This is one of the key lessons in Parshat Bo. The Torah instructs us throughout all generations to educate our children about all that transpired in in Egypt. The purpose? “Vidatem ki ani Hashem” – “in order that you shall know that I am the Lord”.
Intriguingly, the Torah surely should have said “Vayedu ki ani Hashem” – “so that they, (the students) shall know that I am the Lord” but instead it says ‘vidatem’ – that you the educators shall find out. But hold on: You already know – that is why you’re teaching your children about it.
The Iturei Torah gives a beautiful Peirush. He explains that often, through imparting information the educator’s awareness becomes deepened.
In order for me to present a lesson, I have to prepare. I have to know the subject and become a master of all the details. Then, through the process of education, thanks to the questions and the probing of the students, my own knowledge will be refined and my awareness deepened. That’s why Rabbi Chanina in Mesechet Ta’anit tells us, “I have learnt much from my teachers, I have learnt more from my friends but most of all, I have learnt from my students”.
I find this to be one of the most impressive features of Jewish tradition. We genuinely believe that we as adults and educators can learn a lot from our children and our students. I so often come across people whose lives have been enormously enriched thanks to the guidance, influence and inspiration of their children and sometimes even their grandchildren.
So that is why the Torah says ‘ Vidatem’ so that you, the parents/educators shall know.
It is from our history that we can learn about the existence of Hashem in the world
– a greater awareness of this can come from our children and our grandchildren.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis