Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Life's No Parade (It's Better)

by Eric Simon

I'm a big time baseball fan. And, coming from the New York area, I followed the World Series intently.

But, I have to admit, even I was surprised when I read about the Mayor suggesting that it would be fine for school children to skip school to see the Yankees' ticker-tape parade.

Don't get me wrong. I'm no stick-in-the mud. In fact, one of my cherished boyhood memories is skipping school to see the Mets clinch their first pennant, against the Braves, in 1969. (Nolan Ryan pitched and Hank Aaron hit a home run).

But it got me to thinking about how much more Jewish tradition seems to value education than the society around us. Now, I'm not about to say that education isn't important to the rest of society -- anyone who listened to the presidential campaign knows that education is important --but Judaism seems to take it one step further.

Every day, religious Jews say the following:

"These are the obligations without measure, whose reward too is without measure to honor our father and mother, to perform acts of loving kindness, to attend the house of study daily, to welcome the stranger, to visit the sick, to rejoice with the bride and groom, to console the bereaved, to pray with sincerity, to make peace when there is strife; and the study of Torah is equal to it all, because the study of Torah leads to it all."

That's a nice theoretical framework, but is this idea put into practice?

I was walking to work one day, and I saw someone walking in the other direction. He was wearing a kipa and he was reading a volume of Mishna. We got to talking, and then I asked him what he was doing. He told me that very recently his mother had died, and that, the congregants of his shul divided up the six parts of the Mishna so that the entire Mishna would be studied in her honor. I can't think of anything even remotely similar to this is our society.

What does a religious Jew do after completing the study of a Tractate of Talmud? He throws a party, called a "siyyum." And at the siyyum, the person is expected to speak some words about what he had learned, to teach something to his guests. Furthermore, in many instances a new Tractate is begun, in order to make sure that finishing one Tractate is not the end of the person's study.

The contrast between this and the Yankees' ticker-tape parade couldn't have been more striking skip school to attend a party versus making a party to celebrate learning.

Perhaps Tevye the Dairyman, star of Fiddler on the Roof, best summed up the Jewish attitude towards celebrating success and learning. In the famous song, "If I Were A Rich Man", he finally decides, after considering various options, that he would study "with the learned men seven hours every day." Yes, he says, "this would be the sweetest thing of all."


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

How to Vow Your Audience
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Who Makes Up The Rules?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

YomTov, vol. XIII # 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Oath of Office
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Dead First
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

To Tell You The Truth...
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

ArtScroll

Been There Done That
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

From Rock Bottom to Bottoms Up
Jon Erlbaum - 0

A Body and Soul Job
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

> You Canít Get More Local or Global Than That!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

True Wealth
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Hidden Yet Loving
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

On the Road Again (to Repentance)
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Kinder and Gentler Killers
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

Final Destination
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Criticm - To Accept or to Defend
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information