El Hijo Rebelde y Los Fundamentos de la Educación

Cuando un hombre tenga un hijo rebelde, quien no escucha la voz de su padre y la voz de su madre…….. (Devarim 21:18-20)

La Parasha de esta semana contiene una Mitzva que es una de las mas dificiles de entender, las leyes concernientes a un hijo rebelde (Ben Sore Umore). Este joven no escucha a sus padres. El Talmud en Sanhedrin 70a describe los crimenes en los que se envuelve. Segun los standards de hoy en dia, no suenan como crimenes terribles. El nino solo es un gloton, esta metido en robos menores, come mucha carne y toma mucho vino.

La Torah nos dice que el Ben Sore Umore era llevado al Beit Din (Corte Judia). Si las evidencias eran ciertas, se le condenaba.

Las reglas y circunstancias para un Ben Sore Umore son tan complejas y especificas que el Talmud en Sanhedrin 71a dice que nunca hubo y nunca habra un Ben Sore Umore. Si es asi entonces para que, esta escrito en la Tora toda esta seccion? El Talmud responde que toda esta seccion esta escrita para que podamos estudiarla y recibir recompenza. En otras palabras esta seccion fue escrita por las lecciones que podemos extraer de ella.

Las lecciones que la Torah quiere que derivemos de esta seccion son lecciones acerca de como educar a los hijos. La Torah quiere ensenarnos como debemos y como no debemos criar a nuestros hijos. Es como si nos estuviera diciendo que algunos errores muy graves se pueden cometer en la formacion de un nino pueden tener como consecuencia un nino rebelde como la Torah lo describe. La Torah nos esta dando las pistas de que hacer cuando educamos a nuestros hijos.

El Reshit Jojma escribe que es mas facil hacer crecer una plantacion de Arboles de Oliva en el Galil (donde la topografia y el clima no son los necesarios) de lo que es educar a un solo nino judio adecuadamente, incluso en Israel (que debido a su santidad es muy apropiada para criar a los hijos). Todos nosotros sabemos lo dificil que es educar a un hijo adecuadamente.

Los ninos no son objetos que se pueden moldear segun como queramos, son seres humanos que tiene su propio libre albedrio y pueden rechazar incluso el mejor jinuj (la mejor educacion). El Jidushei HaRim dice que lo que los padres deben lograr es poder introducir palabras de Torah en el corazon del nino de manera que cuando el corzon se abra, la Torah que tiene adentro pueda penetrar un corazon receptivo y florecer.

Las leyes del nino rebelde se aplican solo por tres meses desde que cumple trece anos; al comienzo de su edad adulta. Esto nos puntualiza la importancia de una fundacion apropiada en la educacion de los hijos, la educacion de su ninez conforma la base de la experiencia del nino y por lo tanto la raiz y la fundacion de su vida.

En Abot de Rabi Natan, explica la Mishna en Pirkei Abot (4:25), “ Uno que estudia Torah cuando es nino, a que se compara?, A una tinta que es usada para escribir en papel fresco”. Asi como la tinta se absorbe rapidamente en un papel nuevo, asi la Torah que es estudiada en la juventud penetra las fibras del cuerpo de ese nino.

El Alshij explica el versiculo en Mishle 22:6, “Educa al joven de acuerdo a su camino” Como una advertencia a encaminarlo por el buen camino antes de que desarrolle el camino por si mismo. El principio es crucial, ya que forma la raiz, y cualquier defecto en la raiz, se manifestara a lo largo de toda su vida en ramas y frutos defectuosos. Una fuerte raiz, sin embargo, asegura una planta sana.

Quisiera compartir algunas de las lecciones que podemos aprender para la educacion de nuestros hijos que podemos extraer de esta seccion de la Tora de Ben Sore Umore.

La Torah escribe que los padres deben ir al Beit Din y atestiguar que “Nuestro hijo es un nino rebelde. No nos hace caso….” (Devarim 21:18).

Rab Mordejai Gifter dice que el lenguaje usado en la Torah para decir no nos escucha es “Einenu Shomea Vekoleinu” (No escucha nuestra voz). La forma como deberia estar escrito es “Einenu Shomea Vedevareinu”. (No escucha nuestras palabras). En hebreo hay una gran diferencia entre Kol (voz, ruido) y Divur (palabra). Divur significa habla con cotenido que se entiende, Kol simplemente significa un sonido un ruido.

El Maharal dice que la Kol denota, voz o ruido, algo que no se entiende. El nino rebelde escucha a sus padres solo cuando le encuentra sentido a lo que le dicen, pero cuando no entiende sus directivas, las ignora.

Rab Gifter dice que este es precisamente el problema con el nino. Cuando no ve la logica detras de algunas cosas que sus padres le dicen, lo interpreta como voces. No se que es lo que estan diciendo. Son de otro planeta! Son de otra epoca! Siendo que el nino no entiende que es lo que le estan diciendo, decide no escucharlos. Rab Gifter dice que este es precisamente el problema del nino y es un problema comun en nuestra generacion.

La leccion pedagogica aca es que nosotros como padres tenemos la obligacion de tratar de que nuestros hijos entiendan lo que les estamos diciendo, tratar de explicarle a su hijo las razones detras de las instrucciones. Pero nosotros tambien tenemos la obligacion de hacerles saber que si no entienden lo que estamos diciendo, de todas maneras deben hacer como se les dice, porque nosotros como padres somos mas sabios, hemos vivido mas tiempo, y a pesar de que suene un poco impositivo sin embargo es verdad: “llegara el dia en que entenderas”.

Los padres deben de ensenarle a sus hijos la idea de que “yo se que no entiendes, entiendo que para ti es solo una voz , “koleinu”, pero confia en mi, cree en mi!” Esto es lo que significa el concepto de Mesora (transmision de la tradicion). “Escucha hijo mio, la instruccion moral de tu padre…” (Mishle 1:8), incluso que ahora no entiendas exactamente. A un nino se le debe ensenar a apoyarse en sus padres, en lo que ellos le dicen en el deseo y la habilidad que tienen de guiarlo por el buen camino, a pesar de que el no entienda lo sabio de los consejos y directivas.

Otra leccion que podemos aprender es que el Talmud deriva de que para un nino sea culpado de rebelde“ no escucha nuestras voces” que la voz del padre y la madre deben ser similares. Rab Leff dice, que el Talmud no se refiere al tono o tenor de sus cuerdas vocales. La Guemara nos ensena que los padres deben transmitir un solo y unico mensaje a sus hijos. Los ninos no saben como manejarse con “mensajes mesclados”. La guia de ambos padres deben reflejar los mismos valores, y deben ser consistentes en su instruccion. Si los padres no hablan con una voz, los hijos no pueden ser culpables de ser rebeldes, porque la culpa de su rebeldia no es solo suya.

La “voz” de los padres debe ser identica porque si el nino escucha un mensaje de su papa y otro mensaje diferente de su mama, lo va a explotar. Algunas veces esto requiere que los padres trabajen las cosas entre ellos de antemano. Ellos tienen que llegar a un acuerdo con respecto a lo que esta bien y a lo que esta mal, y como van a manejar cierta situacion. Solo entonces ellos podran manejar las cosas con “una sola voz”.

Otra leccion que podemos aprender se deriva de que los padres van al Beit Din (corte judia) y dicen “Ze”, este. Los padres deben poder senalar y decir: “nuestro hijo”. El Talmud aprende de el hecho de que los padres especificamente dicen “este nuestro hijo”, que los padres deben poder ver claramente y apuntar con sus dedos para identificar el nino que les ha venido dando problemas. Si los padres son ciegos y por lo tanto incapaces de senalarlo, el hijo no es culpable.

Porque la ley del nino rebelde no aplica si los padres son ciego? Rab Leff sugiere que si los padres son ciegos, no pueden ver lo que su hijo realmente necesita. No van a poder ajustar la educacion que le tienen que dar basados en su cualidaes particulares. No hay una sola forma de como criar hijos. El requisito de que los padres puedan ver, nos insinua la necesidad de los padres de ver a cada hijo como un individuo, con sus unicos potenciales y sus necesidades, el cual debe de ser educado de acuerdo a su personalidad unica. Si los padres tiene una predeterminada formula, el nino no es culpable. El criar hijos es el area mas especializada que hay en el mundo.

Eso que es bueno para el primer hijo no es necesariamente bueno para el segundo. Si, desafortunadamente, los padres no pueden ver al hijo, entonces, posiblemente desafortunadamente la educacion que van a darle no va a ser basada en observaciones directas. Un nino en esas condiciones no puede ser culpado.

Para poder ser clasificado un nino rebelde, debe robar dinero de sus padres para irse a comer y tomar. Esta conducta demuestra, dice el Ibn Ezra, una vision distorcionada. Este nino esta haciendo de los placeres de este mundo su unica meta en vez de ver este mundo como un lugar en el cual nos podemos preparar para la vida eterna. La carne y el vino que ingirio pueden ser Glatt Kosher. No es suficiente ensenarle a un nino que no hay que convertirse en un judio en forma sino tambien en sustancia.

Los padres se deben de enfocar en el alma de su hijo y su estatus eterno incluso mas intensamente que en su bienestar fisico. Que padre pensaria en exponer a su hijo incluso al mas leve chance de contagiarse una enfermedad? Cuanto mas debemos como padres protejer a nuestros hijos del medio ambiente que puede ejercer malas influencias espirituales. Si nos preocupamos tanto de la habilidad de nuestros hijos de poder ganarse el sustento, cuanto mas nos debemos preocupar de que crezcan como un/a exitoso/a judio/a.

El Talmud en Shabath 31a nos relata sobre las diferentes preguntas que se nos hacen cuando llegamos frente a la corte celestial despues de 120 anos. Se nos pregunta si fuimos honestos en nuestros negocios, si fijamos tiempos para el estudio de la Torah, si nos ocupamos en traer hijos al mundo, si esperamos la reencion, etc. El Zohar suma una pregunta mas a la lista. El Zohar dice que despues de 120 anos la corte celstial va a preguntar: Le diste la educacion adecuada a tus hijos?” El Zohar dice que si la persona puede responder esa pregunta afirmativamente, D—S ciera el caso y se niega a escuchar cualquier reclamo acerca de esa persona. Si uno puede responder esa pregunta positivamente, esta libre. Eso es muy alentador y muy asuatadiso!

Alevai (ojala) que todos nosotros podamos responder a esa pregunta afirmativamente en el gran dia del juicio.

Debemos recordarnos en el mes de Elul que no hay merito mas grande para el dia del juicio que el haber criado y educado un hijo apropiadamente. El merito de haber guiado a nuestros hijos apropiadamente aplaca cualquier otra cosa.

Que sea la voluntad de D—S que podamos aprender las profundas ensenanzas que contiene la Torah y podamos asi criar hijos que se ocupen de Torah y mitzvoth.

Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) 
Fundamentals of Education

“When a man has a wayward, rebellious son, who does not obey his father and mother, they shall have him flogged. If he still does not listen to them… [the parents] must declare to the elders of his city, ‘Our son is wayward and rebellious. He does not listen to us, and is an (exceptional) glutton and drunkard.’ “(Deut. 21:18)

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 71a) says that there never was a rebellious son executed by the court. The topic was recorded in the Torah in order to learn and receive reward. But even if there never was a rebellious son, we can learn a great deal about raising children from a careful study of the Torah’s description of the rebellious son. By studying the factors that help create a son so tainted that it is a kindness to kill him while he is still young and has not yet committed all the heinous crimes he otherwise would, we can learn to do the opposite with our own children.

It must be clear at the outset that there are no sure-fire rules of education that apply to all children at all times. Reishis Chachmah quotes a Midrash that it is easier to raise a legion of olive trees in the Galilee, where the soil and climate are not conducive to growing olive trees, than to raise one child in the Land of Israel, even though Israel is conducive to proper education, since the atmosphere itself helps to imbue one with wisdom and holiness.

Children are not objects to be fashioned at will, but rather human beings who have their own free will and can reject, if they so choose, even the best education. The most a parent can hope to achieve, as Chiddushei HaRim points out regarding all learning, is to put the words of Torah on the heart of the child so that when the heart opens up, the Torah found on it will sink into the receptive heart.

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STRONG ROOTS

The law of the rebellious son is applicable only when the child is age 13 and for the next three months, i.e., at the very inception of his manhood. This points to the importance of a proper foundation in the education of children – that early education forms the basis of the child’s experience and hence is the root and foundation of his life.

Avos deRav Nosson expounds on the Mishnah (Avot 4:25), “One who studies Torah as a child, to what can he be likened? To ink, written on fresh paper.” Just as ink is readily absorbed into new paper, so the Torah learned when young permeates the very fiber of the child’s being.

Alshich explains the injunction (Proverbs 22:6), “Educate the youth according to his path,” as a warning to put him on the proper path before he develops the wrong path on his own. The proper beginning is crucial, for it forms the root, and any blemish in the root will manifest itself a thousand-fold in the resultant growth. A strong root, however, insures a healthy plant.

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FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS

The Torah describes the rebellious son as not heeding the voice (kol) of his father and mother. Maharal points out that a kol denotes a voice or noise, something not necessarily intelligible. The rebellious son listens to his parents when their words make sense to him, but when their directives are not understood by him, he ignores them.

A child must be taught to rely on his parents’ instructions and trust in their desire and ability to guide him on the proper path, even though he may not understand or grasp the wisdom of their directions. Though a parent should try to explain to the child the reasons for his directions and instructions, the child must be taught that in the end whether he understands or not, he must accept his parents’ authority.

The Talmud learns from the phrase, “he does not listen to our voices,” that to be deemed a rebellious son, both parents must have similar voices. Both parents’ guidance must reflect the same values, and they must be consistent in their instruction. If the parents do not speak with one voice, their child cannot be deemed rebellious, because the blame for his rebellious behavior is not his alone.

Further, the parents must point at their son and say, “this son of ours.” If the parents are blind and thus incapable of pointing him out, the son cannot be deemed a rebellious son. The requirement that the parents be able to see hints to the necessity of parents viewing each child as an individual, with unique gifts and needs, who must be educated according to his individual personality. If parents are blind to the child’s individuality and educate him according to a predetermined formula, the child can also not be fully blamed.

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SPIRITUAL STATUS

To be classified as a rebellious son, he must steal money from his parents to eat and drink like a glutton. This conduct shows, says Ibn Ezra, a distorted outlook. The glutton makes the pleasures of this world his only goal rather than seeing this world as the place to prepare for eternal spiritual life. The meat and wine he consumed could have been fully kosher. It is not enough to teach a child that he may eat only kosher food. He must also understand why, so that he does not become a Jew in form but not in substance.

The Talmud explains that the rebellious son is killed now, because if allowed to continue on the same path he will eventually become a robber and murderer. He is killed for his own benefit so that he doesn’t lose his portion in the World to Come.

From this we learn the most important lesson of child-rearing. A parent must focus on the soul of his child and his eternal status, even more intensely that his physical well-being. What parent would think of exposing his child to even a slight chance of catching a serious communicable disease? How much more so should a parent protect his child from an environment that might exert negative spiritual influences. If we fret over our child’s ability to earn a living, how much more so should we be concerned that he or she grow to be a successful Jew.

We should remember in Elul that there is no greater merit for the Day of Judgment than having raised a child properly. The Zohar teaches that when an individual appears before the Heavenly Court, after 120 years, God inquires if he educated his children properly. If the answer is affirmative, God refuses to accept any more testimony against him, for the merit of guiding his children properly overshadows everything else.

May we learn the deep lessons contained in the Torah’s discussion of the rebellious son, so that we merit to raise children fully occupied in Torah and mitzvot.

Ki Tetzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19) 
Children and Sacrifices

No, we will not be discussing child sacrifice, but rather, the sacrifices parents make for their children.

If we had to link two commandments in the Torah, there are many that would come to mind easily. What about the commandments of honoring one’s parents and of sending away the mother bird before you take her young? Not exactly on the top of your list, is it? Yet there is a strong connection between the directive of “shliuach hakain,” sending away the mother bird before you take her young, which is discussed in Parshat Ki Tetzei, and “kibud av va’aim,” honoring one’s parents.

The Torah says that if one finds a bird’s nest where the mother bird is sitting and watching the eggs or the chicks, the finder is not allowed to take both the mother and the eggs, but must first send away the mother and then take the eggs. The reward for this is “length of days” [Devarim 22:6-7]. As we may be aware, there is only one other place where the Torah uses the expression “you will have length of days” as a reward, and that is concerning the Mitzvah of honoring one’s parents [Shemot 20:12, Devarim 5:16].

There must be some kind of common denominator between these two commandments which otherwise appear totally dissimilar and unrelated. That common denominator is self-sacrifice. The Torah recognizes and grants great reward for commandments which involve our recognition of mesirat nefesh (self-sacrifice). When the Torah instructs us to honor our parents, it is telling us that parents exhibit tremendous mesirat nefesh for their children. Beginning with being woken up at all hours of the night, during infancy and childhood, to the financial stresses of paying for the wedding, parenting by definition is about sacrificing your own comforts for your children. The Torah prescribed the great reward of “length of days” for honoring one’s parents, in order to cause people to appreciate the mesirat nefesh that parents exhibit.

This is exactly the same concept we find concerning shiluach hakain, sending away the mother bird before you take her young. Anyone who has ever tried to catch a bird knows that it is a virtually impossible task. So when does a person ever encounter a situation where he can catch a bird? Won’t the bird fly away? The answer is that the bird is a mother. Like all mothers, she is willing to sacrifice and give over her own freedom in order to remain with her children. For one to grab the bird and take advantage of the self-sacrifice present in the maternal instinct of the mother to her offspring is prohibited. By granting the mother her freedom and sending her away, we avoid utilizing her attribute of self-sacrifice against her.

By not taking advantage of her mesirat nefesh, we show our appreciation for the concept of self-sacrifice for children. Therefore, here as well, as a reward for that recognition and appreciation of parents’ love and concern towards offspring, one is entitled to “length of days.”

One’s students are described in the Torah as one’s children (see Rashi Devarim 6:6, for example). Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, of blessed memory, treated his students as his children and exhibited tremendous self-sacrifice for them. Although he was the spiritual guide for thousands, constantly being called regarding life and death issues, and issues involving the well-being of the Jewish nation as a whole, he was able to live the maxim that a Jew must always be concerned for ‘Klal Yisrael and Reb Yisrael’ – meaning that a Jew must care deeply about the great issues and problems facing the Jewish nation, but he can’t do so at the expense of ignoring the ‘smaller’ issues of his next door neighbor.

Whether the issue was of grand, national scale or one where his students needed assistance with things of lesser significance, Rav Yaakov was always self-sacrificing. Let us cite a few examples from Rav Yaakov’s life.

For a number of years, Rav Yaakov traveled every week to a small community in East Lexington, near Baltimore. A small band of young couples had invited him to expound on Judaism, secular and isolated though they were. The group eventually built a synagogue. Due to a lack of funds, they built it themselves. One of the members related that she remembered Rav Yaakov nailing shingles on the roof and stringing electric wire for the new Sanctuary. She further related that many of that group later had become Sabbath observant and sent their children to day schools.

Rav Yaakov once went missing from the Yeshiva for two days because a student expressed an intent to divorce his wife. For two days, Rav Yaakov counseled them in an effort to save the marriage. Another time, a young teacher phoned from out-of-town because he was lacking success in his new position. Convinced that he could not help him over the phone, Rav Yaakov flew at his own expense to observe the teacher in action, met with the principal and the teacher, and made suggestions.

During the week of the shiva mourning for Rav Yaakov, an old woman phoned the house, apparently unaware of Rav Yaakov’s passing. She inquired as to why she did not receive the money for her medicine that week. The family immediately surmised that their father must have been personally sending the money. Not wishing to burden her yet with the tragedy, they explained that perhaps the address had been lost. “For 20 years you have been sending money to the same place and now you lost the address?” she replied incredulously.

There was a time when Rav Yaakov, at the frantic request of a small Yeshiva, spent a few months as its ‘temporary Rosh Yeshiva, Dean’. Rav Yaakov slept in a house owned by the Yeshiva, but the house had no heat. An electric heater was installed in his room. The students became concerned when Rav Yaakov caught a winter cold that did not go away. One student went into Rav Yaakov’s room to make sure the heater was working properly. When he checked, the heater was nowhere to be found.

The yeshiva’s cooks, a Russian immigrant couple, slept in another part of the house, and for some unknown reason, no one had thought to take care of the heat in their quarters. Rav Yaakov had secretly moved the heater from his room to theirs because, “I didn’t want them to catch a chill,” he later explained.

Yitzchak studied with Rav Yaakov every Thursday night for many years. He would anxiously wait all week, gathering and saving all the his questions to ask Rav Yaakov. One Thursday, Rav Yaakov went to Atlanta for a family celebration and Yitzchak did not expect Rav Yaakov to be at the session so he didn’t come to Rav Yaakov’s house that night. On Friday night, Yitzchak wished Rav Yaakov his usual ‘Good Shabbos’. Rav Yaakov asked him “Where were you last night? I was waiting for you.”

Yitzchak said, “I thought you were out of town.”

Rav Yaakov replied, “I was away but I left the celebration early and took an earlier flight so I could be back for our session.” Rav Yaakov knew how much Yitzchak enjoyed their weekly study time together so he cut short his own pleasure for the sake of his student.

It was a hectic Friday afternoon and the Siyum Hashas (Sept. 1997), the grand celebration of the completion of the worldwide 7-1/2 year Daf Yomi – one page of Talmud daily – program held at Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum, and broadcast live to numerous places around the world, was to be held on Sunday evening. David had tickets for his wife, himself and three kids at Nassau Coliseum. They had been talking about this all summer with their kids as a very special event to be a part of. They had plans to drive from Baltimore to New York on Sunday and drive back that night or the next morning. For three weeks leading up to the date, David was swamped by a major deadline at work and was probably averaging 3-5 hours of sleep per night. He was very tired.

On Thursday night before the big event, Joanne, his wife said, “You’re too tired to drive, it’s not safe for you to make this trip. We can’t do it.” Joanne had a cast on her ankle at the time. Prospects of going to the celebration seemed dim. Yet, they had made a very big deal about it with the kids for the whole summer.

They checked out plane flights, train, hotels etc. The best scenario they could come up with was significantly beyond their budget. They were agonizing. Should they spend money they can’t really afford? What should they tell the kids?

Finally, Friday afternoon, Joanne said something she had said so many times before, “Just call Rav Yaakov.” Whatever advice he would recommend, they would follow with 100% confidence and serenity.

David called Rav Yaakov, explained to him the scenario, and Rav Yaakov said, “Please hold on for a moment.” Then David heard him call to his wife, the Rebbetzin, “The Goldman’s need a ride to the Siyum Hashas on Sunday. Who can we find to help give them a ride?”

When Rav Yaakov got back on phone, David was speechless. The last thing he had intended was to have Rav Yaakov spend time finding him a ride to New York. After a brief conversation Rav Yaakov said that it was worthwhile to spend the extra money to take the kids to the Siyum. He insisted, however, that if it was a financial hardship, David should call back and he would make sure we got a ride there and back.

Rav Yaakov had many other things on his mind that Friday afternoon. His own health, family needs, Yeshiva needs, national needs, many calling him for one pressing reason or another, and yet it was like he had nothing else to do with his time other than to find David a ride. That is an example of the love Rav Yaakov showed his students.

May we learn from the extraordinary sacrifices that our parents and teachers made for us, and do the same for our own children and students.

Three Lessons To Be Learned From the Chapter of the Wayward Son

This week’s parsha contains a Mitzvah that is one of the most difficult commandments to understand – the laws concerning the Wayward and Rebellious Son (Ben Sorer U’Moreh). This young boy does not listen to his parents. The Talmud [Sanhedrin 70a] describes the crimes involved. By today’s standards, they do not sound like terrible crimes. The boy is somewhat gluttonous. He engages in small acts of thievery; he eats too much meat; he drinks too much wine.

The Torah tells us that the Ben Sorer U’Moreh [Wayward and Rebellious Son] is brought to Beis Din [Jewish Court]. If the evidence is upheld, he is put to death, based on the principle “better he should die innocent now, than have to be executed as a guilty party somewhere down the road.”

The rules and circumstances for a Ben Sorer U’Moreh are so complex, specific and narrow that the Talmud in the eighth chapter of Sanhedrin says that there has never been and will never be a Ben Sorer U’Moreh. So then why, in fact, was the entire section written? The Talmud answers that the section was written in order that we might “expound it and receive reward”. In other words, this section was written for the sake of the lessons inherent in it.

The lessons that the Torah wants us to derive from this section are lessons about raising children. The Torah wants to teach us how we should and should not raise a child. It is likely that some grievous mistakes were made in the raising of the Wayward and Rebellious son. The Torah is providing us with clues of what to do and what not to do when raising our sons and daughters.

The Reishis Chochma writes that it is easier to grow a grove of olive trees in the Galil [Galilee] (where the topography and climate were not conducive to olive growing) than it is to raise a single Jewish child properly – even in the Land of Israel (which due to its holiness is very conducive to raising children). We all understand and realize what a very difficult job raising children is.

I would like to point out three lessons in child raising which we can learn from the section of the Ben Sorer u’Moreh.

The Torah writes that the parents must come to Beis Din and testify that “Our child is a rebellious child. He does not listen to us. He is gluttonous.” [Devorim 21:18]

Rabbi Mordechai Gifter notes that the language used by the Torah for not listening is “Eynenu shome’ah l’KOLEINU”. (He does not listen to our VOICE.) We would have normally expected the expression “Eynenu shome’ah l’DVAREINU”. (He does not listen to our WORDS.) In Hebrew, there is a vast difference between the connotation of the word DIBUR [word] and the connotation of the word KOL [voice]. The former means intelligible speech, the latter simply means a voice or a sound.

Rav Gifter says that this is precisely the problem with the child. When he fails to see the logic behind something that his parents tell him, he interprets their (intelligible) “words” as merely “voices”. “I don’t know what they are talking about. They are from a different planet! They are from a different century!” Since the child does not understand what they are saying, he is determined not to listen to them. Rav Gifter explains that this is precisely the child’s problem and this is a common problem in our generation.

The pedagogic lesson here is that we as parents have an obligation to try to make our children understand what we are telling them. But we also have an obligation to let them know that if they do not understand what we are saying – they should still do as they are told anyway, because the parents are wiser, have lived longer, and know better. In spite of the fact that it sounds trite, it is nevertheless true: “One day you will understand” is still the truth. Parents must teach their children the idea that “I know you do not understand it, I know that to you it is only ‘koleinu’ [our unintelligible voices], but trust us, believe us!” This is what the concept of Mesorah [transmission of tradition] is all about. “Hear my son, the moral instruction of your father…” [Mishlei 1:8], even if you do not yet understand what it is all about.

A second lesson can be learned from another derivation in Sanhedrin. The Talmud derives, based on the same pasuk [verse] quoted earlier, that the voices of the husband and wife must be identical. The Talmud lists a requirement that the husband and wife be of the same height, the same appearance, and have voices that sound alike. Rabbi Zev Leff says, by way of homiletics, that the Talmud is not talking about the pitch or tenor of their vocal chords. The Gemara is teaching that parents must send a single, unified message to their offspring. Children do not deal well with ‘mixed messages’. The ‘voice’ of the parents must be identical because if the child hears one message from his father and a different message from his mother, he will exploit that. Sometimes this requires that the parents work things out among themselves beforehand. They must come to an agreement regarding what is right, what is wrong, and how they will approach a given situation. Only then can they handle things with a ‘single voice’.

The third lesson which can be learned from Ben Sorer U’Moreh comes from the Talmudic derivation of the word ‘Zeh’. The Talmud learns from the fact that the parents specify “THIS son of ours” (beneinu ZEH), that the parents must be able to clearly see and point with their fingers to identify the child who has been giving them the trouble.

Why is it that the law of the Wayward Son does not apply to blind parents? Rabbi Leff suggests that if the parents are blind, they cannot see what their son really needs. They will not be able to customize the education and upbringing that they provide for him based on his unique and particular qualities. There is no one way to raise children. Raising children is the most specialized field in the world. That which is good for the first child is not necessarily good for the second child. If, unfortunately, the parents can not see the child, then, unfortunately, the education that they provide will not be based on first hand observations.

Such a child cannot be found guilty as a Wayward Son, since he is not fully responsible for his situation – there were extenuating circumstances in his upbringing.

The Talmud [Shabbos 31a] relates several questions that are asked of us when we go before the Heavenly Court after 120 years. We are asked if we were honest in our business dealings, if we set aside fixed times for learning Torah, if we occupied ourselves with having children, if we looked forward expectantly for salvation, etc. The Zohar adds an additional question to the list. The Zohar adds that after 120 years the Heavenly Court will ask “Did you provide the proper education for your children?” The Zohar says that if a person can answer that question affirmatively, G-d closes the case and refuses to hear any other complaints about the individual. If one can answer this question positively, he is “home free.” That is both very encouraging and very frightening!

Halavai [It should only be] that we can all answer that question affirmatively on the Great Day of Judgment.

Better Let Him Die Now Innocent, Than Die Later Guilty

At the beginning of this week’s parsha we have the portion of Ben Soreru’Moreh (the wayward and rebellious son). The Gemara in Sanhedrin talksabout the various ways in which a child becomes a Ben Sorer u’Moreh. Thechild steals, eats a certain amount of meat, drinks a certain amount ofwine and subsequent to that he has a status of Ben Sorer u’Moreh.

The Talmud asks the obvious question — for these minor infractions heshould be deserving of death? The Gemarah answers, he is not put to deathfor what he has done now, but he is “nidan al shem sofo” (he is judgedbased on where this pattern of behavior will end up). The text of ourGemara [Bavli Sanhedrin 72a] is “in the end he will drive his parentsbankrupt, and will turn to robbery, and ultimately to murder…”consequently “…he should better die innocent, than die guilty.”

The Talmud Yerushalmi [Sanhedrin 8:7] has virtually the same text as theBavli, except that the Yerushalmi concludes the sequence of bankruptcy,robbery, and murder with “…and finally, he will forget his learning”. This Yerushalmi is amazing!

The Rosh Yeshiva, zt”l, (R. Yaakov Ruderman) used to always say that wesee from this Yerushalmi a powerful insight: No matter how bad a persongets, as long as he still has a relationship to Limud HaTorah (thelearning of Torah), there is hope. Not that chas v’sholem the Yerushalmiis condoning the type of person who does all types of forbidden things andclaims that since he still learns Torah he is a Tzadik. The Yerushalmi ismerely saying that as bad as a person is, all hope is not lost so long ashe has a relationship to Torah learning. The power of Torah is so strong,that it can still bring him back.

In our experience we have seen this. People may have strayed from thecorrect path in many areas, but as long as they still had a “shaychus” tolearning, there was still hope for them. However, once a person does allthese things and forgets his learning… then there is no hope. Concerning this the Yerushalmi says, “Let him better die (now) innocent,than die (later) guilty”.

Steipler’s Comment on the Change in Spelling of the word Moreh

The Torah introduces the chapter of the Rebellious son with the words “Ifa person has a son who is wayward and rebellious (Bein Sorer u”Moreh)…”[Devorim 21:18]. Here the word Moreh (Rebellious) is spelled “full”Mem-Vov-Resh-Hei. However, in later describing how the parents introducetheir son to the Elders of the city, the Torah writes “This son of ours iswayward and rebellious (Sorer u’Moreh)…” [Devorim 21:20]. Here the wordMoreh is spelled “defective” Mem-Resh-Hei.

The Steipler Rav, zt”l, says the Torah is here alluding to some blame thatthe parents must accept for having such a child. We all know how we asparents love our children and we all know that we sometimes fail to see inour children glaring deficiencies. It’s natural and normal. Love cansometimes warp a person’s perception of reality and who do we love morethan our own children? These are the facts: Parents sometimes fail tosee the shortcomings of their children.

The Steipler says that this is what the Torah is telling us here: Whenthe child first started acting out and behaving poorly, the parents failedto see the shortcomings in their child. The “Moreh” (teacher) in theparents was defective. They did not see the full extent of hismisbehavior. They let it go and they looked the other way.

What unfortunately happened is that one thing led to another until theyhad on their hands a full-fledged Ben Sorer u’Moreh. This is what theTorah is hinting at… If a man has a child that is obviously (spelling is”full”) wayward and rebellious, this may well have come about because at aprior stage the parents failed to recognize the shortcomings (“defective”spelling) of their child.

The Wayward Son – What Can He Teach Us?

One of the most widely discussed (and perhaps misunderstood) sections of this week’s Sidrah is the halacha (law) of the “Ben Sorer u-Moreh,” the wayward and rebellious son. I once heard a secular Jew (who was evidently feeling some guilt about his lack of Torah observance) justifying himself by quoting the law of the Ben Sorer u- Moreh, who is put to death because of his rebelliousness. Because he, “does not hearken to the voice of his father and mother, and they discipline him, but he does not hearken to them (21:18).” (I fear that were we to take this description as literally as had this misinformed Jew, most of today’s children would fall into this category!) “Imagine!” he wondered. “Put to death because of a little rebelliousness and disobedience!”

While it is beyond the scope of this short dvar Torah to delve into all the halachik intricacies of the Ben Sorer u-Moreh, we must at the very least know that the issues here are far more complicated than they first appear. Firstly, as the Talmud (Sanhedrin 72a) points out, the wayward and rebellious son is put to death not because of what he *has done*, but because of what he *will eventually do*. His behaviour is such that it is evident that he will with time degenerate into a repulsive person, guilty of the most serious crimes, including murder. “Let him die innocent, and let him not die guilty.”

Secondly, so many detailed requirements are derived exegetically from this passage that it is virtually impossible for such a case to ever occur. Indeed, the Talmud (ibid. 71a) states that there never has been and never will be a “qualified” Ben Sorer u-Moreh. So why bother learning about him? Answers the Talmud: “Study (Torah – even its obscure sections), and you will receive reward.” This “reward” can be understood simply as the Heavenly reward every Jew will eventually receive for the hours he has invested in limud ha-Torah (Torah study). Perhaps, however, we can interpret that the “reward” also refers to the deep understanding of chinuch (childhood education) which can be gained by thoroughly studying the laws of the wayward son. Hidden beneath the surface, many insightful lessons can be found to aid Jewish parents in ensuring that they do not raise their own “Ben Sorer u-Moreh.”

The wayward child is punished because, “he does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother.” Shlomo haMelech says in Mishlei (22:15), “Carelessness is bound to the heart of the youth – the ‘staff of rebuke’ will remove it from him.” Often parents refrain from rebuking their children, even when they know their child has done something wrong. True, it’s wrong to constantly criticize and be negative, but a bit of well placed rebuke is a necessary part of chinuch. Especially, we must remember that part of education is to teach children the laws of derech eretz (proper conduct): to respect their parents, teachers and elders. The Ben Sorer u-Moreh “never heard the voice of his father and mother,” rebuking him, and admonishing him for something he did wrong.

The Gemara (ibid.) derives from these words (“he does not hearken to our voice”) that if one of the parents were deaf, the son can not become a Ben Sorer u-Moreh. This is difficult to understand: The words “he does not hearken” refer to the son, not the parents.

If, however, explains Mayana shel Torah, the parents turn a “deaf ear” to their own mussar – i.e. they chastise and criticize their son, yet they don’t “practice what they preach”, then their words will surely fail to make any lasting impression. To make use of the overused yet poignant example; it is comical to see a father interrupting his own shmooze to snap his fingers at his son to “get davening (praying) and stop fooling around.”

Rabbi Peysach Krohn tells the story (and this story also applies to last week’s dvar Torah on truthfulness) of the girl who, having forgotten to do her homework, comes to her mother just before leaving to school and asks her to sign the homework sheet anyway. “But, sweetheart, I can’t do that,” protests the mother. “That would be lying.”

“Well,” says the daughter, “it wouldn’t really be lying. I wanted to do the homework, I just forgot. When you sign the sheet, you could have in mind that what you really mean is that I *wanted* to do the homework.”

“But sweetheart, that’s still lying. You didn’t do the homework.”

“But what about the time we were crossing over the border, and the customs man asked Tatty if we had bought anything, and our trunk was all full of stuff, and Tatty said, ‘No.’ And you told me that what he really meant is that, ‘No, we don’t have anything illegal.’ Wasn’t that also lying…” As the cliche goes, children do as we do, not as we say.

In a similar vein, the Darchei Teshuva explains in Tiferes Banim (I have not seen this inside, and thus cannot give you a page reference), “he does not hearken to the voice of his father and the voice of his mother,” i.e. the wayward and rebellious son became this way because he never heard the voice of his father learning Torah. And he never heard the voice of his mother praying or saying Tehillim. When daddy came home from work, all he was interested in was the newspaper and his supper. Mommy preferred spending her spare time hearing the latest gossip rather than praying that her children should grow up to be talmidei chachamim (Torah scholars) and yirei shamayim (fearers of Heaven).

If we want children to grow up with love of the Torah, we must ourselves love the Torah, and show this to them. Imagine if Tatty never sat down to supper before learning at least a few minutes of Torah – what kind of impression would this make on the children! (I heard this example from Rav Yaakov Chanun, an educator from Eretz Yisrael.)

Perhaps it is not entirely by coincidence that the rebellious son is called Ben Sorer u-Moreh. Moreh means rebellious, but it also means teacher. There is a lot for parents to learn from the never-to-be case of the Ben Sorer u-Moreh. We have just barely scraped the surface. Study, and you will receive reward.

Zohar juicio a tu hijos – Kipur juicio como ha sido nuestra educación a los hijos

Cuando un hombre tenga un hijo rebelde, quien no escucha la voz de su padre y la voz de su madre…….. (Devarim 21:18-20)

Sanhedrin 70ª

nunca hubo y nunca habra un Ben Sore Umore 71ª

En otras palabras esta seccion fue escrita por las lecciones que podemos extraer de ella.

Reshit Jojma plantacion de Arboles de Oliva en el Galil — nino judio adecuadamente, incluso en Israel

3 meses – la formación hasta ese momento, lo crucial de la base

Pirkei Abot (4:25) penetra las fibras del cuerpo de ese nino. Tinta en papel fresco

El Alshij – janoj lannar

El principio es crucial, ya que forma la raiz, y cualquier defecto en la raiz, se manifestara a lo largo de toda su vida en ramas y frutos defectuosos.

“Einenu Shomea Vekoleinu — Videvareinu – Rab Gifter

Kol – Divur – explicar dif

Maharal – escucha solo cuando tiene sentido cuando es divrei, el kol no lo escucha sino entiende los ignora

tratar de que nuestros hijos entiendan lo que les estamos diciendo, tratar de explicarle a su hijo las razones detras de las instrucciones

obligacion de hacerles saber que si no entienden lo que estamos diciendo, de todas maneras deben hacer como se les dice, porque nosotros como padres somos mas sabios, hemos vivido mas tiempo, y a pesar de que suene un poco impositivo sin embargo es verdad: “llegara el dia en que entenderas”.

A un nino se le debe ensenar a apoyarse en sus padres, en lo que ellos le dicen en el deseo y la habilidad que tienen de guiarlo por el buen camino, a pesar de que el no entienda lo sabio de los consejos y directivas.

Si uno de los padres es sordo no aplica – 71ª

Haz como te digo, no sirve, haz como hago

Si el padre no escucha lo que dice (no da el ejemplo) el nino no aprende.

“ no escucha nuestras voces – Rab Leff

que los padres deben transmitir un solo y unico mensaje a sus hijos, no entienden mensajes mezclados

sino la culpa de la rebeldia no es solo suya

lo va a explotar, tratar las cosas de antemano

“Ze – si son ciegos, patur, porque?

Porque si son ciegos no pueden ver las necesidades del hijo, ajustar la educación a sus cualidades particulares

como un individuo, con sus unicos potenciales y sus necesidades, el cual debe de ser educado de acuerdo a su personalidad unica

formulas predeterminadas no sirve hay que ser especializado e individualizado

robar dinero de sus padres para irse a comer y tomar. Esta conducta demuestra, dice el Ibn Ezra, una vision distorcionada.

Placeres de este mundo – la meta, la carne es kasher pero esta perdiendo el punto

Los padres se deben de enfocar en el alma de su hijo y su estatus eterno incluso mas intensamente que en su bienestar fisico

Lo expondrias a que se contagie de una enfermedad – malas influencias

Se gane el sustento – que crezca como un buen judio

Zohar – como educastes a tus hijos

Eso es muy alentador y muy asuatadiso

Alevai que podamos responder afirmativamente y nos ampare en el dia del juicio

Drosh vekabel zajar – nunca paso

Por la gran leccion que tiene para parenting

Como ser un buen padre

1. Vetapsu bo, benenu ze einenu shomea vekoelnu

R. gifter, kolenu, einenu shomea vidvarenu, kolenu es voz, tenia que decir devareinu, nuestras palabras, era un nino que le respondia a los padres que estas habalndo, obsoleto, no entiendes lo que es hoy la sociedad, de que generacion vinistes? El nino lo ve como una voz, no entiende que hay un mensaje, solo ve voz.

El padre tiene que ser claro, transmitir el mensaje.

Wath are you talking about?

Tienes que escuchar incluso cuando no entiendes, el padre tiene que ensenarle a sus hijos incluso cuando no entienda.

La linea de cómo el hijo ve al padre, finalmente donde esta mi papa para que me aconseje.

2. Einenu shomea vekol avib ubekol imo – la voz del papa y la de la mama tienen que ser la misma, sino no es culpable el hijo, quiere decir que hay que ponerse de acuerdo, no alcahuetear, tener metas en comun. Kolam shavim, no mix messages. Padres uno religioso, la mama no te preocupes no le voy a decir a tu papa, castigos. Un mensaje. Si son dos es normal que salga mal.

3. benenu ze. No pueden ser ciegos, no pueden decir ze, tiene que poder reconocer a su hijo, no se atienden a todos los hijos por igual hace falta individualidad de cada uno, hay que ver quien es el nino, el Jinuj debe ser hand desing.

4. el nino esta en camino a convertirse en adicto a la buena vida, un dia no va a tener, va a delinquir, la persona se va a resistir, lo va querer matar. La Tora no piensa es un nino dejalo, no cuando es nino se forma su personalidad. Los padres deben criar a sus hijos a no ser adictos a lo material, el buen padre se preocupa.

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