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You’ll Always Be My Baby
“…he (Avram) armed his disciples who were born in his house…” (14-14)
However many the grey hairs that appear on the heads of our offspring, or however many the lines that appear on their faces, they will never cease to be our “babies.”
Obviously the relationship of a parent to a child traverses many phases. You can’t compare diapering your son to discussing with him a moot point in Jewish law, but there is always an unchanging fixed point in that relationship.
And maybe that fact should teach something: Bringing up children doesn’t end at their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It doesn’t end when they get engaged or married. It’s a lifetime duty to be there for them. And as they grow and mature, so do their needs become more sophisticated.
“…he (Avram) armed his disciples who were born in his house…”
Rashi comments that “his disciples” refers to Eliezer, whom Avraham initiated into the performance of mitzvot. The concept of chinuch (often translated as “education”) implies the initiation of a person or, for that matter, a tool or implement, into the service that it will eventually continue to fulfill as – says Rashi – “in the case of the chinuch of children.”
If a father teaches his son Torah in his younger years, but doesn’t give sufficient care to his son’s continuing development as a Torah Jew, that cannot really be called chinuch.
It’s clear from Rashi that we can only say that we have truly ‘educated’ our children if they continue to fulfill the instruction they received in their early years.
- Source: based on Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin in Mayana Shel Torah