The System that Works

I have been writing a book for Rabbi Yeshaya Weber an expert on Education. The following is the preface to the book. Love to see your comments.

There are two main issues to understand ‘the System’, the Shittah that is presented in this book.

The Parents’ Obligation

The halacha clearly states that parents are obligated in teaching children the entire Torah. Yet since there are many seforim available that can explain and help a student of Torah, the psak halacha is now that parents need to train each child to be able to learn independently. He needs to understand, read by himself, and have the motivation to learn.

The mother is included in the mitzvah of chinuch of Torah. She is not mechuv to teach, but like her husband she is to help the child learn, develop. The most important thing to have is the right attitude.  It is the woman who gives the taste to the home, which will keep her family in learning. The focus of a child is to learn Torah, which will build the personality and connect the child to the Jewish way.

It is good to keep in mind; the obligation to provide food, clothes, for one’s children is until the age of seven or eight; after which it is considered a chesed on the parents’ part. On the other hand, the mitzvah of chinuch is D’Oraisah until age 20 or even over.

The Child’s Personality

Children are not to be thought of who they can become, but rather as whom they are in the moment. They are Yidden, they are not the parent’s property. They are Hashem’s children and are entrusted to the parents to raise them, with full expectation that each child is given the perfect parents that he needs.  The relationship between parent and child is as a human being to human being; to yid to yid; according to halacha, including all the rulings of lashon hora, issuroim to hit and  other halachos that are related to dealing with another human being.

Parents, often feel they have the excuse of chinuch, which is big nesiyon. Are they really doing it (fill in the blank) for chinuch purposes?  They could be nervous, they be exploding from other reasons.    If so it is incumbent on the parent to ask for mechila from their children. Children are sensitive and do not have a lot to fall back on to handle great criticism. They can’t handle physical, verbal or emotional pain. They should be considered in the category like a widow or orphan. It is brought down that even a queen who has lost her husband, one still needs to give special care when speaking to her, and so it is true with our children. They are sensitive and can easily cry, and if it was unnecessary, parents will need to make a din chesbon.

Parents must keep in mind at all times that their goal is chinuch when they are dealing with their children. We have to understand from the beginning children deserve our respect and will not return any gratitude (at least for many years). It is written ‘play with your children in order they should be happy to come learn the Torah with simchas, because it is not possible to learn without simcha. (From the Vilna goan)

If one took a lulav that is pussal, it wouldn’t be the lulav’s fault that it is no longer kosher, it is the same with children.  A parent can’t tell the child to change, it is his not his inyan, it is the parent’s job to make the child change.

Everything is written in the Shulchan Aruch – all the reasons of how to negotiate, how to get them to learn, and when. Everything is written how to teach through halacha. If one keeps in mind the goal of chinuch the system works. Guaranteed.

And important to remember; it is never too late.


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