Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Today marks ten years since the passing of Rav Yehuda Amital, founder of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, Holocaust survivor, cabinet minister, and educator of generations of students. Here are a few of his educational principles:
- "Children can sense if the words of their parents are sincere or just for show. One of the central problems of education is that parents demand from children behavioral norms that they themselves do not follow. Authenticity, without pretense or fakery, is critical. There is enormous power in sincerity and its abiding influence is profound."
- "We need to return to Torah learning that demands effort, focus, and dedication of the mind. The brain -- with its intellectual force -- is the most important organ of the body. Should we confine Torah to physical practices? Shall we take a shofar and blow into it with our mouths, put tefillin on our arms, fill our stomachs with matzos -- and leave only our brains out of the picture? Whoever is not preoccupied with Torah learning lacks something basic. Shall we designate the brain solely for career needs, for pursuing an academic degree, and use every other organ to worship Hashem except the brain?"
- "Placing the individual at the center of the universe results in freedom from obligations. Individualism and unbridled freedom exist in opposition to every form of obligation -- to the nation, to the state, to society, to a spouse, to the family. It is as if the individual stands up and proclaims: 'I have no obligations -- everything I do is not because I must do it, but because I want to do it.' This is a destructive path. One of the greatest challenges these days is to educate effectively about obligations, or faithfulness, to the people around us."
In his memory.