Know an Aleph, Teach an Aleph

4 weeks ago hkaplun 0

As a CTeener, I’m sure that you’ve heard countless of stories about the Rebbe and his teachings; a Shabbat D’var Torah is barely complete without mentioning the Rebbe. Personally, I love hearing stories about people going to the Rebbe for guidance or a blessing; his answers, and his ability to know exactly what to say, are amazing. While I have personally connected to many teachings of the Rebbe, my favorite by far is “Know aleph, teach Aleph.”

This concept means that you don’t have to be a scholar or have an in-depth knowledge of Judaism to teach someone else. If you know one thing, that’s enough to teach someone, who will, in turn, learn and teach someone else. If all you know is aleph (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet), you can teach someone else aleph, and that person will go on to learn bet, and teach bet.

Chabad is known for outreach–for taking Jews who are not necessarily religious and giving them a Jewish identity. They are the ones who ask, “Are you Jewish?” followed by offers to help one do a mitzvah. This practice was instituted by the Rebbe, who believed each mitzvah had a value. At first, many people were upset that the Rebbe encouraged people who didn’t keep Shabbat to light shabbat candles or those who didn’t eat kosher food to wrap tefillin. To the Rebbe, doing one mitzvah was better than none at all.

CTeen is a great way to spread the idea of “know an aleph, teach an aleph.” If you bring a friend to an event, and that person learns about Kosher, Shabbat, or about an upcoming holiday, who knows how that information will affect them and who they will spread that information to.

I know I have learned so much from fellow CTeeners, and I, in turn, try to teach that information to other people. As the “token Jew” at school, I am often asked questions about Judaism and I use what I learn from CTeen to educate others. Through CTeen, I have been able to learn about the laws of Shabbat. At a Shabbaton last year, I was able to pass on my knowledge and teach a boy in my chapter about Shabbat. He asked why there were so many restrictions, and I explained how on Shabbat, everything remains in the same state. Everything is super intentional–you have to be mindful about things like not turning on or off lights and to not touch your phone.

Remember: even if you know only aleph, you have the power to make a ripple effect, just by teaching aleph.