Encouragement to Learning
As the summer went by, another new school year began. Chinese culture has placed great emphasis on learning. As the Chinese proverb goes, “One would only regret they have not studied hard enough until s/he needs to put their knowledge from books into practice, one does not understand how difficult things are until s/he experiences or gets involved” (Wisdom In Chinese Proverbs) Yan Zhenqing, a Chinese calligrapher in Tang Dynasty, wrote a poem to admonish people to learn, “If one does not study or learn early in age, it will be too late to regret by the time one gets old.” (Quan Xue, translation: Encouragement to Learning)
Confucius, one of Chinese great philosophers, emphasized the drawbacks of not studying, “To love benevolence without loving learning is liable to lead to foolishness. To love cleverness without loving learning is liable to lead to deviation from the right path. To love trustworthiness in word without loving learning is liable to lead to harmful behaviour. To love forthrightness without loving learning is liable to lead to intolerance. To love courage without loving learning is liable to lead to insubordination. To love unbending strength without loving learning is liable to lead to indiscipline.” (Chapter 17: Yang Huo, The Analects) Therefore, learning is of utmost importance.
Unlike the Chinese, Jews pay more attention to their future generations’ studying about Jewish traditions and laws.
Traditionally, Jewish people also attaches importance to learning. In Proverbs, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NIV) However, unlike the Chinese, Jews pay more attention to their future generations’ studying about Jewish traditions and laws, which are inseparable from their beliefs, learning God is the beginning of all learning. As Moses instructed the Israelites, “Assemble the people—men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 31:12)
For you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Therefore, learning the Word of God is the core of the Jewish faith. In Psalms, “But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night,” (Psalm 1:2) or “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long,” said King David. (Psalm 25:5) Or as the Prophet Isaiah said, “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgements come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9) Moreover, Paul the Apostle encouraged believers to study the Bible more, because “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Lastly, we would like to encourage all the students in Hong Kong with this school opening ceremony hymn that you may or may not have heard of:
“We change, but Thou art still the same,
The same good Master, Teacher, Friend;
We change; but, Lord, we bear Thy Name,
To journey with it to the end. Amen.”
—We build our school on thee, O Lord