A question I received: Lately people in Israel are talking about combining traditions with children’s education. They want to bring the traditions and elements of Judaism into the general curriculum, but as the national culture, rather than religion.
Even secular parents, who weren’t taught to honor traditions as children, want their children to adopt these traditions, hoping that this will give them a different perspective on life and the world and prevent problems like drugs, alcoholism, depression and other diseases of our time. They hope that this will keep their children away from harm and make their lives safer.
My Answer: Kabbalah says that traditions can have a positive influence on people, as long as they are perceived as the nation’s cultural heritage and as long as they are kept for strengthening the family unit. However, in every other respect, people should live according to what Nature demands of them, according to its program of evolution.
According to Nature (or the plan of creation), man must understand Nature, discover how it is connected into a single, integral and perfect system, and consciously integrate himself into it as an integral, intelligent element.
In order to make us want to understand Nature and consciously integrate with it, Nature shows us our lack of harmony with it. We perceive such imbalance as all kinds of suffering, like wars, problems and distress. Gradually, we start realizing that all these problems are global and interconnected, and that they are all symptoms of one problem.
We then start understanding that maybe we’re the ones with the problem. This is what Nature is pushing us to understand, and not to uphold traditions. However, if traditions and other boundaries help us become corrected and fulfill Nature’s global plan, then of course, we should have them as well.
Concerning the plan you describe, of what the teachers and parents are hoping to do, I’m certain that it won’t work, because children have no such desire. Subconsciously, their desire is already directed at discovering the purpose of creation – the existence of the Creator. Our children are a completely different generation: They aren’t simply enormous egoists. Their desire for spirituality, called “the point in the heart,” is already being revealed. This desire is the embryo of the soul, and it is demanding its development. Previous generations did not have such giant egoism within their points in the heart.
Egoism has been evolving over thousands of years, demanding fulfillment from this world the whole time. However, today it isn’t the egoism that demands fulfillment, but the point in the heart, and this is why children no longer desire our world, but something else… something that’s still unclear. By acting the way we do, we imprison them; but to us, it seems like this is what’s best for them. Our generation does not have the time nor the place for these experiments. We need to immediately figure out what is going on, and then we will understand how we should raise our children!