Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mah yom m'yomayim? - a true story, and a true letter

A true story:
After we moved, we realized in the first year that our daughters were enrolled in a school that did not meet their needs and which we were not comfortable with. Not wanting them to miss much class time, we used Yom haAtzmaut to take them to a different school to meet the principal, so they were only missing a chagiga. The school in question was having a normal day. As we were about to leave, the assistant said to the principal that they are missing the fun in order to see him. He was absolutely bewildered – he had no clue what the assistant was referring to, or why the day was in any way special. Yes, he had heard of Yom haAtzmaut, but he had no clue it was on that day – it was like knowing there is a Canadian independence day, but it is not marked on your calendar. Mah yom m’yomayim?

A true letter, Michtav M’Eliyahu (vol 3 p. 352), by R’ E.E. Dessler z”l, dated Elul, 1948:
Our living now in the Holy Land is difficult to define as ‘aschalta d’geula’, but nevertheless, it marks great chessed [in being able to go] from one extreme to another - from the extreme of the destruction of six million of our bretheren, to the extreme of our people settling in our State in the Holy Land. From this one must learn and fix emunah in one’s heart. Woe to one who will come to the Day of Judgment still blind to seeing a matter as concrete as this.

(BTW, my kids switched to a better match, though not that particular school. My views on chinuch are for another post, but suffice it to say that I would rather sacrifice a chagiga today and have them in a class where wearing a skirt all the time (including non-school days), not owning a TV, and having high limudei kodesh expectations are closer to the norm than the exception. I regularly bemoan the fact that I can't have both.)

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