The Dubno Maggid told a story that should be learned by every Jewish child. He told of a father in a small Eastern European village who was walking his child to cheder, to school. Suddenly they heard a fanfare of trumpets and an elaborate coach pulled by beautiful horses rode down the road. The coach stopped right by them and out stepped a man wrapped in lush furs and dripping with jewels, dazzling the onlookers.
The father whispered to his son: “Take a good look, my child. For unless you learn and live Torah, that’s what you are going to look like!”
Learning Torah — and living Torah — can save us from the excesses that masquerade as meaning. How many of us are wise enough to whisper those words to our children — or heed them ourselves?
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. His latest book is “Why Faith Matters” (HarperOne).
From: Jewish Week, Sept. 15, 2009