Sep 27, 2010

The Power of Chinuch

I was reading an account of a baalas teshuva and the woman said that she was amazed when a little Jewish child checked with his father regarding the kashrus of some treat before eating it.  She couldn't get over the child's will power.

When I read this I thought - she doesn't understand chinuch.  To a child who is raised not being allowed to do certain things on Shabbos and to wait between meat and milk, these mitzvos become second nature.  Passing a McDonalds is no temptation to me.  Domino's Pizza is a non-issue. 

As R' AJ Twerski puts it, "Every person has things which are essentially alien to him, which he would never do.  For example, I do not have to struggle with the issue of whether or not I will have a cheeseburger.  My commitment to eating kosher is such that the very thought is an absurdity, and if I were to pass by a treife food stand, even if I was extremely hungry, it would never occur to me to eat treife.  It is simply not within the realm of possibility that I would do so."

That's not to say that every religious child will avoid items of questionable kashrus.  I think what it does tell us is that if chinuch is done right there will be numerous areas of halacha and hashkafa that will be treated as a "given" such as not putting food into one's mouth without a bracha, not going to sleep without saying Shema.  Something to aim for in chinuch.


  1. Nice to see something else posted here even at this busy time.

    I don't think it means that she doesn't understand chinuch however. I think it's amazing to people like her because such things as keeping kashrus are alien to even secular adults let alone their kids.
    Kids raised secularly still have things that are forbidden to them, just with more human rational attached to it. Kids who are raised well in the secular world won't be tempted by things their parents brought them up not to do.
    For example, fine and upright secular people teach their kids that they aren't allowed to swear or take drugs.

    The amazing element here is that our kids are not doing things, not because it's bad for them or obviously wrong but because a higher force - G-d is telling them not to.
    Of course ensuring that our kids keep these things is dependent upon a good and solid chinuch.

  2. Nice to see someone reading what I post at this busy time! :)

  3. LOL, well I do need my downtime and the email notification helps so thanks for that.
    Currently I'm trying to wash my kitchen floors but each time I try someone starts making themselves something to eat in there, so I've run away until the kitchen is empty!