By Rabbi Raymond Beyda
And you shall teach them to your children to speak in them (words
of Torah) Debarim 11:19
In the second paragraph of the Shema Yisrael Moshe Rabenu repeats his
instruction to the Jewish people to teach Torah to their children. Of all
the requirements that parenthood entails the command to teach our children
is repeated many times in the Torah in order to stress its importance to
all generations. In each of the places where this all-important misvah is
mentioned a different aspect of the commandment is learned. What is
special about this week's alert?
There was once a man that sent his son to a great scholar asking that the
Rabbi train his son in preparation for his thirteenth birthday when he
would reach the age of Bar Misvah - entry into the adult congregation of
Israel. After several lessons the boy did not come back to learn from the
Rabbi. The curious sage contacted the father and inquired about his young
"I am not sending him back", responded the irate parent.
"What seems to be the problem?" asked the Rabbi, "We were progressing very
well towards the big day when he would accept the yoke of the
commandments". "Well, I made up my mind not to continue when my son
returned from a lesson and asked me, 'When are you going to make Bar
"What do you mean?" the Rabbi asked.
"My son said, 'The Rabbi told me that once I became Bar Misvah I would
have to put on my tefillin every day and so I was wondering when you were
going to make your Bar Misvah'."
"I was not able to answer but I did decide not to send him back again,"
The verse says: "And you shall teach them to your children - to speak in
them." Our Rabbis explain that the best way to teach is by example. If you
want to teach a child that he must learn Torah and observe its
commandments you should "Speak in them" - occupy your time learning and
doing. The best teacher is a father who does what he wants his children to
It is important to work on oneself constantly in order to become a
positive role model for one's offspring. Someone once asked the Hafetz
Hayim "When should one start the training of his children?"
"About twenty years before he is born", replied the Torah giant. The
traits necessary to be a Torah personality and a figure for one's children
to emulate takes years of training to develop. Therefore, one must begin
the self-improvement program years before becoming a parent. To be
successful in the job of parenting one must live Torah "When you are
sitting in your home, when you are lying down and arising and when you
depart on the road" Success.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Raymond Beyda and Torah.org.