Dear Readers,

Have you ever had a beloved educator?

Educators aren’t just teachers in a school setting. Life’s experience can often be the best classroom. Anyone who has an influence on someone’s life plays a role in education.

We’ve all had educators who have left an impact on us. Some of them may have left us reeling from negative memories. But if we’re fortunate, we may have experienced those unforgettable educators or mentors who endowed us with priceless gems that remain life-long gifts.

What made them so cherished?

The Hebrew word for “education” is chinuch. At the root of chinuch is the word chein, which means grace, beauty or charm. There are also two additional letters—a vov (20) and a chof (6)—that numerically equal 26, the numerical equivalent for G‑d’s holiest name, the Tetragrammaton.

The word chinuch hints to us about two core aspects of education and how to become effective educators.

Firstly, the job of an educator is to reveal their student’s chein, the unique grace and special charm that G‑d has planted in their soul. Help your student find the latent talents, aptitudes and strengths that G‑d has given them. Expose them to their unique G‑d-given abilities and teach them how to use them to make our world a better place. Obviously, in order to do so, you first need to recognize and appreciate these positive aspects within them.

So how can we measure the success of an educator? By the extent that they draw out these abilities. Has the student experienced their strengths and learned how to use them productively to better his environment? Or, conversely, has the student felt stifled by a rigid box of expectations without discovering their talents?

The second aspect of education is helping the student discover the chein, the grace and beauty of G‑d. Have you helped your student see G‑d’s goodness and love, and that G‑d’s beauty and power are always with them, propelling them forward? Have they perceived G‑d’s chein? That throughout their life’s journey, G‑d is cheering them on to fulfill their unique purpose and mission?

Education means learning skills and acquiring knowledge, but it’s so much more than spelling or mathematics. Good education should build character, ethics and morals, and provide skills to develop our personality and attitude.

The ability to educate another is an awesome responsibility. It is a role that each of us can step into—in the phenomenal opportunity of revealing to individuals their own exquisite beauty … and the beauty of G‑d!

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW