PARENTS DUTY TO ENABLE THEIR CHILDREN TO LEARN
AND LIVE TORAH LIVES AND THE ROLE OF PARENTS
PRAYERS IN THEIR CHILDREN LEARNING TORAH
- A student’s success in his Torah studies often depends to a
large extent on the encouragement he gets from his parents.
Therefore the attitude of parents to their sons’ Torah studies is
a topic that we would like to discuss here as well.
- In every generation it was always manifestly clear that Jewish
parents wanted their children to grow up to be great Torah
scholars. Irrespective of whether or not the fathers themselves
were able to learn Torah, their most sincere wish was that their
children should be able to learn, and for that goal were prepared
to make great sacrifices.
- There are any number of well-known stories to corroborate
this idea. Here is not the place for them, but anyone who knows
older people who were alive a generation or two ago can ask
them and they will surely verify it.
- Unfortunately, in recent years there are houses where the
priorities have changed and parents do not all understand how
important it is for their children to learn Torah.
- Know that man is only a temporary guest in this world. We
all hope to live and be healthy until the ripe old age of 120, but
when his time comes each one of us will find himself in the next
world. Our souls will remain there for all eternity – millions and
millions of years, without any end. What happens to a person –
his soul – in the world-to-come depends on many things, but the
two most important ones are contained in the answers to: How
did he conduct himself in this world? and what are the children
and descendants he left in this world are doing here now? Every
moment when they learn Torah and do what Hashem wants of
them in this world, their parents enjoy the reward of the world
- to-come, a kind of reward which is too indescribably sublime for
us to even contemplate.
- All parents ought to be aware of the fact that in the next
world they will rejoice about whatever they did to encourage
and support their children learning Torah. Similarly, if ח”ו they
prevented them learning, or made it difficult in any way, there is
no doubt that in the next world they will regret it very much.
Just as we can not grasp the splendor of the reward in the world
- to-come, so too do we have no inkling of how terrible will be the
regret one feels there in the world of truth.
Know too, that the Torah does not change. It has been passed
down through all the generations by word of mouth ever since
Moshe Rabbeinu heard it directly from Hashem.
The traditional way in which Jewish parents conducted
themselves has always been to use everything at their disposal
to encourage their children to learn as much Torah as possible.
If anyone has any doubts about the matter, he need only find
out about his own ancestors – maybe even his own parents – and
he will hear that they were, quite literally, prepared give up
everything they had and live lives of poverty and deprivation, so
that their children could learn Torah. We are no cleverer than
those generations of the past, but unfortunately foreign
influences, originating from non-Jewish sources, have found
their way into our camp. They have complicated matters which
to our parents and grandparents always seemed straightforward
and obviously true. We could elaborate with proofs from our
Sages and their holy writings, but this is not the place for it; this
chapter was written only as incidental to the others.
- Furthermore it is well-known that in the past, parents used to
daven for their children (- and many do still nowadays,
regrettably not all) They prayed to Hashem and begged him that
their children should be worthy of learning Torah as much as
possible and that they should have the pure, holy, and exalted
fear of Hashem that every Jew strives for. They would pour out
their hearts to Hashem every day in tearful supplication for
The Chazon Ish claimed that “when a non-religious Jew does
teshuva and comes back to the fold, whether he came to the
truth himself or others made him aware of it, it is very often the
result of the prayers of his grandparents several generations
earlier who used to daven that their children and grandchildren
should all learn Torah.”
Harav Shach said that when someone becomes a learned
Torah scholar, or one of the Torah leaders of the generation, or
if he publishes seforim which become popular and are studied
by many Torah scholars, it is natural for people to give the
Talmid Chacham himself the credit for his accomplishments.
Yet, the truth is that it may not always be so. Very often the
prayers of his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents
influenced his success more than anything else.
- Know that prayer is a very powerful force indeed. We can not
even imagine the impact it has on everything around us. The
Medrash says that the ‘gates of prayer’ are never shut, and
ומי גוי גדול אשר לו :says which פרשת ואתחנן in possuk a quotes
a great so is Which. ‘אלקים קרובים אליו כה’ אלקינו בכל קראנו אליו
nation that it has Hashem close to it, as Hashem our G-d is close
to us whenever we call to Him?’