A Teacher’s Dream

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

My dream is to continue Torah study and educate others in Torah psychology and Torah philosophy. When recently asked what inspires me to live even when the going gets tough, I replied that it is my clarity on the insignificance of what most people value, namely, wealth, success, and fame. When we can abandon these trivial matters and realize that true happiness is attained through how God designed us to be happy—enjoying wisdom in nature and Torah, the company of like-minded friends, a simple shelter, a modest meal, and meaningful conversation­—things never get tough. Difficulty is a product of poor values, like those never satisfied with their success, even though they eat every day and have a roof. Many poor people enjoyed their lives as nothing prevented their pursuit of wisdom. The Rabbis learned when poor and when ill. If people pondered their mortality without morbidity, and appreciated it is God’s plan that we are here temporarily, and then progress to a better life afterwards, people would not amass monies they could never spend, build mansions that endure for 100s of years, they would forgive more readily, never argue, and they would enjoy each sunrise, every breeze, and turning a stranger into a friend. Recognizing all others equally as God’s will, fulfills us and them.

The greatest minds found wisdom far surpasses all sensual pleasures, as it occupies the mind and absorbs all our energies...what we refer to as “satisfaction.” It is only the activities that are short-lived that frustrate us.As man has tremendous energies, his activities must allow for all that energy to be expended, and study is the only activity allowing this, without ever frustrating our energy’s flow. But eating, sex, striving for success and applause, and all other activities offer only brief satisfaction. After satisfying some of these desires, additional indulgence produces pain. And other desires never attained, like a promotion. And even if promoted, the high dies quickly But learning offers unyielding attainment. That is why God created man with a mind, a faculty that never tires, as thought is not stressful. He gave us a mind as He wishes man to engage it to arrive at a pleasurable existence. This all resides in the intellect. And when a teacher imbues a student with new ideas enabling the student to gain insight into himself and life, to appreciate what provides happiness, and to appreciate the One who created this possibility, we as teachers gain another dimension of gratification, in the emotional sphere. The excitement of my personal discoveries, and the delight in witnessing a student’s discovery, is a dream come true.