For the past few months, yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs have been relocated to the homes of the talmidim and talmidos, which was a true nisayon, as it presented our families with unique challenges. Would the children be able to learn outside of their classrooms? Could they shteig without being in the presence of their Rebbeim and Moros? How would it affect the family dynamic, with the fathers and mothers being forced to undertake the function of educators in addition to their traditional role as nurturers?
Experience during this crisis has shown that indeed all parties have risen to the occasion. The Rebbeim, Moros and teachers worked day and night to provide innovative and inspirational lessons. The parents have gone out of their way to create an atmosphere in the home in which their children can learn and grow. And the talmidim and talmidos have blossomed! They are learning, answering questions, and flourishing in ways we never imagined.
The root of the word nisayon is nes, a banner or flag, as the Ramban (Bereishis, 22:1) explains in the passuk, “VehaElokim nisah es Avraham.” Hashem did not merely place Avraham in a test during the Akeidah; Avraham was transformed and elevated through the episode, and his success was a symbol and sign of his character.
When I spoke to the parents of our student body, I mentioned that we find the Yidden were enjoined to fashion the Keruvim, which had the faces of young children, out of pure gold. Rashi at the end of Parashas Yisro (Shemos 20:20) tells us that if the Keruvim are made even of silver, they are considered idolatrous. I reminded the parents that when it comes to the chinuch of our children, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with pure gold, which obligates us to treat them with the utmost care.
By all metrics, our communities have risen to the challenge. The parents have partnered with the mosdos hachinuch and they deserve credit for the extreme effort they have put forth. They have transformed their kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms and beyond into a beis medrash, where the sounds of Torah and tefillah ring forth throughout the day and night.
In Buckingham Palace, the seat of the monarchy of Great Britain, there is a flag, called the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom, which flies high above whenever the Queen of England is at her residence. On the occasion that she is away, as when she in staying in one of her vacation estates, the flag is lowered.
Our homes have been transformed into a ma’on leShechinah. They have become an abode for the King of All Kings. The Sovereign of the Universe is present, and as a sign that He is there, our flag is towering above. Indeed, in this time of nisayon, we have raised our flag on a nes, and we have been uplifted in the process.
As we look forward to the future, when our tayere children return to their traditional classrooms, let us look to retain the “golden” lining of the nisayon, and commit to maintain for our children the aura of kedushah which permeates our homes.
That will give proof that our flag is still there.