. There is a law that rules the human mind: When there is someone else to lean on, we slack off and rely on that person.”
- But how do we educate ourselves? Is it enough merely to desire to do so? Absolutely not. It’s not a true desire if we do not do something to bring it to fruition: “An inauthentic desire can be extremely great. Not so a true desire that simply requires work.”
- And what is the task of parents and teachers? To remind the student of his good qualities and so encourage him to go further in developing them: “A teacher, like a father, must find a positive character trait in the child or student and then praise it and strengthen it. For example, if we see a demonstration of generosity, then we can encourage it so that it develops and overcomes any tendency toward miserliness in the same child.”
In his memory.
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Praying For Recovery Is One Thing, Sharing When It Happens Is Another
Several days ago, during a large women’s event, a teenage girl approached me. I did not recognize her, but then she said her name: “Naama Har Kesef.”
Wow. Naama is the daughter of Chaim Har Kesef, of blessed memory. He was a volunteer for Magen David Adom and Hatzalah who was killed in an automobile accident during Chol HaMoed of Pesach. Naama was seriously injured, anesthetized, and placed on a ventilator. Lots of us prayed for Naama bat Revital Sarah for many days.
And suddenly she is here next to me, after a long period of rehabilitation, not even with crutches, telling me how she has returned to her twelfth grade studies.
We spoke a little and Naama said: “I know that many people I have never met continue to pray for me, and so it is important for me to say thank you, baruch Hashem. After so many people prayed for me to live, I feel that I am obligated to live a more meaningful life.”
And then she asked: “Why not publicize my amazing recovery just as my serious injury was publicized? Most of those who heard about me don’t know about the incredible improvement in my condition. We are accustomed to talk about our difficulties and hardships, but not to share our deliverance from them.”
I am publicizing all of this not only because of Naama, but so that we will look at many other occurrences in our lives in a similar manner.
(Translated by Yehoshua Sisken)