Israel Forever

For the week ending 22 July 2006 / 26 Tammuz 5766

A Matter of Priorities

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

“We shall build corrals for our sheep and cities for our children” is what the heads of the tribes of Reuven and Gad declared they would do to provide shelter for their possessions and families in their portion of Eretz Yisrael while the men joined the rest of the nation conquering the rest of the Promised Land.

But when their leader Moshe repeated this condition, we learn in this week’s Torah portion, he switched the order, cautioning them to show more concern for their children than for their animals.

It is difficult to imagine that Moshe actually suspected these fine Jews of placing their animals above their children. Perhaps he was cautioning them not to make the mistake so many parents have made throughout the generations, up to our own day, of thinking that they will best care for the future of their children by first amassing wealth rather than placing priority on their education.

This was an important lesson and is an important one today. A society more concerned with the material comforts of its youth than in educating them in Torah values is mixing up its priorities.

Only when the spiritual security of its youth has top priority will there be a guarantee of Israel forever.

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