Minute 676: Ask Dad

“How come you do it that way?” Mr. Balter asked. “I’m not saying it’s wrong; it’s just that I’ve never seen anyone else do it like that.”

“I’ve been doing it this way since I was a young boy,” Mr. Saltz replied. “My dad told me that’s how he does it and that’s how my grandfather taught him.”

“No further explanation needed,” Mr. Balter said. “I wish more people today would adhere to the ways of their fathers.”

We live in an age where “new” is considered better. Whatever the older version of a product may have been, and no matter how well it fulfilled its function, the “new” one is sought after even at a higher price and even if the one a person owns is still working properly.

Attitudes and values also evolve.  Sociologists have named the difference in attitudes between young and old the “generation gap.” The younger generation assumes they know better than those who have aged gracefully but have not kept up with the latest trends in technology, politics and fashion. They assume if someone is “old” then s/he is out of touch and behind the times. Therefore, the opinions of elders are ignored or placed second to those of their younger counterparts.

Our Torah teaches: “Ask your father and he will relate it to you, and your elders and they will tell you” (Devarim 32:7). Unfortunately, the generation of elders today often looks to the younger generation for direction. Rather than teach, they learn; rather than direct, they follow. A return to our Torah’s directive is healthy and sorely needed to preserve our holy lifestyle.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

This was the fear of Rebbi Yochanan ben Zakai: “There are two paths before me, one to Gan Eden and one to Gehinnom, and I don’t know on which one they will walk me…” He meant: “Who knows if all my life I’ve learned the truth or, chas v’shalom, perhaps I erred…”

We, too, must be concerned and fear this. Besides the fear of actual sins, there is great room to be concerned and to fear our manner of mitzvot observance…Who knows if they were fulfilled correctly? (Harav Chaim Shmulevitz, Chochmat Chaim, p. 73)


Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.