Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
I want to tell you something,” said Rav Yaakov Bender at the annual dinner of Darchei Torah, a large educational institution in New York where he serves as principal. 2,500 students are learning there. “We are the grandfather and the grandmother of our future grandchildren! Today is the anniversary of the passing of my grandfather, Avraham Bender. He never missed praying with the public in a synagogue. He always left the house fifteen minutes early in order to arrive in time for praying. He always learned too. I do not remember entering his room when I did not see him learning. Shabbat meals with him were full of singing. These are my memories. I will also never forget reciting the Shema at bedtime before going to sleep with my mother, how she sang to us and told us Jewish stories. And what about us? Make sure your children see you doing things that are truly important. Whenever you come home, make sure to immediately leave your phone in the kitchen, together with your key chain. You do not want to miss out on those rare and precious moments that pass all too quickly, those fleeting opportunities to live and grow with your children. A child is waiting to hear: ‘How was your day? What did you do? What did you learn? What did you eat?’. This holds true at every age. Rav Moshe Feinstein explains why our sages wrote of Yaakov Avinu that ‘he sought to dwell in tranquility’. Yaakov thought that his children were already grown up and that he could now live quietly and relax since he had finished with their education. ‘The truth is that there is no such thing,’ Rav Feinstein said. ‘Our children need us throughout their lives. Education never ends’. My grandfather passed away 46 years ago. Do such people belong only to that generation which has vanished? That’s it? We need to build ourselves to be worthy grandfathers and grandmothers to the next generation”.