This week Jews across the world will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I have been looking for an inspirational message for this time of year. The following is based on the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth. Rabbi Saks explains that even though Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the creation of the world and of man, the portion we read from the Torah (the Bible) is about the birth of Isaac. Rabbi Sacks comments that on this day one would think that we would read about G-D’s creation mainly creating the world and not about our creation (mans) in the birth of a child. We see from here that our relationship with G-D on this day is not as a creator but as a parent.
As I write this the next phase of Israeli- Arab peace talks are about to begin, the situation in Iran and how that will affect Israel and for that matter the entire world is very tenuous, not to mention the issues with the economy. How are we supposed to deal with and understand all of these complex issues? Rabbi Sacks says that the message that on Rosh Hashanah we read about the birth of Isaac gives of an insight of how we should approach these world issues. He says the following; “Don’t think about the past; or even present calculations of political interest or economic gain. Ask what impact this will have on future generation. Have in front of you the image of a single human child. The message of Rosh Hashanah is that greater than an understanding of creation is the ability to hear the cry of a child.”
I don’t think Rabbi Sacks wrote these words with educators in mind but as I read these powerful words I got my inspiration as an educator. As teachers we always have to have the image of our students in front of us at all times.
What important skills are we teaching our students?
How will the connection we make with our students change the rest of their lives?
What effect can we have on our students’ future?
Will we be able to hear the cries of our students?
As we celebrate Rosh Hashanah or as we begin the New School Year let us remember that we may not be able to deal with all or the global issues that we face nor do we have the capability of changing the past but we as educators do have the ability to think about what effect we have on future generations. May we always keep the image of our students on our minds and may we always be able to hear the cries of the children that need us.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year (or School Year)