by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Green
In this week's parsha the Torah talks about exposing our children to Torah,
and Torah functions.. "And their children who don't know will hear, and
learn to fear Hashem Your G-d _all of the days_ etc." Why does the Torah
stress "all of the days"? Either the goal is to see to it that observance
remains throughout one's generations, or it is a statement about the
quality of our observance of Torah. That is to say that we can understand
the words "all of the days" as expressing expectations to us specifically
about how we perform commandments, as opposed to making sure observance
remains in our families. Even so, we'll see that the two really go hand in
The quality of observance which we are speaking of is consistency. Many
commandments are meant to be performed daily. Nevertheless, many people
have ebbs and flows. Sometimes we give it our best, and other times we
backslide. Even though that might be very "human" - it is not the preferred
way to be.
The Chofetz Chaim has a parable to illustrate this point. Reuven meets
Shimon. "Greetings, Shimon. How are you?" Oh, Reuven, I don't wish it on
you. I'm quite ill." "But Shimon, to look at you is to see a man who looks
in the best of health." "Indeed, I feel well today, Reuven, but I'm
suffering from a chronic fever. Today I may feel well, but I could wake up
with a high fever tomorrow. I've been suffering with this for quite some
time now. So you see, I really am a very sick man."
So it is with the way we run our lives. If we are not consistent in
important matters, it is a reflection on our entire performance - even at
the times we do work consistently. G-d wants our performance of His
commandments to be done with consistent effort, enthusiasm, and
forethought. If not, it is a statement about the entirety of our devotion
to G-d and His commandments.
I believe there is another important point to emphasize here. The topic of
the passage is conveying loyalty to G-d to children who were not in the
wilderness experiencing G-d's miracles and salvation. It's not something
which can be done in one day with a good speech, or an inspiring seminar.
It's a process. We convey it to our children daily. They see what we
consider important. What do we do enthusiastically on a daily basis? Well,
of course, we never forget to come to the dinner table. Many people would
say that a day is not a day without watching one's favorite show, or
"chatting" on the internet. This is what we are conveying to those who
emulate us. The things we do every day "religiously" are the things which
are most important to us. By examining what we think is really important,
we may find that we would alter some things we often do. We might even
place a new emphasis on some things we would like to do, especially knowing
that generations may emulate our qualities.
Before Yom Kippur, it is customary to introspect. Let us ask ourselves if
the example we set is one which we would be proud to see in the next
generation. What should we continue doing? What should we eliminate? What
is the approach to take to self-improve? "In order that they will hear and
learn...all of the days."
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.