web analytics
December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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 “A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The 13th issue of Al Qaeda's 'Inspire' online English-language magazine.
Al Qaeda Urges ‘Lone Wolves’ via Magazine to Attack US Airliners
Latest Judaism Stories
Hanukiyah created world famous Venetian Glass Blower
Maestro Gianni Toso

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

Joseph Maketh Himself Known to his Brethren

What did Yehudah say that was so effective that it convinced Yosef to make himself known?


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

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)

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: