Born in 120 BC, Jewish scholar Simeon ben Shetach felt strongly that children should be taught the Torah, which is basically the first five books of the Bible. He emphasized that aside from adults, our children also need to know an incredibly important part of human history as shared through the Word of God. There’s a wonderful book written called When Children Became People. And the argument was that in the ancient world, children were not considered people. They were considered property. And it was commonplace for children to be sold into slavery, to be abused, and in the worst cases, to be sacrificed and tortured to pagan gods.
It was the Jews who, in essence, declared children as people. The Jewish Christians emphasized the importance of caring for and loving children. Orphanages were created to provide for children who couldn’t find a home. I admire such a wonderful and caring heart this community shared for the children in need. A system of schools called Yeshiva were established 100 years BC to teach our children the Torah, and this was the community into which Jesus was born.
Friend, there was this love of the Word of God that began because they never wanted to lose the Torah. They believed if we can get as many people, including our children, to memorize as much of the Torah as possible, generation after generation would continually live with stability and thrive. Today, we can love the Word of God — we can love to learn, discuss, and live by the ageless wisdom of the Bible.