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Field of Expertise: The Value of Jewish Education

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A West Coast lumber merchant once came to the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, to seek his counsel and blessing. After addressing the businessman’s concerns, the Rebbe asked him:

“How are your children?”

“They’re doing great!” replied the proud father. “They get high marks in school—two regular geniuses! They’re sure to be accepted in the top universities…”

“And what about their Jewish education? Why don’t you sent them to a yeshivah, so that they should grow to be knowledgeable and pious Jews?”

“Rebbe… it’s a different world here, in America. The neighborhood I live in… their friends… it just won’t be right…”

“The Torah applies to all times and places,” insisted the Rebbe. “America is no different. You can, and ought to give your children a Jewish education.”

But the businessman would not relent. The Rebbe argued, cajoled and berated; still the visitor remained adamant in his refusal to do his bidding.

“I don’t understand,” the Rebbe finally said. “Neither I, nor my father, ever engaged in business. Yet you came all the way from California to seek my advise on your most important business decisions. On the other hand, regarding the education of your children–the field to which I, and my ancestors, have devoted our entire lives–you won’t do as I say!”

Told by the Rebbe, Shabbat Behar-Bechukotai 5710 (May 13, 1950)[7]

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber.


[7] Likkutei Sichot, vol.XVI p.527

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