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Telling Tales of Sacrifice

Telling Tales of Sacrifice

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Children’s books come in all shapes and sizes, with content spanning an entire spectrum. There are silly fairy tales, with kings in faraway lands, and fantastic fables, stretching the creativity of a child. There are poems and stories and rhymes that children cherish, eagerly listening to the book being read again and again. And then there are stories with morals, with characters that can impart a lesson no lecture could transmit.

The private tutor hired by the Previous Rebbe to teach his daughter Chaya Mushka, future wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, loved to tell stories to his charges. However, he preferred a genre of true stories—stories that were logical and that made perfect sense. He avoided miraculous stories or stories of great self-sacrifice. Why tell stories of men and women who put their life in great danger for the sake of Judaism if that could sow fear in the heart of his young student?

The Previous Rebbe instructed otherwise. A Jewish child ought to hear tales of sacrifice, of the extent that a Jew will go to preserve G‑d’s will. Let the child hear about clandestine Passover seders, underground yeshivahs, and how Jews throughout history risked their lives to observe Shabbat or carry out a brit milah. This is the foundation of a Jewish child’s education—to know that no matter what the circumstances, he or she will be committed to G‑d and Torah.

Those were the stories young Chaya Mushka was raised with, and those were the stories she proved to live with.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will tell my child a story of courage and impart the values I hold so dear.

(El N’Shei U’Bnos Yisroel, pp. 411-412)

Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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jim dallas February 14, 2017

beats humpty dumpty. and inherent value should be learned! Reply