As I was about to start work yesterday I read the horrible, tragic news about nine innocent men and women massacred in a Charleston, S. C., church. As difficult as it is for me to read about any hate crime at any time, in any place, directed against any people, this one hit home in a particularly poignant way.

Just before reading the news, I had finished watching—and was reflecting on—an hour-long video released last week. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, was addressing a Chassidic farbrengen in 1981, on what was then a growing epidemic of crime and violence in the world at large.

In the address, the Rebbe discussed the fundamental principles of faith and behavior that apply to all humankind, everywhere, known as the Noahide Laws: the simple, once-widespread truth that there is a G‑d who created and directs the world and cares about what is going on down here; and that there are fundamental rights and wrongs decreed by G‑d for all humankind—such as not to steal, murder, hurt others, or even speak disparagingly of others.

These G‑d-given ideas and ideals, and yes, rules, were once part and parcel of life in most every home. So much so, the Rebbe noted, that they did not have to be taught to children in schools, since they had learned them at home, and only needed to be reinforced by the educational system.

More than 30 years ago, before all the technological changes that are reshaping and redefining how we do business, how we communicate, and how we live, the Rebbe highlighted contemporary society’s most awful paradox: That even as knowledge is progressing, human civilization—the sum total of civilized human behavior—was not keeping pace, and in some very important ways, was even regressing.

Since then, although violent crime may have returned in general to its level in the 1960’s, a sense of moral responsibility, an awareness of right and wrong, respect and awe for the sanctity of human life—these are continuing to fall by the wayside, collateral damage in the wake of human progress.

Then today we read the news about this latest example of worldwide human regression. More murders of innocent people in a house of worship. How many every day? Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists.

The solution is not an easy one, and it is with no small amount of discomfort that I fail to see how it easily can be achieved. It requires an about-face in our understanding of what good effective, education means.

As the Rebbe said 34 years ago—and as is so much more urgently important today—it requires not only a return to humankind’s former understanding of what is right and wrong, but a return to the lost understanding of what the rights and responsibilities of parents, teachers and children ought to be.

For the world to change for the better, for massacres like those in Charleston, S.C., to end, once and for all, people need to know, and children need to be taught, from the earliest age, at home and in every school, the bedrock of sustainable society: That we are one humanity created and directed by one G‑d, the Creator and Director who cares about His world and about each one of us, and who has given us some fundamental rules that we all must live by.