Written by David Komer
A little dvar Torah on education in light of Chanukah (based on a book from R’ Trugman):
Chanukah shares the same root with Education (חינוך vs חנוכה), so by looking at Chanukah, we can learn what education is all about:
* Dedication (as in the temple being re-dedicated for Jewish use after being tainted by idol worship)- an educator must be dedicated to their mission to teach the student. Not just because it’s a job, but from a place of dedication to the human being in front of them. To think about what the student needs in order to learn best. Ultimately to really care and put in the effort to help the student learn.
* Grace (the 2-letter “gate” of the 3-letter “root” of both words is chet and nun: חן, grace) – – the atmosphere needs to be conducive to learning. This means the way the educator speaks, for example – it should be in an inviting way that feels “graceful”. Rebuke should come through a lens of beauty and balance.
* Training (another meaning of the shared root) – didn’t see this exactly in the section I saw, but I believe it fits… can’t remember where I heard it. Anyway – the goal of the educator is not just to dump information on the student. That’s a different word (maybe “to inform”). Education is training – like dedication, it means investment in the other person on a deep level. We see this in the halachot of lighting candles where both by chanukah and in the temple, it’s not enough to just wave a match over it and hope it lights. Rather, you have to keep it there until the wick catches on. So to an educator needs to stay with the student until they’ve properly trained them to carry the flame forwards.
David Komer was previously the Jewish Interactive CTO.