On Sunday we celebrate the holiday of Lag Ba'Omer, which is the day of the passing of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, the founder of Kabbalistic study who lived in the first century. Rabbi Shimon's way of approaching Judaism was to always try to understand and appreciate the deeper meaning of Torah and Mitzvot. He wanted us to enjoy being Jewish. His teachings revealed how each Mitzvah and each word of Torah study had the spiritual power to affect the entire world. It is due to his revolutionary approach to Jewish life that the day of his passing is remembered across the Jewish world two millennia later.

One of the interesting customs on this holiday is to play with a bow and arrow. Why? A bow and arrow defeats the enemy before he even has a chance to get close. Rabbi Shimon's teachings represented a similar idea, albeit not with a human 'enemy'. 

We all want our children to grow up with a sense of Jewish identity. We all want them to live Jewish, happy, moral and successful lives. Yet the assimilation rate is very high. The BDS movement counts many well-meaning Jewish students among its ranks. How do we defeat that? One way to defeat it is after they join the BDS movement, sit them down and give them a good, long talk about how important it is to be Jewish and support the people of Israel.

Another way is Rabbi Shimon's way - avoid the problem before it starts. From the earliest days of their childhood, give your children the priceless gift of meaningful Jewish experiences. Light Shabbat candles with her, put on Tefillin with him, teach them the weekly Torah portion at a Shabbat dinner. Give them a Jewish education, and show them that the Torah and Mitzvot are not a burden but a blessing and a gift. 

There are no guarantees, but the chances are that a child with such experiences etched in his or her memory will find it far easier to resist joining BDS, and will live their lives as proud Jews. Just like the bow and arrow, this approach can solve the problem long before it even begins.

Rabbi Avrohom