What preventive measures can we take with our children to avoid them falling into the hands of missionaries or other foolish things when they grow up?
The most influential method is to cause Jewish children to love their people. Because arguments are not suitable for them at such a young age. Besides, who wants to go into such details with little children, boys and girls of such a young age, and teach them how to dispute with missionaries? No; what we have to do is teach the Jewish people to love their Yiddishkeit – that’s the best preventive measure.
When a boy learns just Gemara for instance, so even if he’s a lamdan, but if there’s no idealism there, if it’s just a matter of getting good marks or of being praised for being a lamdan, it’s to him very dry. And now along comes somebody who will teach him fake idealism and inspire him with false inspirations, false idealism, false derech eretz, so-to-speak, to love your fellow man, so-to-speak. The truth is that it’s all garbage – they don’t love anybody except themselves but he is deceived by that because he didn’t hear about it in a Jewish house; so he thinks that Judaism is nothing but dry-as-dust, things that don’t have any spiritual content, and so he doesn’t have have any inspiration from that. That boy doesn’t love his People. It doesn’t mean he will become, chas v’sholom, a meshumad, but if he doesn’t love his People he’s not armed against outside influences.
The Jewish child has to learn idealism – it’s a very important element. Idealism is a very important subject, and you have to know how to teach it. Every parent can undertake to make his child a lover of Jews, that he should become an אוהב עמו ישראל – he should love his People. He should love the Jewish nation, to see the beauty of everything in the Am Yisroel.
When Chanukah comes, don’t merely teach him to light the candles, to be a מהדרין מן המהדרין, to use shemen zayis, to make a bracha right, to have his own menorah — all that is wonderful but it’s not enough. You have to teach him the background of the Chanukah story; the heroism of our forefathers who fought and gave their lives. Inspire him! That’s already a preparation for the battle against the gentile influence. You have to inspire the child. You have to talk to him.
Let’s say it’s Pesach; so you have to be very careful that there shouldn’t be any chometz. The mother says, “Watch out for chometz – don’t drop chometz on the floor before Pesach; see that you should eat on a towel because soon we’ll have to be bodek chometz.” Everything is done according to halacha; it’s very good, very good! But it’s not enough! You have to speak about the ideals of Pesach, about what chometz means. Chometz means we’re battling against the gentile influence that surrounded us in Mitzrayim. We wanted Hakodosh Boruch Hu to take us out from Mitzrayim so that we should be free from the enslavement to the wickedness of all the immorality that was prevalent in Mitzrayim. That’s the chometz — the chometz is the wickedness of the nations of the world. Of course, we have to watch all the halachos and guard everything, but you have to give the explanation that stands behind it.
Everything should be full of idealism; and by teaching the child the ideals of the Torah then he will be one hundred percent armed against all foreign ideologies.
TAPE # 940 (November 1993)