Judaism Eternal: Selected Essays from the Writings of Samson Raphael Hirsch - Vol. 1

By I. Grunfeld; Samson Raphael Hirsch | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVIII
EDUCATIONAL TALKS

I

"BEHOLD, the inheritance of God is children." ( Psalm 127. 3.) "When you tie up the Lulab, then it is time to moor the ships." So says an old, old proverb, designating the season of winter as the time when men gather together round the domestic hearth. It beckons to us to retreat before the inclemency of inhospitable nature and to take up our abode for good in the shelter of the well-loved roof that harbours those who are most dear to us.

It is true that the age in which we live is doing its best to rob this proverb also of its veracity. Equipped with compass and steam-engine, man defies all storms and in the bitterest winter weather ventures forth in however fragile a craft to brave the elements. Nevertheless, winter remains the season when we are most likely to find a man sitting at home with his wife and children, and when therefore we can expect to obtain the readiest hearing for the talks which we open with this article.

Is there a father or a mother who would not enjoy chatting about their children and their education? Assuredly not, were it for no other reason than to be able to say to the talkative friend "you are telling us nothing new; you are holding forth to us about something that we have known for a long time, and practised far better and more wisely than you could teach us."

Nevertheless, even at the risk of "bringing owls to Athens", as the Greeks said, or, as our ancient sages put it, bringing straw to the Afreans, we shall venture forth on our educational talks. Perhaps in one or other of the straws there lies a grain of truth that should not be disdained even by an Afrean. Possibly the warning call of the wise old bird may draw the

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