Focus on Education
I keep reading statistics about Jewish achievement in business, science, etc. For such a small people, the percentage of Nobel Prize winners is staggering. The theory I’ve heard to explain this is the Jewish focus on education. Is this correct?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
Jewish education is surely a big part of it. The Talmud describes the greatness of Rebbe Yehoshua. The Talmud asks: How did he get to be such a big tzaddik? The Talmud answers: When Rebbe Yehoshua was born, his mother set his baby carriage outside the Yeshiva. This little baby was exposed to lots of Torah scholarship from a very young age.
Yet how did this contribute to Rebbe Yehoshua's greatness? After all, he was only a baby; did he absorb the material through osmosis or something?! The answer is that as much as the influence of being around the yeshiva made Rebbe Yehoshua great, it was also the influence of having a mother who was willing to sacrifice herself to bring him there every day, who showed him the importance of being Jewish, of having the right values, of being in a positive Jewish environment.
Jewish education is not just the technicalities of learning the alphabet and the multiplication tables. It’s about having a commitment to the values that have driven the Jewish people for all these millennia: the recognition that God runs the world; that we each have a soul that needs to be nurtured even more than our physical body; and that we have a responsibility to make the world a better place.
I believe that this, more than anything, is the secret to Jewish success.