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Angels & Children: Up, Up, Up

Lev Avos Blog

Exploring Tanach while reflecting on parenthood

Angels & Children: Up, Up, Up

Yechiel Shaffer

Director/Producer: Justin Baldoni - Producer: Ahmed Kolacek - Associate Producer: Fouad Elgohari - Editor: Nick Pezzillo

With the news of the terrifying tornado that hit Oklahoma City on Monday, one cannot help but be profoundly moved by the devastation.

Click on the above image to donate to a very worthy Jewish organization that assists in disaster relief
Click on the above image to donate to a very worthy Jewish organization that assists in disaster relief

Of course our thoughts are with those that have suffered from the extreme devastation and we pause to pray for those who have lost loved one.

In particular, the tragedies of late have seemed to devastate the most innocent of our society, children. From the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut to this latest disaster in Oklahoma City, one has to take note of the significant impact on the lives of children. It is humbling to consider the loss of life at such a young age. It is also difficult to understand the loss of innocence of those children that witnessed these devastating events. These events will define these children's lives and will impact the way they approach their future relationships, the way they interact with new people and the manner in which they build their families.

In this vein, one of the most important questions that faces the Jewish community is the role of Holocaust education. At what point do we teach our children about the dark history of the early 1940's? Recognizing that learning about the Holocaust steals an innocence from a child, when is the right time to expose our children to these terrible events?

שמות פרשת תרומה פרק כה

יח) ועשית שנים כרבים זהב מקשה תעשה אתם משני קצות הכפרת

יט) ועשה כרוב אחד מקצה מזה וכרוב־אחד מקצה מזה מן־הכפרת תעשו את־הכרבים על־שני קצותיו

כ) והיו הכרבים פרשי כנפים למעלה סככים בכנפיהם על־הכפרת ופניהם איש אל־אחיו אל־הכפרת יהיו פני הכרבים

18. And you shall make two golden cherubim; you shall make them of hammered work, from the two ends of the ark cover 19. And make one cherub from the one end and the other cherub from the other end; from the ark cover you shall make the cherubim on its two ends 20. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upwards, shielding the ark cover with their wings, with their faces toward one another; [turned] toward the ark cover shall be the faces of the cherubim.

In the very heart of our most sacred sanctuaries do we place the innocent child. This is almost contradictory to the extreme distain we have for graven images. In fact when the Romans invaded the Beis HaMikdash (The Temple in Jerusalem) they were shocked to discover what they perceived was graven images of children in our most holy area.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת יומא דף נד עמוד ב

אמר ריש לקיש: בשעה שנכנסו נכרים להיכל ראו כרובים המעורין זה בזה, הוציאון לשוק ואמרו: ישראל הללושברכתן ברכה וקללתן קללה, יעסקו בדברים הללו? מיד הזילום, שנאמר אכל מכבדיה הזילוה כי ראו ערותה

Resh Lakish said: "When the heathens entered the sanctuary, they saw the cherubs embracing one another, they took them out to the market place and said: 'This [Nation of] Israel whose blessings are blessings and curses are curses, are involved in such things!?' They immediately cheapened them, as the verse says, 'All their valuables were cheapened for they saw her nakedness.'" [Lamentataions 1:8] [Yoma 54b]

The centrality of angelic children may be be troubling to those who don't understand the sacred nature of their innocence. God commands us, in exquisite detail, the construction of the Cherubs in order that they not be considered idolatrous (see Rashi Exodus 20:20) rather they be considered sacred. With the same attentiveness to detail do we carefully protect and educate our own children.

With the tragedies that occurs in our world, we need to work desperately hard to protect our children from their horrors. We must build a sanctuary around them to ensure that when we have to tell them about some of the terrible events in the world, it be done in a deliberate and controlled manner.

We have to ensure that our children live for life and not, God forbid, for any other reason.

On Monday, May 20, 2013, Zach Sobiech (movie above) lost his fight with Osteosarcoma. His commitment to live despite his fatal diagnosis is inspiring and humbling. Perhaps, it is because he lived with such vigor and brought joy to so many people that the message of his life strikes a chord deep in our souls. His song is worth another listen so it can bring us up, up, up...

May Zach's memory be a source of blessing for his family and friends.

To support the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund and help find a cure for childhood cancer visit: http://www.childrenscancer.org/zach