RaYBaSH’s Ponderings of the Perkei Avot
By Yehudah ben Shomeyr
“Elisha the son of Avuyah would say: One who learns Torah in his childhood, what is this comparable to? To ink inscribed on fresh paper. One who learns Torah in his old age, what is this comparable to? To ink inscribed on erased paper.
Rabbi Yossei the son of Judah of Kfar HaBavli would say: One who learns Torah from youngsters, whom is he comparable to? To one who eats unripe grapes and drinks [unfermented] wine from the press. One who learns Torah from the old, whom is he comparable to? To one who eats ripened grapes and drinks aged wine.”
Education, especially religious education is of the utmost importance. For a child
comes forth from the womb as a sponge, ready and eager to learn,
somewhat out of necessity, and it is our responsibility to be that gate
deciding on what we allow to pass to get through to educate our children.
A child is never too young to begin a Torah education. In Moshe and
Ezra’s time it wasn’t just the adults who where called to hear the Torah,
but the sucklings as well. Just like air, it benefits us even though we may
not fully understand it; it is good simply to be exposed to it!
At the same time air can be polluted and can harm us, even so
we must be conscious of the air we breathe; we must be conscious of who
we learn Torah from. It does make all the difference.
In short, for best results educate young and learn from the old.
-- Yehudah ben Shomeyr