In our current world that is so heavily influenced by the presence of the Corona pandemic in our midst, we are all aware of and/or participate in the world of zoom learning and classrooms. In this remote world of distant conversation and learning from afar, there are requirements that must be met in order to be able to ensure one’s ability to participate in a learning experience.
The most fundamental requirement is to somehow upload the link to the specific lesson on one’s computer or phone and then to click on that link to join the learning session. Without having the link and clicking it one will never be able to hear what is being taught or benefit from the zoom session being conducted. This link is the essential ingredient to all the learning or entertainment projects that can exist on this electronic platform.
The phrase “just send me the link” has become part and parcel of our everyday conversation and mindset. Just a few short years ago, using such a phrase would only have incurred stares of wonder. Our society was not thinking in terms of links. However, among all the other immense changes that the COVID epidemic has created in our society, the realization that one must somehow find a specific link and click on it, is part of a new language and a different set of words and phrases. As such, let’s consider if we do not give proper weight to understanding the import of the links in our lives.
Judaism has always been based on links, the link to family and tradition, links to generations gone before us, and the links to eternal values and unchanging assessments of life and people.
These constitute the bulk of thought and activity in everyday Jewish existence. We see ourselves as being linked to the eternal chain first created by our father Abraham and continuing for millennia till our time.
Judaism values age, experience and, most importantly, links to the past, even more than it encourages the vitality and experiences of the young.
We say in our prayers that we are grateful for the previous generations that have survived, so that we too are able to be connected and linked to the past, as far back as our father Abraham and our mother Sarah.
This linkage is vital to Jewish survival, both personally and nationally.
One cannot participate in the eternal zoom lesson of the study of Torah and the performance of its commandments without somehow obtaining the link and clicking on it by ourselves.
When one is young, one rarely appreciates this type of generational connection. However, as one’s years increase, it becomes apparent that one of the tasks of maturity is to provide that personal link that binds generations together and gives purpose and value to each individual life. For many Jews in our time, the tragedy of complete assimilation and the lack of any Jewish content in life is directly traceable to the fact that they never found the link and are cut off from their tradition by their secularism and hedonism.
The purpose of Jewish education, in my opinion, should be to impress upon the student throughout all the years of one’s school experience, the necessity of finding their personal links and clicking on them.
If one has the link, then there is no limit to what can be learned, understood, and creatively woven into the fabric of one’s own personal life. However, if that necessary personal link is somehow unavailable, then school and knowledge become only a jumble of facts, opinions, boredom, and worse.
We are currently very careful that schools and classrooms should not infect their students with viruses and diseases of the body.
We should be just as careful and vigilant that schools should not infect their students with moral viruses of unproven agendas, current political theories and correctness, and wildly impractical and utopian ideas and hopes.
We cannot leave our younger generation without any link to the realities and experiences of past generations and to ancestors, that would leave them vulnerable to harmful teachings and opinions.
The truth is that every one of us, especially those of us who are blessed with being grandparents, should establish themselves as that link that is necessary to benefit from the spiritual and psychological zoom class that is currently available to help them in finding and utilizing what constitutes their Jewish heritage.
Source: Rabbi Berel Wein – Arutz Sheva