The way Yiddishkeit is transmitted

Graphic from here

“Yiddishkeit is only transmitted one way, through simcha. It’s not transmitted through intimidation.”

The quote, isn’t mine (but I wish it was).  It was said by Dr. Rabbi Jerry Lob, a clinical psychologist in Chicago.  These two sentences are actually from a lecture he gave a number of years ago for Priority-1 titled “The Making of a Mentch”.  The mp3 is available for streaming or downloading here.  I look at these everyday when I come into work.  My children would probably be better off if I posted them on the back door to read become I come home.

All too often the core values we want to impart, the middos we wish to highlight, and minhagim we wish to give over, and the Toarh we attempt to teach isn’t always transmitted through simcha.     This really should be a refrigerator magnet and sold as a fundraiser for a school or yeshiva (another good idea of mine that someone will profit from).

Think about it.  If teachers would read this before starting their teaching day, our chinuch system might be a little different.  If I read this before sitting down for a Shabbos meal, trying to get a child to start their limudei Kodesh homework, or telling my own kids kids to clean their rooms our home would be different.  I don’t think that showing simcha is the end all cure for all the ills within society, but it has got to be a better option than intimidation.

For more reading about happiness, I will refer you to an article about the Chazon Ish’s view of happiness that can be found here.

4 thoughts on “The way Yiddishkeit is transmitted

  1. ChicagoParent

    That is so true. I had a rebbe in high school that totally taught by intimidation and it’s a miracle that most of the guys in the shiur are still frum

  2. Mordechai Y. Scher

    Great post and true words.

    Rav Yaakov Moshe Harlop wrote that simha is brought about by hiddush – seeing what is new or interesting in Torah. Teachers have to share their enthusiasm for the content of Torah; show their students what is interesting and insightful and challenging and inspiring in Torah. If they don’t have that sense for themselves, then they shouldn’t be teaching.

    Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook used to say that Torah isn’t about acquiring lists of information. It should be transforming at any age. Unfortunately, too many schools are set up only to gauge how many data points we can repeat back on an exam.

    I would argue, by the way, that all this is true for any worthwhile education; not only Torat Hashem Temimah.

  3. Avram / Andrew

    I have been a baal tshuva for nearly 20 years. But I still remember back in grade school, when my Reform parents went to Israel as tourists. Some sort of haredi Jews through dirty diapers and rocks at my parents when they were taking photographs and driving on Shabbos. My parents didn’t know any better. I grew up thinking that the haredi were violent and mean. It’s a wonder I became frum.

    That’s the kind of kiruv we can do without. It’s a serious chillul Hashem. The best kiruv is to be happy.


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