For most children, school has begun, though young adults are waiting for the start of college classes. For adults, learning opportunities are available, from college campuses to online classes. Jewish learning is also available for all ages and stages — but this means reaching out and committing to continued learning, and continued growing. You are never too old, or too young, to learn.
In Judaism, learning is one of the key values that has kept us alive and vital through the generations. Here are a few quotes and commentary (my own). Take these, talk about them with family and friends, and then find a learning opportunity that works for you.
“Only learning that is enjoyed will be learned well.” — Judah HaNasi
This idea of enjoying learning is crucial for all ages We must especially send this message to all who teach children. Adults can vote with their feet; if they are not enjoying a class, they can leave it. Children, however, do not always have the choice, so we need to remember the words of Judah HaNasi.
“A student should not be embarrassed if a fellow student has understood something after the first or second time and he has not grasped it even after several attempts. If he is embarrassed because of this, it will turn out that he will come and go from the house of study without learning anything at all.” — Shulkhan Arukh
This is a challenge as we grow older. We think we should know something, and are embarrassed to ask if we don’t understand. Don’t let embarrassment or fear stop you from learning and asking questions.
“Much wisdom I learned from my teachers, more from my colleagues, from my pupils most of all.” — Maimonides
As a teacher, this is my favorite quote. I have learned so much from my students of all ages.
”Say not, ‘When I have leisure I will study.’ Perhaps you will have no leisure.” — Pirke Avot 2:3
And, here is the mandate to use to take the time to learn.
I would not be doing my job as a Jewish educator at the Jewish Community Center if I did not plug our classes, films, books and other activities. Opportunities to learn exist at every synagogue and Jewish organization. Find what interests you and begin your journey. And, I would love to learn with you, and from you, at the J.