Letters from the Rosh Yeshiva Shlit"a


בעזרת ה' יתברך – ערב שבת קודש פרשת משפטים, מברכים החודש, כ"ו שבט, שנת תשע"ט


Fortunate for parents who seize the opportunity to be Mechanech their children while they are still young, for as soon as they turn older, they are far less receptive to being told how to behave. The younger children are, the more they absorb and listen.

Shlomo Hamelech states in Mishlei (13, 24): One who loves his child will rebuke him, and one who refrains from doing so when necessary hates his child.

Chazal elaborate (Medrash Shemos Raba 1, 1): One who isn’t Mechanech his child because he feels bad doing so, will eventually lose his children, and they will shun Yiddishkeit. As we learn from Avrahom Avinu, he saw his son Yishmoel playing with an Avodah Zorah, yet he said nothing, and later he had to chase him from his home to ensure he doesn’t destroy his brother Yitzchok.

The same also happened with Eisav: Yitzchok loved Eisav as we see in the Pasuk (Bereishis 25, 28): "ויאהב יצחק את עשו", and he refrained from Mussaring him, and we know the outcome – he grew up to be Eisav H’rasha. Chazal say (Bava Basra 16): “The same day Eisav sold the Bechurah to Yaakov, he transgressed on five grave sins; he sinned with a נערה המאורסה; he murdered a person; he doubted the existence of תחיית המתים; he doubted the existence of Hashem; and he scorned the Bechurah. What we can learn from this is, the importance of raising our children with Yiras Shomayim and Middos Toivos while they are young, so we will not regret the missed opportunities years later. It would be worthwhile for you to look up the Medrashim (Medrash Shemos Raba 1, 1; Tanchuma Shemos 1, 1), you will see a few more incidents Chazal relate, including what happened to Avsholom and Adoniyu, when Dovid Hamelech abstained from rebuking them when necessary.

The reason I’m writing this to you, is because I want to highlight a נקודה in Chinuch; I recently noticed your son hitting you and instead of reprimanding him, or giving him a Potch etc. for being so disrespectful, you chose to ignore him.

I want to bring to your attention that this isn’t the right response, and it may even be that I am at fault, because I repeatedly implore by my Shiurim the damage of hitting one’s children; on one hand Maharosh taught us to have patience and refrain from hitting our children, yet on the other hand, parents must realize that with Chutzpah, if a child hits his father or mother, they must discipline him and give him a Potch.

Maharosh recounted that when he was a Melamed he would never hit his Talmidim – except for Chutzpah; and I heard the same from Yingeleit who learned in Maharosh’s Yeshiva, he would only give a Potch if someone was a מחוצף. As Shlomo Hamelech says in Mishlei (23, 13) "אל תמנע מנער מוסר", you should not refrain from punishing your child, "כי תכנו בשבט לא ימות", no one dies from a spanking, "אתה בשבט תכנו", you should give him a Potch, "ונפשו משאול תציל", by doing so you will save him from Gehinnom.

I hope it isn’t too late already; your son is five years old; now is the time to tackle his difficult natures. If you allow him to continue like this, it will just be harder later on. This is a mistake many parents make; they don’t realize that they must be Mechanech their children while they are still young, as the Rebbe quotes (Sefer Hamiddos Ois Bonim): "צריך ללמד את התינוק דרך ארץ מנעוריו", one must teach his children Derech Eretz and Middos Toivos while they are young; a child must clearly understand that something a parent said is undisputable, and there is no place for arguments or explanations. If a child questions “why must I do so and so?” the answer is: “Because Totty or Mommy said so.” No reasons or justifications are necessary. If a child hits his father or mother one must discipline him properly, he should learn not to do it again.

May Hashem help you, you should only see Nachas from your children.