“On The Rebbe’s Shoulders”: Must Shluchim Invest in Chinuch?



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    “On The Rebbe’s Shoulders”: Must Shluchim Invest in Chinuch?

    We are Shluchim in a midwestern city in the USA and we try to be totally dedicated to our Shlichus. As our family is growing and the kids are getting older, I feel that their education is not getting enough focus from my husband. He feels that his foremost responsibility is his shlichus and the future of our children is “on the Rebbe’s shoulders”. What is the Rebbe’s approach to the focus that Shluchim should have on the education of their own children? Rabbi Gershon Avtzon answers in this week’s Chinuch and Moshiach column • Full Article

    By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

    Question: We are Shluchim in a midwestern city in the USA and we try to be totally dedicated to our Shlichus. As our family is growing and the kids are getting older, I feel that their education is not getting enough focus from my husband. He feels that his foremost responsibility is his shlichus and the future of our children is “on the Rebbe’s shoulders”. What is the Rebbe’s approach to the focus that Shluchim should have on the education of their own children?

    Answer: Thank you for writing and giving me the opportunity to address this very important question. There is an old expression that “the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot”. We see this happen with children of master educators, Rabbanim and Shluchim and the Rebbe has a very different approach to this issue. To the Rebbe, it is not one or the other, rather they get helped by — and compliment —  each other.

    We all know the famous Hayom Yom (22 Teves): ,”My revered father, the Rebbe [Rashab], once declared at a farbrengen: ‘Just as putting on tefillin every day is a mitzvah d’Oraisa incumbent on every Jew, regardless of whether he is a great Torah scholar or a simple person, so too, it is an absolute obligation for every Jew to dedicate half an hour every day to thinking about his children’s education, and to do everything in his power — and indeed, more than what is in his power — to see to it that they follow the path in which they are being guided.’”

    The Rebbe (Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 1 p. 9) explains the specific connection to the Mitzvah of Tefillin: Just as Tefillin is not just an action, rather the binding of the heart and mind, the same has to be the attitude and focus that we have on the education of our children. It must be a heightened focus and priority.

    The following are a few letters that the Rebbe wrote on this topic:

    (1) “I am certain that you were able to arrange in your private home that your involvement in the education of other children will not interfere with the education of your own children. This is because one mitzvah is supposed to help the other mitzvah and not ch”v the opposite. It is certain — since Hashem’s reward is always greater than our action — that the work that you do with the other students will bring Hashem’s blessings and success with your own children and you and your husband will have much Chassidishe Nachas from them.” (Igros, Vol. 12 p. 248; #4065)

    (2) To parents that were involved in communal affairs and wrote to the Rebbe that it would affect their involvement in the education of their children, the Rebbe responded: “The custom is that the parents are the ones that should be involved in raising their children. This is also what logically makes sense.” (Shaarei Chinuch p. 102).

    (3) “I am using his opportunity to bring to your attention the following: It is not clear from your letters that you are designating enough time and energy in the influence of your own private home, i.e., your wife and your children. This is holy work and it is integral for the continued existence of our holy nation… It is self-understood that you can not rely on things which are in the realm of “shpitz Chabad” and things that are “Oros without Keilim” [I.e., relying on brachos] when this comes at the expense of others.” (Igros, Vol. 12 p. 100; #3912)

    (4) “In response to your letter in which you write to me about the activities that your husband started since he returned from meeting me, and the (negative) effects that is having on the family as he is so busy. You also write that many of your friends feel that his current over-involvement in the shlichus is alarming.

    I would first like to address the last complaint, by negating it completely. The foundation, and the beginning, of the Shulchan Aruch is that we should not be embarrassed (and stop our activities) because of scoffers. In addition, it is very probable that the real reason that they are scoffing is because of jealousy. 

    In regards to your main complaint (that your husband is too busy and not spending time with his wife and family): It is self-understood that in general you are correct that a husband must focus on his wife and his children. It is obvious that this — being involved with one’s own family — is no less important than any other mitzvah. … Notwithstanding the above: When beginning a new venture (shlichus), and wanting it to be a stable and continued success,  it is impossible to limit the involvement to set hours and time restraints. 

    Based on what I see, once the initial period finishes, your husband will definitely return to a routine in which he is involved as a husband and a father. At that point, it will not hinder the success of the shlichus…

    You write “what has become my lot?”, if only there were more women in your position! The fact that the husband is involved with educating Jewish people and bringing them closer to Hashem, brings tremendous reward to the entire family, especially the wife. This is beneficial spiritually and physically.” (Igros, Vol. 16 p. 358; #6133)

    The Moshiach Connection: 

    “Our children are called “Meshichai” (Hashem’s anointed ones). One of the explanations of this statement (in addition to those provided by the mefarshim) is that the education of young children has to be in a manner that the children are completely permeated and absorbed with the ideal of Moshiach. Just by looking at a Jewish child, what should one see? – Moshiach!” (Sicha of Simchas Torah 5752)

    While this is indeed a natural expression of a Jewish child, still our role as parents and educators is to bring that to the fore. When we put in those efforts, we will be zoche to tremendous success only possible because this Chinuch “is on the Rebbe’s shoulders”!

     

    Beis Moshiach

    52

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