As a father and a community Rabbi, the question I hear most often is one of utmost importance. That question is: “What’s going to be with our youth?”
In a world that has shifted from moving with rapid speed to a new reality of time, how do we keep our kids engaged, interested and excited about Yiddishkeit?
In this week’s Parsha, Bo, the Jewish People learn that their children will eventually have questions for them.
וְהָיָה כִּי יֹאמְרוּ אֲלֵיכֶם בְּנֵיכֶם מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם
Your children are going to see you do certain things.
They will hear you utter certain prayers and take on certain rituals.
They will ask you ‘what does it mean for you to be engaged in G-dly service?’
Many of us are frightened when questions like these come out of the mouths of our children. We are nervous because we are not certain that we ourselves know the answers.
But the Torah tells us that when we heard these words about the future of Am Yisrael we began to rejoice.
וַיִּקֹּד הָעָם וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ
We got extremely excited and bowed down in utter joy.
The question is, what caused this sudden moment of bliss?
Rashi sheds light on the matter, a light that still shines into the future.
We were about to be redeemed. Our story as slaves was coming to an end and we would be free people, but freedom is not what caused this simcha. What brought us ‘real simcha’ was when we realized that our children would be interested. We began celebrating because we learned that our children were going to keep asking questions.
This is the celebration of real Jewish freedom.
This is the celebration of our tomorrows.
If our children are not exactly where we thought they would be or even if they are yet to be living in the manner we hoped, as long as they are still asking questions, as long as they are still engaged and interested on any level, our tradition tells us that is enough of a reason to be besimcha.
May we be blessed to keep that conversation going forever.