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I want to pull together a few bits of Torah from the parasha, Bo בא, as well as a piece of beautiful (sadly, overlooked) prayer, and finally, a personal thought —
1 Listen to the opening of the portion: God said to Moshe, ‘go to Pharaoh; I’ve hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants —in order to show My signs in the midst of Egypt. Speak it in the ear of your children and of your grandchildren…” Amazing. A crucial part of our people’s redemption is about our teaching the Story of who we are to our children. Our community’s commitment to teach our children is sacred —the young students are the future, our future unfolding before our eyes —
2 That is what informs the rabbinic conversation that slipped into the Shabbat morning prayers, just before the rousing Ein Keloheynu אין כאלהינו —Rabbi Elazar taught in the name of Rabbi Hanina: Students of the Sages multiply peace in the world. This idea draws from a slice of text in Isaiah: ‘When all the children are taught of God, great will be the peace of your children.’
Great Rabbinic Pun
The Hebrew word for ‘your children’ is Banayich בניך. And the Hebrew word for ‘builders’ is Bonayich בוניך. Our teachers ‘reread’ the prophet —instead of ‘great will be the peace of your children בניך, ’read: great will be the peace of your builders בוניך —our children are the builders —of the future.
Meeting my grand nephew in Brooklyn
One the highlights of our last weekend in NYC was meeting a handsome three week old lad named Emmett; his Hebrew name is Emet אמת, which means Truth. And how totally cool is that? Well, for me —soaking in his face gave me a glimpse of my family’s future.
One more bit from the Weekend.
So I joined 44 rabbinic colleagues and basked in the love of community as we received our de-grees conferred upon by JTS. It was a celebration of rabbinic leadership, a beautiful sharing of Torah —which takes us back to the quote about students of Sages bringing shalom into the world —and each of us in within the kehillot in which we serve, strives to embody that text from Isaiah —and when we revisit this week’s Torah, we see just how important it is to teach —the magic of the teacher, the parent handing traditions into the future. Our children בניך are our builders בוניך.