Education is not just learning the skills to make a living; it is learning to understand life itself.A true education consists of teaching children that they have responsibility to live meaningfully and create a better world for their children and for generations to come.
What the Rebbe Says:
“… Regarding the expansion of the student’s knowledge, there are many ways to waken and encourage his will to advance and achieve, by explaining its usefulness to him now or in the near future. The same is true regarding his social and democratic sensibilities. Indeed, the very fact that the student must interact with other boys and girls contributes much toward this end. Not so is the case regarding his moral self-discipline. This cannot come from within the person, as in the famous analogy that a person cannot raise himself by pulling upwards on the hairs of his head. Rather, it must come from a point outside of the person.
It is clear that there exists no other way to implant in the hearts of children and youth a true and functional self-discipline except through the fear or love of a force greater than man. Only in this way can they be truly trained to exercise control over their will and desires. And this is something that cannot be postponed until the child reaches the age of 18, or even the age of 13, while allowing him until then to follow his heart’s vagaries, in the hope that the fear of human institutions will direct him along a good and righteous path.
One sees no other way than to instill in the hearts of the children, from their earliest years, a strong belief in Him Who created the world and continues to rule it and direct it. In the words of our sages, there is “an eye that sees, and ear that hears, and that all one’s deeds are recorded in a book” – a book that cannot be forged, an eye and an ear that cannot be bribed or outsmarted by any schemes or deceptions.
According to our Torah, the law of life, belief in the Creator and Ruler of the world is binding upon all peoples of the world. Furthermore (and in certain circles, this must be the primary argument), it is a rational necessity.
So any school, if its program includes “education”–moral as well as social–must set as one of its foundations the above belief, not only as a subject for theoretical study, but as something that concerns day-to-day life… While there are schools that do not have the word “religious” in their name, it is obvious, based on the above, that the difference lies only in the amount of hours devoted to religious matters. But if the school is completely devoid of religiosity, G-d forbid, it lacks what, especially in our generation, is among the most primary functions of the school: to educate the student to be a human being worthy of his name–as distinguished from a mere beast. And the primary difference between man and beast is that the human being is not subservient to his natural instincts, desires and tendencies, and, at the very least, endeavors to restrain them and control them”.
(excerpt from a letter written by the Rebbe to an Israeli educator Shalom Levine)