web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part I)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: I am a single mother of young children. Their father has shirked all his responsibilities to them. I do my best for my children, but it isn’t easy. Isn’t their father in serious violation of the Torah by neglecting his children and not making any effort to provide them an education?

No Name Please
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: It is a tragedy that your children’s father is not involved in their lives. Due to his lack of interest in them, you are left bearing all the responsibilities. You clearly intimate that you view educating one’s young children as the sole province of the father. The question is how halacha views this matter.

The mishnah on Kiddushin 29a states: “Men are bound by, but women are exempt from, all mitzvot of the son upon the father. Both men and women, however, are bound by all mitzvot of the father upon the son.” The Gemara seeks to clarify what the mishnah means. Surely it doesn’t mean that only sons, but not daughters, are duty-bound to fulfill the mitzvah of kibbud av va’em. The Gemara, therefore, explains that the mishnah means to say that only men, not women, are bound by mitzvot that are incumbent upon a father to his son.

The Gemara then lists the responsibilities of a father implied by the mishnah: “The father is obligated to circumcise his son, to redeem his [first born] son [from the kohen – pidyon haben], to teach him Torah, to marry him [find him a wife], teach him a trade [that would lead to gainful employment], and some even say to teach him how to swim. R. Yehudah adds: One who fails to teach his son a trade teaches him thievery.” The Gemara asks: “Do it really mean thievery? Rather, it is as if he taught him thievery.”

The Mechaber (Yoreh Deah 245:1-6) rules accordingly that it is a biblical requirement for a father to educate his son in the study (and ways) of Torah when the son begins to talk. When the son reaches age six or seven, the father is required to engage a teacher and pay the his wages if that is the local custom (and if the father is unable to teach his son himself). It would thus seem clear that the father bears sole responsibility to educate his children from the standpoint of halacha.

Yet there are authorities that opine otherwise. The Meiri (Nazir 29) asserts that from the Gemara in Nazir (28b-29a) we can infer that, at least according to R. Yochanan, a woman does bear responsibility for educating her children as well. (R. Yochanan and argues with Resh Lakish about a father’s right in designating his child a nazir.)

In fact, the Shita Mekubbetzes (Nazir ad loc.) cites a Gemara (Sukkah 2b) that relates that Queen Helena trained her minor children to eat in the sukkah, thus indicating that a mother is also obligated to educate her children in the performance of mitzvot.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.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 “Q & A: A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Vol. LXVI No. 3                           5775 New York City CANDLE LIGHTING TIME January 16, 2015–25 Teves 5775 4:36 p.m. NYC E.S.T.   Sabbath Ends: 5:40 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Sabbath Ends: Rabbenu Tam 6:08 p.m. NYC E.S.T. Weekly Reading: Va’era Weekly Haftara: Koh Amar Hashem (Ezekiel 28:25-29:21) Daf Yomi: Yevamos 104 Mishna Yomit: Kelim 17:2-3 Halacha Yomit: […]

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/a-mothers-mitzvah-part-i/2012/10/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: