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Thoughts for the end of August

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

It's the end of August and the new school year is upon us. Yet the school year does not really begin in September; it's already in session, and has been so for two months. Summer vacation is the time of year when the most critical schooling takes place. It's the time when children receive instruction about real life through observation of their parents, seeing how they speak, work, drive the car, play with them in the park or vacation with them in a hotel. During summer vacation, our children learn by watching us how to relate to the world that exists outside of school. They study us carefully up close, and the lessons they learn from our behaviors will last a lifetime.

Clearly, summer vacation is so long that we run out of patience. In spite of this, just before we "deposit" our kids once again into the hands of their teachers (thanks to all of you!) we need to remember that the connection between parents and their children is the most significant connection of all. Even after we read at the beginning of each school year about "the best teachers," there is no doubt that, throughout the course of our lives, our most influential teachers are our parents.

Indeed, nearly every connection can be severed. A friendship can fade away, a marriage can end in divorce, a contract can be breached -- but the ties between parents and children can never be undone. Even when there are arguments and sharp words are exchanged between them, parents and children remain forever attached to one another.

This is such a strong connection, so powerful and fundamental, that the Torah portion we read this week uses it as a paradigm for the connection between us and God. "You are children of the Lord your God." In other words, despite the occasional distance or even rift between us and our parents, or between us and God, we will always be the children of our parents, and we will always be God's children as well..

May everyone enjoy success in these final days of the summer school year.


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