Vayigash: Quality Time IS Torah Time

Last week, the website and my email address were completely down.  So, if anybody emailed me and got an error in return, well…we’re back up!


Every Shabbos Chanukkah, we have a standing tradition to visit friends in Yerushaliyim.  This year I had a special treat, psychologically-speaking.  At the Shabbos table, I saw my friend do two separate acts, which were completely unnecessary for him to do, concerning cooking on Shabbos and moving items that one is not allowed to move.  I asked him about the first, since I’ve seen it done by others, but I have yet to see a source for it.  He explained to me the reasoning behind it, which I knew, since I learned it in depth last year.  However, he was missing a second piece to the equation, which knocks off his reasoning.  I didn’t say anything, since he didn’t do anything wrong, but after coming back to the kollel and double-checking with the Rosh Kollel, I gave myself a pat on the back.  Years of learning are starting to pay off.


You see, my friend has been going to yeshiva all his life.  He’s a very learned individual and is considered an expert in one specific area for which people come to him with questions.  And yet, for the first time in my life (I think), I knew something that somebody on his level, didn’t know!  It’s certainly not an attack on him, it’s simply that I learned the subject more in depth (and more recently) than he did, and I actually know what I’m talking about!  Not only is it a great feeling, but it’s yet another reminder, that one needs to keep on learning as much as he can, as deep as he can, to gain better understandings in all areas of life.


“He (Yaakov) sent Yehudah ahead of him to Yosef, to prepare ahead of him” (Bereishis 46:28). 

Rashi: “To establish for him a House of Study from which instruction shall go forth.”


Before Yaakov was to set foot in Egypt, he wanted to make sure that the base of Torah education would be set for his children.  Their education was of paramount importance and had to be taken care of first.


That being the case, it’s important for us as parents to understand that it is the education of our children that is the most important part of our lives.  However, the definition of “education” is not only about books and learning.  It’s mainly about time and patience.  For example the Skverer Rebbe, who lived in Romania before the Holocaust, would sit and play with his daughters, and help them with all their activities, just in order to keep them in the house, due to the dangers of the street.  You would think that a rebbe of a large chassidish group would have more “important” things to do with his time. 


The Steipler, I believe (it might have been the Brisker Rav, but I remember hearing that it was the Steipler), would often take time out and put his ear to the door of the room his children were playing in, in order to make sure that they were behaving and speaking to each other properly.


My son’s rebbe in school has a nice amount of children, to say the least, many of them older boys.  Every Shabbos, he wakes up very early, davens at the first minyan possible, and spends the morning learning with all of his children.


Many years ago, somebody told me that he asked a certain rav in Chicago (who is on this list and probably doesn’t remember the story…but, we’ll call him Rabbi K.) if he should take his son to shul and learn with him after every Shabbos.  Rabbi K. responded, “You know…some of my fondest memories with my children are playing games and making ice-cream sundaes with them after Shabbos."


Now, his wife and daughter are also on this list, so I don’t want to praise them or anything, but I will admit, the children turned out okay.  Some say they all turned out super-duper and they have a very close-knit family, all bnei-Torah, etc., but I don't want to let it get to their heads or anything :)


The point being, one of the main points of education is simply spending time with one’s children.  It’s important to remember that even if you’re not doing something “Torahdik,” it’s still under the realm of Torah.

With that, I wish you all a great Shabbos!