A midrash asks:
“Why do young children commence [the study of Torah] with the Book of Leviticus [the Laws of the Priests], and not with the [Book of] Genesis? Surely it is because young children are pure, and the korbanot (offerings) are pure; so let the pure come and engage in the study of the pure.”
“Therefore, when the children study, “God says, “I consider it as if they are bringing the offerings before Me. Though the Temple was destroyed and offerings are not brought there anymore, were it not for the children learning about the sacrificial laws, the world would not stand.”
If not for the innocence of children, the rabbis are telling us, civilization would be unsustainable.
With all the strife that exists in our world, my recent travels to many places have convinced me, more than ever, that beneath it all we’re all the same. Over the past couple of years, abroad and at home, my camera’s eye tried to look at the world through the eyes of a child. And we see that most of all with children.
Today there are 2.2 billion children in the world. Nearly two billion of these live in developing countries. The vast majority are in desperate need of healthcare, water, food and education. Others need our protection from traffickers, drugs, violent neighborhoods, school shootings, abusive adults who betray a sacred trust, border patrols who rip them from their parents, corrupt autocrats who rip them from their villages, and abusive parents who breed desperation and hopelessness.
This year I looked at the world through the eyes of children. I saw a different story, a story of hope and resilience and innocence reclaimed. I saw it in their faces. These are the trusting, happy, loving, vulnerable faces of children.
Here is a photo essay: Children of the World. See the online album here.