Sharing Torah Insights

Yisro- To Warn the Parents About the Children

Posted on י״ז בשבט ה׳תשע״ב (February 10, 2012) | in Uncategorized, Yitro | by

Decided to explore a Halachik topic from the Parsha this week…From the Sefer KMotze Shalal Rav

Do not do Melacha/”work” (on Shabbos) : You, your son, your daughter, etc.

Rashi comments: The simple explination is that this verse refers to minors being warned not to do work on Shabbos. Or [you might claim that it refers] only to adults-!? You must admit that they (the adults) have already been commanded. Thus this [command] comes only to warn adults regarding the Shabbos rest of the minors. This is the implication of that which we learned: A minor who offers to extinguish a fire is not to be listened to (i.e., we do not allow it) because [the responsibility for] his Shabbos rest is upon you.

Asks Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, why do we need a special pasuk by Shabbos to tell us that parents should not allow their children to do work? The Gemara in Yevamos (114) already quotes a teaching that the pasuk: “Do not eat bugs”- refers to not feeding children bugs (either). If that teaching can be generalized to all cases of warning the parents to disallow their children to sin (to the best of their ability) which it seemingly is, then why do we need a separate pasuk here by Shabbos?

[The basic assumption of the question (based on the Gemara) is that by bugs the prohibition is to be generalized, but by shabbos it is simply a specific one.]

One answer from the Imrei Bina is that by Shabbos we have the concept of “Meleches Mashsheves Assra Torah”- The Torah only prohibited acts on shabbos which are contemplative [meaning having in mind to actually do the sin as opposed havig in mind to do something else, but the sin still happening to occur- a basic understanding of very large sugya as everyone knows] as opposed to acts done unknowingly. Halachically, a minor does not have “knowledge”, as opposed to adults. Therefore, had the Torah not specified that even by Shabbos, a minor will be held responsible for a Melchaa that he does if the parent does nothing to stop it- we would not have known from the pasuk by the bugs that this is so. This is because the case of the bugs one is held responsible even for non-contemplative acts.

Rav Chaim Ozer disagrees with the premise of the Imrei Bina and states that Halachikcally a minor does accomplish contemplative acts. [Many Mishnayos tell us that a child is not considered a “Bar Daas” – e.g. if a child reads the Megila for the shul, no one has fulfilled their obligation, because presumably a child cannot be considered able to keep other people in mind. This might have to do with the “theory of mind” concept I am learning about in my Experimental Psychology, but I digress. So it seems that Rav Chaim Ozer and the Imrei Bina are disagreeing about whether a child has he capability for “Meleches Machsheves” which is unrelated to this concept of Katan Lav Bar Daas-?]

Rav Chaim Ozer gives an alternative answer. By the case of eating the bug and the generalizable concept of this, the father is prohibited from feeding his son a bug, but perhaps if the child took the bug and ate it (and the father was not around or the child was not made aware of the fact that eating a bug is prohibitive) the father (and of course son) is not liable. However, by Shabbos there is a concept laid forth by the pesukimof Shivas Avdo. We cannot let our servants do a Melcha if we . Therefore by Shabbos, we need a specific pasuk to tell us that even if a child does a Melcha on his own (without the father telling him to do so) but with the “daas of his parents” then the parents are liable.

[The big question is what does Rav Chaim Ozer mean by “Daas of the father”/ with the father’s knowledge- the father has to warn his children beforehand about all the possible infractions of shabbos or does this simply mean the father did not step in when he saw his little son or daughter was doing melecha on shabbos– ?

Good shabbos from the Upper West Side of Manhattan (thanks to my wife for encouraging us and arranging for us to forage out of the Heights)

Yaakov

(I used parents and father interchangeably- I believe there is a sugya about a mother’s involvement on the chinuch of the children beyond the scope here)

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