May 6, 2021 / 24 Iyar, 5781 • Parshat Behar - Bechukotai
Issue 665
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Honoring our Children

If a man consecrates part of his house to be holy to G-d....
If a man consecrates his inherited field to G-d

Leviticus 27:14-21

The Torah instructs the Jewish people in the ways one may donate real estate or land to charity in service of the Temple. Now, why would the Torah allow us to give to the Temple possessions that G-d has granted us? Isn’t this being ungrateful to G-d, or perhaps shirking the responsibility that He has placed upon us by putting these resources at our disposal?

The answer is that all our possessions really belong to G-d. He has just entrusted them to our care during our lifetimes in order that we refine them, and in order that by refining them, we refine ourselves and the world. It follows that we have no inherent “rights” to what we possess; they are not ours to abuse or waste at our discretion.

If this is true of our external possessions, it is true all the more of ourselves: our unique talents and our physical bodies. We must take proper care of them and direct them toward positive, holy ends; they are not ours to abuse or misuse. And if this is true of ourselves, it is true all the more of those whom we value even more than ourselves: our children. Our children belong to G-d, who has entrusted them to our care in order for us to raise them to be good, upright, and holy. It is our nature as parents to spare no effort or expense in pursuit of what is best for our children.

Our highest priority should be to provide them with a Jewish education, based on the Torah’s eternal values. This is the best way both to ensure their truest, most lasting happiness, and to ensure that they grow into the kind of people that G-d wants them to be.

—from Daily Wisdom #1