The Torah is the greatest story ever told and as stirring a tract on history and ethics as has ever been published, every word a moral, every idea meaningful.

For several Torah portions, beginning with Terumah, we digress from history to architecture, and from G‑dly service to statistics, as the Torah enters into a detailed description of the fundraising, construction and the interior decoration of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle.

It was a beautiful building. Proud timbers, richly brocaded fabrics and golden appliances of worship. A feast to the eye and a celebration of splendor. The temporal home of G‑d and the earthly abode for Divinity. One can only imagine the dedication and skill rendered by the artisans and the munificence of the Jews who funded this most worthy project.

All greatness and glory resided within those walls, and from its portals streamed grace and good fortune for all humanity.

The cherubs demonstrate the preeminent position that our youth maintain

The golden seven-branched menorah illuminated the world. The golden alter was the source of blessing and sustenance for mankind. The golden ark encapsulated holiness and spirituality, while on the ark rested the golden cherubs with their childlike countenances, symbolizing youth and renewal.

Rabbi Meir Shapiro once pointed out that in cases of emergency or in times of extreme poverty, all these holy vessels, with just one exception, could be constructed out of less expensive metals. However, no matter how desperate the circumstances, the keruvim – cherubs – must always be made from pure gold.

Rabbi Meir, an educator par excellence, explained this distinction by contrasting the care and education of our youth to every other facet of Judaism. In many communities around the world, synagogues and social clubs are maintained lavishly while schools are allowed to decay. People donate money to hospitals and retirement villages, fund anti-discrimination commissions, Jewish history and Holocaust museums, maintain Yiddish theatres and Hebrew language libraries. All are worthy causes and deserving of support, yet they are not, and should not become, our communal priority.

Our overarching, single greatest focus and the spotlight on which most attention must shine should be the Jewish education of our children. When it comes to education – training the new generation into the pathways of faith and knowledge - we cannot compromise. No concessions, no conciliation. Our children need and deserve the best.

The cherubs were placed on top of the ark and must always be of gold, demonstrating the preeminent position that our youth maintain in society and the need to preserve and perpetuate our religion and beliefs at all times and under all circumstances.

There is nothing greater or more deserving of our support than educating the next generation, and we must dedicate our best efforts and devote all our fortunes to their cause.