These words are written from Baltimore, Maryland. While here, I was privileged to have a fascinating meeting with the Rosh Yeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, 87-year-old Rabbi Aharon Feldman, a member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Great Torah Sages) of America, who has educated thousands of students.
During our meeting, I asked what, in his opinion, is the most important educational message for our generation. And this was his answer:
“A human being’s greatest enemy is the inner voice which says: You, and you alone, are in the center. This is the greatest danger, this is our evil inclination, and this is something with which every person must do battle. People must know that they are part of something bigger. They need faith, ideals. America as well as Europe are in crisis at the moment because they don’t have this type of common vision.
“Human beings were not created for their own sake, and sometimes it is hard for people to grasp that fact. People might act solely in accordance with their desires, even if they are exposed to high culture and acquire a higher education. We saw that in our generation in Germany. The most important thing is working on oneself. People become human and noble when they succeed in devoting themselves to other interests beyond their own self gratification. This is our ongoing struggle over the definition of what it means to be truly human”.