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The educational principles of Rabbi Amital

הרב עמיטל

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

The following three educational principles were articulated by Rabbi Yehuda Amital, who passed away thirteen years ago today. He was a Holocaust survivor, head of the Har Etzion Yeshiva, a government minister, and a teacher of thousands:

1."One of the central problems in education is that parents demand behaviors from their children that they do not practice themselves. When parents serve as personal examples to their children, that is true education. When parents' expectations of their children do not match their own behaviors, they come across as insincere and are ignored."

2. "We must regard the study of Torah as we once did, as a matter of hard work and dedication. The brain with its intellectual prowess is the most important and powerful part of the body. Do we confine our spiritual life to the physical realm ? We take a shofar in our hands and blow it with our mouths, we put tefillin on our arms and heads, matzot are digested in our stomachs. Do we allow our brains alone to be neglected in our worship of God? Is the brain meant only for a career or an academic degree, while we delegate our divine service to the remaining parts of the body?"

3. "Positioning the individual in the center of the universe brings about freedom from obligation. Individualism and absolute freedom are incompatible with obligation -- to our nation, society, families, and marriage partners. It is as if the individual stands up and declares: 'I do not have any obligations. Everything I do is not because I have to do it, but because I want to do it.' This is a destructive mindset. One of the biggest educational challenges of our time is instilling a sense of obligation."

At a time when we tend to demand less, this is a clarion call to demand more.

In his memory.


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