Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pele Yoetz : Condemns wife abuse

Pele Yoetz (Hitting - published 1824): Our Sages said, One who hits his grown son is liable to nidoi (ostracizing). They explain that it is likely to result in rebellion, cursing and physical attack against the father and thus the father transgresses the prohibition of placing a stumbling block before the blind. Thus it is clear that it is not just his grown son that he should not hit. Rather the warning is against hitting even a young child. This applies then to anyone he knows will not accept his authority for example in our times when chutzpah is common and a son rebels against his father. Thus he should not only avoiding hitting but even angrily chastising someone – results in an angry response and refusal to listen to criticism. In truth it says in Mishlei (17:10), A reproof enters more into a wise man than a hundred blows into a fool. Thus we see that chastisement is only accepted by the wise but one who isn’t wise will not accept rebuke.

There is a type of son who will not listen to his father or mother. In all such cases the father and mother need to understand that since they know their children well and recognize that they are difficult and lacking in fear of G‑d and will simply not listen to their parents – they should not command them to doing any service for them and they should try hard not to express their anger to them and not irritate them and only to speak gently with them. Now granted not all occasions are equal and there will be times that the father and mother will not be able to restrain themselves from ordering their children to do something or getting angry with them or even embarrassing them or cursing them. They will gnash their teeth in frustration and their hearts will be faint when they see their children misbehaving. Nevertheless that which the parents have the power to accomplish they should do and they should try and minimize evil. The father and mother want to give merit to their children in that the children should fulfill the will of their parents and they should give merit to their souls by doing that which is pleasing to G‑d.

 However what can they do since this is not a good generation and when the sons and daughters are with their parents they really have not much interest in this mitzva and they don’t consider it important. However when they go to Israel or to the cemetery then the children say if I only had a father or mother I would lick the dirt from the soles of their feet and I would faithfully serve them with all my strength. But if they want that G‑d should consider them at that time as if they had done it purely because they want to do it, then they should fulfill their obligation properly when they have the actual opportunity to so. It is only in such circumstances that when the deed cannot be done that G‑d considers the mere thought of doing good as actually doing it.

Since in these times when refined children who listen to their parents are in a distinct minority and in particular since they marry women who bicker with their mother-in-laws and thus it is difficult for the children to honor their parents as they are required – how wonderful it is for the father and mother if it is possible for them to separate from their children so that the children are not dependent upon their support. And similarly it is good for the children if it is the will of their parents that they separate from their tables. That is because the absence is better than a bad reality. It should only be that the hearts of the children should have the desire to honor their parents and they will receive a good reward in this world that they themselves will be honored from good children and the principle reward will be in the next world.

It is important to note that the prohibition of hitting is not only applicable to one’s children but it applies also all other people. In fact this is prohibited by is a negative Torah commandment of “don’t add” [concerning the punishment from the Sanhedrin which is understood that no man is to be hit even a single time without being explicitly sentenced to that blow by the beis din]. Our Sages (Sanhedrin 58b) said, “One who strikes the chin of another is as if he struck the Shechina. (Rashi explains that it means hitting any part of the body)... Rav Huna amputated the hand of one who assaulted others.”

It is fitting that all the leaders of cities punish assailants in particular those disgusting people who hit their wives viciously. Blasted are those that treat Jewish women as slaves. They attack them, hit them and rape them – and they feel no shame. It is a good idea for someone who has the possibility to punish them and if they can also to get their wives away from them if the wife wants to. That is because our Sages said that a woman cannot dwell together with a serpent and therefore it is a great mitzva to save them from these criminals.

And even to hit small child there is no permission except for a father for his children and a teacher for his students and a supervisor of children. And even concerning a teacher and his students it is appropriate to consult a beis din for what is appropriate in each case – but this is not the accepted practice. It mentions in Bava Basra (21a), “When you hit a child you should only hit him with a shoe lace”... if it is necessary to hit a child then only hit him gently on his foot without anger...

See also post Pele Yoetz - advice to abused wife


  1. Not the one I was refering too se here with English translation and listen to the Shiur for a proof to the initial point

    The Paragraph that starts : Visha ashar nafla Bgorala

    1. its a reply to this string Are you going to put up the Pele Yoetz about beating your wife and what her response should be? It is a reflection not of the Torah but the Culture around them as you will see in the Muslim Countries this type of talk is standard in the non Muslim cultures LESS so (and when there is the source is a Muslim Country Rav's Torah)


      Daas TorahApr 19, 2012 06:18 AM
      I am going to post the Pele Yoetz regarding hitting children and wives. But he seems to be saying the opposite of what you are saying. do you have a different Pele Yoetz?

    2. Yes I will be putting up the other Pele Yoetz - I'd like to know what you think he is saying especially in the context of his strong condemnation of wife beating?

    3. Pele Yoetz concerning abused wife - see new post

  2. Rabbi Eliezer Papo ztl born in Sarajevo 1785 and died in Selestria Bulgaria in 1826, Pele Yoetz, a classical moral treatise and compilation of essential Jewish concepts which is organized according to topics in the order of the Hebrew alphabet.

    The first entry in the book is "Ahavah" (love of G-d) and it discusses sanctifying the name of the Holy One Blessed Be He. The closing entry is "Teshuvah" (salvation) and it implores us to seek salvation not just as a nation, but also as individuals, who place their trust in an omniscient Creator. In between are many of the most fundamental principals, essential philosophical tenets, and ethical teachings of Judaism. Each entry in the book is written in a beautiful and articulate language that is accessible and inspiring to all people.
    Although written almost two hundred years ago. its eternal message and sage advice speak profoundly to the core issues of today.

    (from Seforim Center).

    This is a sefer that I wish could be in every Jewish home.


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