Let’s Wake Up

Question: what is the one thing that

– will stop society from descending into the all-out chaos of gun violence, Mideast conflict, nuclear wars, populist anarchy, etc. ?

– causes the Jewish People to thrive even after 3,000 years under the most unimaginable adverse conditions?

– if you give it to a person (especially a child), you’ve opened a world of endless opportunity for him or her, and if you don’t you’ve condemned them to a miserable life?

The answer: education.

Education is much more than the imparting of information. Education is the act of sharing wisdom about life between one human being and another. It is the granting of access to the deepest levels of the Divine soul in every individual, to the brightest discoveries of their mind, and to the greatest fulfillment of their character potential.

The destiny of humanity as a whole, and of every person individually, is shaped by the quality of our educational development. Tyrannical despots need only wrest control of their citizens’ minds and it’s all downhill from there.

But for the billions who live in free and open societies – including these blessed United States of America – life is far from ideal. Why? Because the fact that we can provide a quality education to those who need it does not mean that we actually do.

Education is not the absolute #1 priority that it should be.

Why are great teachers not being given great salaries?

Why is parent-teacher communication limited (if at all existent) to information about test marks but not about the mark of character?

Why is the role of teaching relegated to the person standing in front of a classroom and not assumed by the one in the front of a dining room? Or a boardroom?

We are all teachers and we are all students in the classroom of life, through the life-example that we share with each other, consciously and subconsciously.

The sooner we recognize the role of teaching as a critical human experience, and the sooner we appreciate as true heroes those who’ve chosen that role for their career, the sooner all children will realize their greatest potential as the stewards of a just, moral and vibrant society for generations to come.

This Tuesday, March 27, is being designated by elected officials across the 50 States and throughout the world as “Education and Sharing Day” in tribute to the 116th birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. The Rebbe saw education as the key value of a healthy society and gave every fiber of his being to promulgating this value across the planet.

3 days later, millions of Jews throughout the world will sit around a table asking questions and sharing answers, for themselves and for their children. As we celebrate our birth as the “People of the Book”, let us remember the obligation we all carry to educate our fellow brothers and sisters in the family of humanity, about the “Value of the Book”.

About the Author
Rabbi Yossi Deren was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1973, lived in Western Massachusetts through the '80s and today serves as the Spiritual Leader and Executive Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Greenwich, Connecticut. Together with his wife Maryashie, they founded the synagogue-center in 1996 as Emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory.