Written by a Jewish Brooklyn resident
The NYS Department of Education is attempting to make undesirable changes to the Yeshiva education of our children. Some claim to have “concern” for our children to not having a good enough education and are determined to “help” us. This comes together with threats to cut all funding to Yeshivas and to take disciplinary action against parents who do not comply with their demands. The wise people of the book are again under assault. What should our response be?
Firstly, it is beautiful to see the unity that is happening these days among our people. Everybody realizes that our differences are merely external wrappings, while in essence we are all one. We have one G-d and one Torah that unites us, our guide in life.
It seems like history repeats itself, we have been in the same situation many times. I would like to draw an analogy to a story from the Chumash.
Yosef made an ingenious plan to test his brothers. He hid his silver cup in Binyomin’s bag and had it “found” there. The brothers came back and Yehuda submitted everyone to be slaves for the Egyptian king. “What can we say.. justify ourselves, G-d found our iniquity, we are [all] slaves..”. To which Yosef replied he wants only the one “thief” to be his slave while the rest can go back home.
Here is where everything changed. Joke is over, no more Mr Nice Guy. Yehuda approached the world’s superpower’s leader without permission with tremendous chutzpa and strength. “We are at fault” attitude turned instantly into “you made it up”. He even threatened to wage war against the entire Egypt, and will “start with you and finish with Pharaoh”!
What happened all of a sudden? All Yosef did is to say he’s giving them a discount. You’re offering me eleven slaves, take back ten! Why not do things a little more calm headed, where went your decency?
To have all the brothers together as slaves in Egypt would be paying with their bodies; to have one Jewish boy alone in Egypt, the most corrupt of all, is endangering his soul.
When one tries to endanger the spiritual upbringing of even one Jewish child- no bars are held, even if it meant putting his very life on the line. No one, not even the most powerful ruler can as much touch to the smallest measure the spiritual upbringing of even one Jewish child. This is something we live for, and put down our lives for.
Such self-sacrifice from Yehuda’s part was victorious, causing that Yosef couldn’t restrain himself anymore and revealed himself to his brothers.
Fast forward several thousand years…
At a time when outside forces are dangerously attempting to dim our dedication to Toras Chaim, the Torah of Life, let us continue to stand with one voice. “As they would afflict them so would they multiply” (Shemos 1, 12) – it is time for us to pick up our heads much higher in pride. Our Torah is the eternal wisdom, with an unbroken chain right back from Mt Sinai, incomparably greater than what any other nation has. Our educational system is far more successful in all aspects, and they know that! It is time for us to announce with greater pride: “Our children are learning G-d’s Torah and will continue to do so”.
Let us use the opportunity to add in our teaching/ learning of Torah, not G-d forbid to subtract.
The only ones who can have power over a Jew is they themselves. When we will put our sights up high and stand firm, we are guaranteed victory.