Dreaming of Moshiach

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Raising Kids, Jewish

On 9 Kislev I was in Bet Din of Shamayim and I was being judged. I was not planning to write this dream because it is too personal but I realized that I must share in order to help us do sincere Teshuva and realize the greatness of HaShem.

During my childhood years, I went to Orthodox schools but at home, was not educated in a religious atmosphere. I grew up in a confused home where one parent permitting me "things", and other parent, forbade me and vice versa. I grew up in a home where watching TV, listening to radio and having guys and girl friends was not censored and basically, I had all the freedom I wanted. Except that in an Orthodox Yeshiva, these things and more are not permissible.

I don't know what caused the judgement about my childhood now. I think it was due to the fact that each person is being judged before Moshiach's arrival.

In my judgement, I explained the above and said that most what I learned in Yeshivot, I do not remember. I didn't practice or learn about Judaism at home and therefore, I should be judged favorably. I was young and the confusion caused in my home, distanced me further from Judaism.

I'm not going to share my judgement but was told that educating our children in the path of HaShem is very closely observed. Children are gifted to us but it is a Pikadon (deposit) and if we abuse them or even worse, do not educate them about Judaism and HaShem, parents are judged unfavorably.

Here are some other rabbinic statements about parents' obligations toward their children:
Never threaten children. Either punish them or forgive them. Semahot 2:6
Denying a child religious knowledge robs the child of an inheritance. Talmud Sanhedrin 91b
Every parent is obligated to train his/her children in the observance of mitzvot, for it is written: "Train a child according to his way." Proverbs 22:6
Mothers should introduce their children to the Torah. Exodus Rabbah 28:2
Anyone who does not teach his son a skill or profession may be regarded as if he is teaching him to rob. Talmud Kiddushin 29a
A father must provide his daughter with appropriate clothing and a dowry. Code of Jewish Law, Even haEzer 71
A father should be careful to keep his son from lies, and he should always keep his word to his children. Talmud Sukkah 46b
If a small child is capable of shaking the lulav correctly, his parents should buy him his own lulav. Talmud Sukkah 28a
Anger in a home is like rottenness in fruit. Talmud Sotah 3
A parent should never show favoritism among his/her children. Talmud Shabbat 10b
If you strike a child, strike them only with a shoelace. Talmud Baba Batra 21a
A parent should not promise to give a child something and then not give it, because in that way the child learns to lie. Talmud Sukkah 46b
The parent who teaches his son, it is as if he had taught his son, his son’s son, and so on to the end of generations. Talmud Kiddushin 36
The parent who instructs by personal example rather than mere words, his/her audience will take his/her counsel to heart. The parent who does not practice what he/she so eloquently preaches, his/her advice is rejected. Commentary to Ethics of Our Fathers

A father once came to the Baal Shem Tov with a problem concerning his son. He complained that the son was forsaking Judaism and morality and asked the rabbi what he could do. The Baal Shem Tov answered: "Love him more." Hassidic Tale

If being fruitful and multiplying is the first dimension of Jewish parenting, educating our children is clearly the second. Judaism has long recognized that education is primarily the function of the family. Centuries ago all of early Jewish education was provided in the home. Jewish parents were the teachers who instructed their children in the duties of daily life. The biblical verse in Deuteronomy "impress them (God's words) upon your children" was an obligation that was taken very seriously. Raising a Jewish child is a daily battle. It demands daily sacrifice and clear thinking.

A Man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5 yr. old son waiting for him at the door, "Daddy, may I ask you a question?"
"Yeah, sure. What is it?" replied the father. "Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?"
"That's none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?" The father said angrily.
"I just wanted to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?" pleaded the little boy.
"If you must know, I make $20 an hour."
Looking up, he said, "Daddy, may I borrow $9 please?"
The father was furious. "If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you're being selfish. I work long, hard hours everyday and don't have time for such childish games."
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The father sat down and started to get madder about his little boy's questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After an hour he calmed down. He started to think he might have been a little too hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $9. And he didn't ask for money often.
The father went to his son's room and opened the door. "Are you asleep, son?" he asked. "No, daddy, I'm awake," replied the boy.
"I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier," said the father. "It's been a long day and I took my aggravations out on you. Here's the $9 you asked for."
The little boy sat up straight, beaming. "Oh, thank you daddy!" he said. Then reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled bills. He counted the money, then looked up at his father.
"Why did you want more money if you already had some?" the father asked.
"Because I didn't have enough, but now I do," the little boy replied. " Daddy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?"

Advice on educating our children to love Judaism:
Play with them Jewish games;
Remove any idols, such as a TV;
Give them their own Tzaddaka box and give them a coin or 2 daily to teach them to give charity and learn the gift of giving;
Make Brachot with them;
Hang pictures of Tzaddikim around the house and especially, in their bedroom;
Say Tehillim with them;
Say Mode Ani in the morning with them and Shema Israel before going to sleep;
Teach them to prepare Netilat Yadaim and the Brach for morning;
Take an interest in their Yeshiva learning;
Spend quality time with them!

HKB'H during judgment says to the soul: "I brought you into the world and kept you safe not to fall from your mother's womb. When you came out of the womb, I gave you food and saved you from hardships. And you didn't learn Torah or do Chesed before Me? Then the soul is given to 5 destructing angels in exchange for the 5 books of Torah. The first beats him up; the second counts the sins; the third tear off his skin and the soul looks as כבשן furnace and is full of holes; the fourth brings bitter and sour herbs if the soul stole money; and the fifth, beats up his parents because the parents did not tutor the child to learn Torah and do good deeds and did not stop the child from being wicked. The soul has permission to beat up his parents. If the child was taught to be a Ben Torah but did not follow, the soul gets beaten up in front of the parents

Chazal says that a child that leaves Judaism and turns secular, the pain the parent feels is harder than Gog UMagog war. Those that intermarry, c'v r'l, even if the parent merits Gan Eden, the Chafetz Chaim zs'l says the parent is pulled out of Gan Eden upon the death of his child and is placed at the gate of Hell to watch his son suffer. The child pains the parent in Olam Haze and Olam Haba.




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו