homepage homepage programs

Shabbat Shoftim – Children Ought to Know


A father and son were heading home one Friday afternoon after purchasing 3 loaves of challah for Shabbat.

On their way, a poor man stops them asking for a challah, and the father happily hands him one.

“How many challahs are left?” the father asks his son.

“Why, 2 of course,” says the boy.

“No, you’re making a mistake my son…you’ll understand after Shabbat,”  says the father.

Shabbat ends and the father turns to his son again and asks, “So, how many loaves of challah are left now?”  

“Clearly none! We ate the other two during Shabbat!” responds the boy.

“You’re mistaken,” says the father, “we do, in fact, have 1 challah left.

You see, the challah we gave away to the poor man always remains with us – that act of kindness never ceases to exist.”

People often ask, what can I do to educate my children better? I send them to the best schools, providing them with education under truly skilled teachers…what more can I do?

The answer is simple, and yet one which requires our active input. Life is not taught by the book, it is taught by example. So while proper schooling is vital, we cannot expect the school’s efforts to bear fruit without our daily living example.

Consider our own childhood experiences: how often does a precious memory of our parents’ behavior motivate us to persevere or inspire us to make a sacrifice in life?

It is the lifestyle we choose, and the way we behave towards others that will ultimately teach our children proper values, inspiring them to lead beautiful, fulfilling lives.

It is therefore vital to share with our children the good we do. If we volunteer somewhere or support a good cause, our children should know about it. And when we do good and engage with our children by sharing with them the good we do, that is what helps them develop the right perception for life.

We can be creative in our discussions. Similar to the challah story, that I am sure left an indelible mark on that child’s life.

That one challah left a timeless mark in the child’s heart!

That is what we need today. That’s education!

Rabbi Mendy