Opinion: Passover reflection: We must be open to something greater than ourselves

Rabbi Mendy Schochet
Rabbi Mendy Schochet
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For millennia, the prevailing belief was that knowledge would be humanity's salvation. However, in a post-Oct. 7 world, it has become evident how mistaken this notion was. Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need for moral and ethical education.

In 1978, Congress and President Jimmy Carter passed a joint resolution celebrating the Rebbe's contributions to education. This resolution declared the birthday of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, of blessed memory, as Education and Sharing Day. Since then, every president, along with numerous governors, mayors, and public servants, has observed this day yearly.

It highlights the critical importance of including moral and ethical education alongside core subjects, such as English, math, and science. In the words of President Ronald Reagan, “Education must be more than just training in facts and figures. It must also include instructions in the deepest ethical values of our civilization.”

The Rebbe, as he is universally known, studied physics and mathematics at the University of Berlin from 1928 to 1932. He later obtained an engineering degree from the Sorbonne. His academic records reveal that he attended the lectures of some of the most prestigious minds of the time. He also witnessed firsthand the almost total surrender of German academia to the Third Reich.

What matters is not what we know, but rather who we are and how we behave. Education is more than how to earn a living; it is teaching how to live.

As the Passover holiday approaches, we reflect on the significance of the unleavened bread called matzo. Matzo is humble and basic, made only with flour and water, symbolizing humility and a willingness to grow. To understand that life must have meaning or purpose, we must be open to something greater than ourselves.

Humility is a key ingredient for a moral education because it cultivates a receptive mindset, encouraging individuals to learn from diverse perspectives, acknowledge their mistakes, and empathize with others, fostering a more compassionate and ethical society.

If you would like to claim a complimentary box of hand-baked matzo, you can visit The Chabad House at 361 S. County Road or call 561-290-2329 or online at palmbeachjewish.com/pesach.

Wishing the Palm Beach community a holiday seeped in the Matzo Mentality, surrounded by friends and family,

Rabbi Mendy Schochet is dean of The Chabad House Palm Beach Torah Institute.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Opinion: Passover reflection: Moral, ethical education needed