Spiritual life: No child’s education should be sacrificed

PUBLISHED: 08:30 23 August 2020

Rabbi David Hulbert thinks education is a gift.

Rabbi David Hulbert thinks education is a gift.


A rabbi is neither a priest nor a prophet. He (or she) is just a teacher.

The title means “my teacher” in Hebrew.

All of us fondly remember those one or two special teachers who made such a difference to our lives those many years ago, when we were young and impressionable.

The teaching of children lies at the very heart of the Jewish religion. Our most precious text, recited twice daily, includes this Divine instruction: “Teach these words (of Torah) carefully to your children...”

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And so for over 2,000 years, Jewish communities everywhere in the world have set up schools, teaching children from the age of around four until and beyond adulthood.

These schools were for all boys, rich and poor, who were taught at minimal cost to their parents. The result? That throughout history, Jewish men grew up literate, with a basic grasp of history, geography and arithmetic, as well as of our holy books.

For us, education is compulsory, never optional; it is the inalienable spiritual right of every individual. (Many Jewish girls also learned to read and write, but not in formal schools).

Yes, the preservation of life and sensible steps to protect the health of the community are also Jewish values, but not at the cost of sacrificing a child’s education.

We are only young once, and the gift of education is the key to fully appreciating the beauty, the richness and the possibilities of Life, the key to fulfilling our Spiritual potential!

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