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


A Torah Perspective on Educating Our Children About Sexuality (Part VI)


Family-logo

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on how necessary it is, especially today, that parents take an active role in teaching their children the Torah’s view on sexuality and modesty. It is important that the first images that fill their minds in regards to these concepts be appropriate ones.

We have discussed how pervasive the secular culture is and how much it has affected our children and how we can no longer afford to be naive about the existence of sexual predators in our midst. We reminded you that if children do not possess clear knowledge and an age-appropriate understanding of the parts of their body and how they can be used or misused, they would not be able to protect themselves from those who seek to abuse them.

There is a school of thought that exposing children and adolescents to sexual ideas will arouse in them a yetzer hara. We referenced a halachic ruling from the Ezer Mekodesh (Shulchan Aruch, E.H. 23:3) that makes it clear it is permitted for even a young man to study the sections of the Torah that relate to sexuality. Since there are dozens of halachos that are impossible to understand without knowledge of the mechanics of human sexual intercourse and reproduction, in truth, one can justifiably argue that teaching a child about sex is part and parcel of the commandment to teach Torah. After all, how can one possibly teach the laws of family purity, the laws of sexual immorality and the laws of marriage without also teaching about sexual matters?

Before we chart out a possible halachic approach to sex education, let us first rule out what is most certainly mistaken and misguided. First and foremost, it is absolutely forbidden to falsify or distort Torah. So, if we accept the obvious point that many halachos are dependent upon a correct understanding of sexuality, it is certainly incorrect to ever change or misrepresent the laws for the purposes of protecting “innocent young minds.” The Gemara is clear that one should never lie to a child, even about halachic matters of expedience, or as the child grows older he will learn to lie (Succah 46b.) Furthermore, the Maharshal (Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kama, 4, Piska 9) indicates that one should even martyr himself rather than agree to misrepresent a Torah fact!

So, when teaching for example, the mishna in Kiddushin (1:1) about the three methods which complete the marriage bond, with one being sexual intercourse, it may be acceptable to say, “I will teach you two out of the three methods.” But it is certainly not acceptable to substitute sexual intercourse with some made up method. In other words, “The stork brought you” is unacceptable, but an answer such as “I will tell you when you are older” is acceptable. In one case a lie and distortion of the Torah is being committed, while in the other, the child is informed that he is not being told everything.

We are aware of a true story (told by a veteran principal) that aptly illustrates this point.

As we all know, part of Yom Kippur observance requires five abstentions or afflictions (Yoma 73b). They are: (1) Eating and drinking; (2) Washing/bathing; (3) Anointing or smoothing oil on one’s skin; (4) Wearing leather shoes; (5) Sexual intercourse.

The astute reader will note that it actually appears as if there are six abstentions: Eating, drinking, washing/bathing, anointing, wearing leather shoes and sexual intercourse. However, the Gemara counts eating and drinking as part of one category, that is, the intake of food.

The principal was observing a teacher relaying this information to her students and noticed that she described the five abstentions as follows:

(1) Eating; (2) Drinking; (3) Washing/bathing; (4) Anointing or smoothing oil on one’s skin; (5) Wearing leather shoes.

Obviously, the teacher wanted to preserve the concept of “five abstentions” but at the same time, wanted to avoid mentioning sexual intercourse. So the teacher cleverly expanded “eating and drinking” into two separate categories. Unfortunately, this is in direct contradiction to the mishna’s clear enumeration of eating and drinking as one abstention! Even though this distortion is perhaps better than the educationally abhorrent (but unfortunately well-used) practice of mistranslating tashmish hamittah as “making the bed”, it still is committing Torah forgery. The principal confronted the teacher about this distortion of the Torah, but the teacher was resolute in her stance that it would be inappropriate to teach children about sex. The principal explained, “I am not requiring you to teach all five abstentions. Rather tell them there are five abstentions but we will study four of them. Just please do not mislabel them from their original definitions in the mishna.” The principal was young and idealistic, and the teacher was a veteran and set in her ways. The whole matter turned into an unpleasant confrontation and power struggle.

This story would simply be a good enough illustration, if not for the tragic, yet comic post-script to this story. Twenty years later, this principal happened to be observing another class, and once again, saw a young teacher teaching the censored and distorted version of the five afflictions. The principal attempted to correct the young teacher, “Aha…you are trying to teach the children about the five abstentions without mentioning sexual intercourse, so you cleverly turned eating and drinking into two separate categories. That is an interesting approach, but aren’t you concerned that they may never learn it correctly?” To which the young teacher responded, “Sex? What do you mean? Aren’t these the five abstentions?” Clearly, the young lady had no idea that sexual intercourse was one of the five abstentions. In this principal’s own lengthy career he was able to witness both the distortion, and the pathetic product of that very distortion — a mature woman, a teacher of Torah no less, ignorant of a basic Jewish law!

(To be continued)

About the Author:


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 Torah Perspective on Educating Our Children About Sexuality (Part VI)”

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 Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

The musical production was beautifully performed by the middle school students.

South-Florida-logo

Greige offered a post of her own. She said, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She contends that she was photobombed.

South-Florida-logo

This year, 40 couples were helped. The organization needs the support of the extended Jewish community so that it can continue in its important work.

In the introduction to the first volume, R. Katz discusses the Torah ideal, arguing that the Torah’s laws are intended to craft the perfect man and are not to be regarded as ends unto themselves.

A highlight of the evening was the video produced by the Kleinman Family Holocaust Education Center on the legendary Agudah askan Reb Elimelech (Mike) Tress, a true Jewish hero.

Until recently his films were largely forgotten, but with their release last year on DVD by Re:Voir Video in Paris they are once again available.

Though the CCAR supported the Jewish right to emigrate to Eretz Yisrael, it strenuously objected to defining Palestine as the Jewish homeland.

“Well, you are also part of this class! If someone drills a hole in the boat, the boat will ultimately sink, and even the innocent ones will perish as well. The whole class must be punished!”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I find his mother to be a difficult person and my nature is to stay away from people like that.

Here are some recipes to make your Chag La’Illanot a festive one.

Does standing under the chuppah signal the end of our dream of romance and beautiful sunsets?

We aren’t at a platform; we are underground, just sitting there.

More Articles from Rabbi Simcha Feuerman
Family-logo

As we have been discussing, it is essential for parents to take an active role in teaching their children Torah ideas in regards to sexuality and modesty.

Family-logo

As we have discussed over the past few weeks, it is essential, especially in these times, that parents take an active role in teaching their children Torah ideas in regards to sexuality and modesty.

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on how necessary it is, especially today, that parents take an active role in teaching their children the Torah’s view on sexuality and modesty. We have pointed out how important it is that first images to fill a child’s mind in regards to these concepts be appropriate ones.

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on how necessary it is, especially today, that parents take an active role in teaching their children the Torah’s view on sexuality and modesty and how important it is that first images to fill a child’s mind in regards to these concepts be appropriate ones.

Over the past few weeks we have been focusing on how necessary it is, especially today, that parents take an active role in teaching their children the Torah’s view on sexuality and modesty. It is important that the first images that fill their minds in regards to these concepts be appropriate ones.

In the past several articles we have discussed the importance of parents taking an active role in teaching their children Torah ideas about sexuality and modesty. This is because it is essential that the first images to that fill their developing minds on these concepts must be appropriate ones. There is so much invasive exposure they experience from secular culture, and much to be concerned about in regards to the existence of sexual predators in our midst. If children do not possess clear knowledge and an age-appropriate understanding of the parts of their body and how they can be used or misused it is hard for them to protect themselves.

Over the past few weeks, we have been making the point that parents must take an active role in teaching their children Torah ideas about sexuality and modesty. This is so that the first images and concepts that fill their developing minds are appropriate ones. This is especially true because of the amount of invasive exposure they receive from secular sources and culture, and also because we can no longer afford to be na?ve about the existence of sexual predators in our midst.

While it once may have been possible to shelter our children from inappropriate exposure to sexuality, today it seems to be an impossible goal. Even parents who have made every effort to appropriately safeguard their family may find themselves unhappily surprised at what their child’s friends have exposed him to. In addition, outdoor secular media such as billboards, bus ads and newspaper covers portray disturbingly graphic images that force us to confront the fact that our children are being exposed to ideas and ways of life we may consider to be harmful to their souls and their mental health.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/a-torah-perspective-on-educating-our-children-about-sexuality-part-vi/2009/09/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: