Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mother is main disciplinarian & should not show mercy when hitting kids

Shaloh (Shaar Osiyos Derech Eretz #17):Women are commanded to reprimand their children as the father is and in fact even more than the father. The reason for this is because woman are available and are more commonly in the home than the father. If the father is a talmid chachom then he is very much preoccupied with his studies. He simply is not able to keep a watchful eye at all times of what his children are doing. And if he is preoccupied with business and traveling from place to place – then obviously he is not going to be home.  It is stated in Berachos (17a), Greater is that which G‑d promised to the women more than what He promised to the men.... Rav asked Rav Chiya – what is the source of their merit? Rav Chiya answered, They takes their children to the synagogue and they accompany their husbands to yeshiva and wait for them there. Therefore despite the fact that the nature of women is more gentle than that of man they are required to act as men and be as insensitive as men and chastise their children for misbehaving and to hit their with solid blows. They should not listen to the cries of their reprimanded children but rather continue reprimanding them until they turn from their bad ways and go in the good path. This is alluded to by (Eicha 4:10), The hands of the merciful women boiled their own children.That is referring to those woman who show too much mercy to their children and refuse to hit them. By this inappropriate show of mercy they are killing them. It is as if they are slaughtering them and boiling them like they were the flesh of animals and birds.


  1. the citation form Job 4.10 is incorrect.
    Where is the verse really to be found?

  2. I am curious to know the source of the SheLaH's interpretation of Eichah.
    It seems to be contrary of the intent of the verse, as can be seen by reading the other verses.

    Thus: גַּם-תנין (תַּנִּים) חָלְצוּ שַׁד, הֵינִיקוּ גּוּרֵיהֶן; בַּת-עַמִּי לְאַכְזָר, כי ענים (כַּיְעֵנִים) בַּמִּדְבָּר. {ס} 3 Even the jackals draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones; the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.

    Following the "logic" of the Shlah, it is a good midah for women to be crueler than Jackals when it comes to their own children?
    This would also fit the tenor of the moshul of the black crow.

  3. An explanation often given as to why in this past weeks parsha, the mother is mentiond fist when it comes to yirah and the father is mentioned first when it comes to kavod is because the natural tendency is the opposite.

  4. where is the pele yoetz you once quoted against hitting


    2. here is another flow chart of ideas:

      We see in this post and the previous ones that parents should crush their natural instincts of mercy towards their children, in order to discipline them and also to help them study in yeshiva.

      The verse in Eicha is "inverted" to squeeze this meaning out of it. however v3 makes the kal v chomer claim that even jackals have some mercy for their young, and ironically the sinners of Israel did not.

      Now the philosopher Descartes held a position that animals have no emotions or even consciousness,and do not really feel pain. This position was already held by RambaN, who said that we show mercy to animals for ourselves and not for their benefit. However, Maimonides disagreed with this position - he wrote that animals have many strong emotions.
      V3 in Eicha agrees with Maimonides.
      The problem with these strict arguments is the dehumanizing effect it has on us. It also has a theological problem: if we show less mercy for our own young than animals do, then how can we ask Hashem to show us mercy and to let his Mercy override his Justice?
      The cynic (me) would argue that these dictates are designed to make us into obedient robots. Once this is achieved, then we can be made to commit any sins, with little or no protest.


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