Israel Forever

For the week ending 26 December 2009 / 8 Tevet 5770

Secret of Survival

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"He (Yaakov) sent Yehuda ahead of him to Yosef, to prepare ahead of him in Goshen." (Bereishet 16:23) "To prepare for him a house of Torah study from which teaching would go forth." (Midrash cited by Rashi)

The secret of Jewish survival, the Torah teaches us, depends on education.

In his maiden speech in the House of Lords, Britain's Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks echoed this idea in eloquent fashion.

"To defend a country you need an army but to defend civilization you need schools," he declared, adding that secular schools could learn from the value Jews have placed on learning.

"In ancient times," Sacks noted, "the Egyptians built pyramids, the Greeks built temples, and the Romans built amphitheaters. Jews built schools. And because of that, alone among ancient civilizations, Judaism survived."

Modern echoes of the ancient formula to preserve Israel forever.

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