Friday, May 22, 2015

A question for Shavuos

Guest Post

It is axiomatic that we are moser nefesh for our children. We spend exorbitant sums so that we can send our children to Jewish schools so that they may obtain a proper education. One of the main lessons that they are taught is: "Torah is #1, there is no #2." Everything must be seen within the eyes of a torah-dik hashkafah. Our children are regaled with stories of tzadikim who put their lives on the line so they could learn one more passouk, one more tosfos. 

Nonetheless, when it comes to Shavous, I feel torn. Shavous is the pinnacle of celebrating the Torah. We have a whole holiday dedicated to learning and rejoicing not in a singular event (ma'amad Har Sinai), rather in the daily event of reengaging in our commitment to the Torah. 

Our leaders who preach that Torah learning should be the primary endeavor of our lives close their schools the day before yom tov. Simply put, our educators are being disingenuous. Yes, I agree that all the morahs and rebbies need to prepare for yom tov. Yes, I agree that people may wish to go away for yom tov. But what message are we sending our children? People who work in the secular world don't take off before yom tov and are still able to manage. My wife and I both work- she much more than I- yet we are able to plan and execute. Let us call a spade a spade: cancelling yeshiva on erev Shavous is hypocritical. 

But wait, it gets worse! Many schools have a late opening (or no opening for the girls- maybe their learning isn't as important?) on the day after Shavous. Again, what is the message that we are sending? These are the same schools that open on Sunday even after a late ending Shabbos.
All that I ask for is intellectual honesty.

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