How the Torah can teach children to be better adults

How the Torah can teach children to be better adults

The Jewish culture has always been one of great dignity and perseverance.  It’s hard to fathom the world without the influence of Jews, they have done amazing things for humanity.  In order to become who they are, successful Jews had to receive an education that would prepare them to be someone who made a difference in the world.  Newer generations are probably being taught through experiential Jewish education.   The older generations surely started by learning from the Torah.  Embracing and learning from Judaism’s most sacred books is the first step towards model and successful Jewish citizens.

Unfortunately, the world as we know it has become more detached from religious studies and Judaism is not the exception.  It’s quite possible that many families are not gathering to read from the Torah and learn from it.  This is not the parents’ fault, society has made it so that everyone is more independent and less interested in sharing the teachings of the Torah in the community.  Jewish families need to understand the importance of getting together and learning from the Torah, both the Tanakh and the Talmud.   There are essentially four things children can learn from Torah that will help them become better people and thus more capable of helping humanity.

  1. Caring about others and kinship

This is one of the greatest teachings that studying the Torah can leave to children.  Society has become indifferent, almost immune to so many negative things going on around us and we know longer worry about those near us as much as in the past.  We must stop turning our head when we see another being wronged or treated unfairly.  What better place to start than at the youngest and most influential ages?  The Torah teaches us we should:

  •         Not be indifferent when someone’s life is in danger.
  •         Not gossip against anyone.
  •         Not hold a grudge.

These latter are just three of the most common daily challenges that the Torah helps us deal with.

  1. How to do business

Jews are known around the world as having excellent business skills.  This could initially be attributed to some of the many things the Torah says about conducting business.  A few things we can take away are:

  •         Buying and selling should be done without harming others.
  •         Borrowing at zero interest.
  •         Not collecting on a debt when you know well the other party can not afford to pay.
Image courtesy of Thomas Baron at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Thomas Baron at Flickr.com
  1.    How to go about family living

Families are one of the most sacred things to Jews.  Gatherings are often a big deal and they are usually close-knit.  The Torah can teach future generations a thing or two about life as a family.  One such thing is that we should all respect our parents; something that seems obvious but how often do we see children acting out against their parents.  This respect towards our caregivers involves never raising our voice, striking them, or cursing them.  Once again, something that might seem obvious but how some children treat their parents, it’s worth noting.  It’s crucial that parents sit with their children and learn how the Torah can help them become closer as a family unit that will not succumb to today’s technology abiding world.

  1. How to go about employees and staff

The Torah is so complete that it even covers employment of others.  Having such concepts within sacred scripture could help avoid any sort of labor abuse or abuse of power.  There are many people who seem to be in dire need of learning what the Torah says about employing other citizens.  Some of the things that the Torah teaches us relating to employment are:

  •         Pay due wages in a timely manner.
  •         Business and personal relationships should never combine
  •         Treat subordinates fairly.

The Torah’s teachings can serve not only Jews but also Gentiles.  Even though it was written a long time ago, a lot of its lessons still apply today.  Everyday values must be learned if we want to leave in a peaceful and harmonious society.  Some would argue that it is ultimately up to us to choose whether or not we follow the Torah’s teachings.  It is our obligation as Jews to learn the Torah and help others gain access to it.  It serves as a beacon as to how to lead a healthy and prosperous life.  Additionally, the Torah helps us create better relationships with other Jews and Gentiles.  Finally, the Torah is the best way to learn how a Jew should and must behave in order to be a model citizen.

Yosef Meystel has always been concerned about others and about finding ways to help them.  His efforts have gone a long way toward helping Jewish children gain the education they must have and are entitled to.  He understands the importance of following the Torah and being the best person we can be to help others.