Sep 18, 2015

No Scare Tactics

R' Yaakov Bender says (Chinuch with Chessed), "Gehinnom is not something to be discussed with 8 year olds, and perhaps not even with mesivta aged boys.  You may discuss reward and punishment but the gory details of Gehinnom will not create healthy teenagers.  There is a time and place for everything.  At the very sensitive age of 13 or 14, we are not trying to scare our children into being good."

Threat of punishment is scary.  So it's not clear how he proposes to discuss the punishment aspect without scaring the children.

And while only scaring children into being good is not a good approach, why should true, scary aspects of how Hashem runs the world be off limits?

I wonder how R' Bender thinks teachers should handle the more gory stories of our history, stories like Akeidas Yitzchok, Chana and her Seven Sons, the death of Rabbi Akiva, the curses in the Torah which are delineated in great, gory detail, etc. And I wonder how he thinks the Holocaust should be taught. Or maybe he is only opposed to gory details when it's Gehinnom, but when it entails what people do to people, he thinks differently.

I don't know, but this thought of his made me stop to think. I'm not convinced.

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