About CHAYA PASSOW
In the very first “Letter from Planet Corona” I wrote:
“I’ve never considered myself much of a writer. I like to speak and teach, but I never write out my shiurim or talks since I’m comfortable speaking extemporaneously. However, right now my (our) access to live teaching and discussing is severely hampered, so I am turning to writing. Maybe an “upside” of all this (obviously a minor one considering everything) will be to uncover some literary ability hidden within. Or maybe not. But I’ve had a lot of thoughts about our present crisis and feel that I want to share them. “
Despite the fact that I have, subsequently, produced a book that has been published, I still do not consider myself a writer or author. What I am is “a teacher who writes”. It is the teaching, the sharing, which is of greatest value to me. It’s the reason I wrote the 70 letters that comprise my book. It’s what prompted me to actually decide to publish my pieces. And it’s the impetus for the articles that I’ve continued to write after the book was completed. (Those articles appear on this site.)
I am passionate about Life! It would appear that my parents, a”h, were given prophetic insight when they named me “Chaya”, a name so closely connected to the word “chaim”, “life.” The Torah tells us to “Choose Life!” For me, that denotes caring deeply for all the elements that constitute a desirable existence. Those elements include faith, ethics and morality, friendship, family, the Land of Israel, and Torah study and teaching.
What I care about, I am generally passionate about. And, as a teacher, I find great joy and fulfillment in sharing my passions with others. And having them share their passions with me. A good teacher is one who cares deeply for the subject and for the students. I don’t believe there are any boring topics. Someone who is enthusiastic about what they are conveying, will engender enthusiasm in the classroom or auditorium.
It took me many years, actually decades, to answer “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s only in the last few years that I have become convinced that the answer for me is, “a teacher.” One of my most memorable teachers, the legendary Nechama Leibowitz, has a simple epitaph. At her request, the only word on her gravestone is”מורה” , “teacher.” I hope, someday, to truly deserve the same title.