web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Four Sons: A Lesson for Parents and Teachers

Front-Page-041114

And so we see, as the generations continue, that the chacham does indeed progress in his personal religious growth but then sets different goals for his own son. His experience taught him that classical yeshiva education is too narrow-minded for his own child, a child of the late 20th century.

“Seek a profession,” he advises his son. “Computers. Finance. Law. Medicine.” He encourages his son to study in one of the Ivy League schools, universities that only a generation earlier had restricted Jews but that now hold the best possibilities for networking and advancement.

The son diligently follows his father’s guidance and advice. Why then is the father surprised when, at spring break, his son returns home only to arrogantly challenge him: “What is the meaning of this service to you!”

The father is astonished. Confused. Frustrated.

Frightened.

Meanwhile, the rasha father cannot help but, at best, raise a tam. Such a son is the only logical result of an alienated and confusing secularized Jewish home. This father only begrudgingly attends the family Passover dinner. Sentimentality and faded memories of a caring and loving zaidie are not enough to overcome the fast moving, unethical and immoral secular world he occupies. How can such a man teach his son to embrace Yiddishkeit? The poor child doesn’t even have the tools to ask a question.

And if he could, what is there to ask? His great-grandfather, long gone, cannot bridge the distance created by his father and grandfather, lost in their own discomfort with “old fashioned” and “confusing” rituals.

As parents and educators, do we throw our hands up in frustration and surrender to this terrible situation, conceding that so very many Jewish children are simply lost to our tradition and laws? Of course not. But, as we should recognize from the Four Sons in our Haggadah, “teaching” demands that we teach to our students and not expect our students to conform to how we teach. We must pay heed to how we teach and whom we teach for that truly informs why we teach.

* * * * *

Who does not love teaching a chacham? What a pleasure to have before us a mind and soul delighted and determined to grasp the beauty of God’s world and our traditions! But more and more, in yeshivas and observant homes, we are limiting ourselves to teaching only our chachamim. We do so at our peril. There are so very few chachamim.

Rabbi Yechezkel Mickelsohn once asked in jest, “Why doesn’t the Torah recommend the same solution and approach of hakeh et sheenav – blunting the teeth of the rasha – as does the Haggadah?” He reasoned that the Torah speaks of many reshaim, referring to them as “b’neichem” (plural form). To battle a multitude of reshaim is an epic and dangerous undertaking, and most likely one that would not result in success. The Ba’al Haggadah on the other hand, speaks of only one rasha, who perhaps could be dealt with.

How are we to make sure all four sons remain in the fold?

Before providing a response, we find in the Hagaddah a blessing in which we extol God for being in the place of our misery and bringing about our miracu­lous redemption. We then continue, “Blessed is He who gave the Torah to His people Israel, blessed is He.” God not only redeemed us from misery, He also gave us Torah.

All of us. Not just the fathers. Not just the teachers. Not just the chachamim. All of us. All the sons. All types. All backgrounds. Blessed is God who gave the Torah to His people Israel. Blessed is He. The Torah speaks about four children; one who is wise and one who is wicked; one who is simple and one who does not even know how to ask a question.

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Four Sons: A Lesson for Parents and Teachers”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Historic Jewish U.S. Civil War period restaurant tokens.
Jewish Money in the Civil War to be Shown in Jerusalem
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

It’s easier to take Jews out of galus than to take galus out of Jews – Chassidic master

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations

Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

What defines kana’ut these days? Throwing rocks at passing cars on Shabbos? Burning an Israeli flag on Yom Ha’Atzmaut?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-four-sons-a-lesson-for-parents-and-teachers/2014/04/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: