Feb 15, 2017

Mature Eleven Year Old

An 11 year old commented that she is not looking forward to being bas mitzva because then she will have the ol mitzvos (yoke-responsibility of mitzvos).  And she is not looking forward to age 20 because then she will be chayav b'dinei shomayim (obligated by heavenly judgement).

This was presented as something quite negative, that there is no joy in her observance of Yiddishkeit. I countered with - she sounds mature, like a yirei shomayim, not someone fixated on her bas mitzva party and presents.

True, she should be told that Yiddishkeit is about serving Hashem with joy, and this should be emphasized in various ways, with halacha and stories. But how wonderful it is to hear that a child that age takes mitzva observance seriously.

The other extreme is a focus entirely on Hashem loves us no matter what. Although that is true, it seems to be producing people who think they can dress as they please, go where they want, and do what they want, because regardless of their actions, Hashem loves them.

We need to meet in the middle and teach both yiras shomayim which includes yiras cheit, and simcha shel mitzva.

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