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Sept. 24, 2022

Spanking Pt 2 "It's a SIN!"

Spanking Pt 2

Welcome to REBEL Parenting, I’m your host Ryan Dobson. Laura is still out recovering from cancer surgery. Prayers and support appreciated.  Thank you to our sponsors and donors! CovenantEyes.com / REBELParenting.org “donate” Let’s pull...

Welcome to REBEL Parenting, I’m your host Ryan Dobson. Laura is still out recovering from cancer surgery. Prayers and support appreciated. 

Thank you to our sponsors and donors! CovenantEyes.com / REBELParenting.org “donate”

Let’s pull the pin!!

I don’t believe there is any Biblical basis for spanking that uses pain as a form of discipline. If you can prove me wrong, I invite you to do so. Please use data and research, not your personal feelings.

I’m not using my feelings, or my own thoughts to defend my position. I am using the Torah, Talmud, Bava Batra, and past and present Jewish *Rebbe’s, Rabbi’s, scholars and the like. 

Aish.com “Sparing the Rod”

Under very specific circumstances, the Torah permits physical punishment. While normally we are prohibited from striking anyone (Talmud on Deuteronomy 25:3), the Torah permits a parent to strike a minor child (Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Choshen Mishpat, Hilchos Nizkei Guf V' Nefesh).A parent is forbidden to strike an older child, above bar/bat mitzvah age, (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, 240:20) because it is tantamount to putting a stumbling block before the blind. The older child will want to strike back, and we cannot cause him to transgress the Biblical prohibition of striking a parent.

Rabbi Wolbe explains that there are two rods in the verse, "He that spares the rod hates his child" (Proverbs 13:24) -- violent ones and pleasant ones. Instead of reading this verse as an obligation to punish our children, we should consider which rod is the more effective one in teaching our children correct behavior.

When is a parent allowed to strike a minor child? Only when it is going to have educative value and only when it is not done from a position of anger. We are allowed to feign anger, but we should not have real anger. A child can only be hit with something light which will not actually hurt him, like a shoestring (Bava Batra 21 A), and not repeatedly (Even Shleimah 6:4 ).

What is the Bava Batra? How old is it? What is it used for?

Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, a distinguished educator and ethicist in Jerusalem, explains that punishment can be destructive "because children generally operate in two mutually exclusive modes:

  • The learning mode, which is characterized by a relaxed and happy state that facilitates real change, and
  • The obedience mode, which is characterized by a nervous and rebellious state that inhibits real change.

Punishment often flips children out of the learning mode and into the obedience mode. When we punish children, we succeed in immediately stimulating the external behavior we seek, but we risk stunting the internal growth that could permanently change the child and produce good behavior over the long term" (Planting and Building: Raising a Jewish Child p.81).

We must also take into account the permanent damage that can be done to the parent-child relationship when we try to control with force. Any kind of harshness will create an emotional distance between our children and us. Our children will be unable to learn from us when there is distance. They won't be open to our admonishments or our discussions.

Most of us hit our children when we are angry or frustrated. We are not in control of the situation or ourselves. We are not educating. We are venting.

Chabad.org “Spare the Rod?”

One who spares his staff hates his child. What staff was King Solomon talking about? A staff is solid and doesn't change. A staff is used for support on one's way. For parenting rules to successfully show our children that we are trying to build them in ways that are good for them, the rules must be solid and consistent; they must support the growth of the children on their paths, and protect the needs of the parents. The staff is the "measuring stick" that the parent can use to show the child that there are realities, principles that obligate us all.

Chabad.org “The Parenting Rod”

The Torah refers to Israel's tribes either as shevatim, "branches" or matot, "rods." Both terms express the concept that the twelve tribes of Israel are all branches or offshoots of the same root. But there is a not-so-subtle distinction between the two terms. A shevet is a supple, pliant branch. In our case, the Torah chooses the term mateh, which connotes a firm, inflexible stick.

The basis of successful parenting is establishing matot—firm, unbending principles to guide our children. Children thrive on consistency, uniformity, and stability in their lives. They intuitively distinguish which standards and values we regard as essential and immutable and which can be challenged and negated.

King Solomon teaches in Proverbs, "chosech shivto, soneh benoh" which literally means, "he who withholds his rod, hates his child" (hence the popular adage, "spare the rod and spoil the child"). The message of this wisdom for our times is that a loving, caring parent must imbue his child with conceptual rods—firm and unyielding principles to guide him through the bewildering paths of life.

Children are not static creatures; they are vibrant, emotional individuals with developing intelligences and needs. Rules are meant to be constructive, not stifling and destructive, to create positive results while providing guidance to advance our children through life's journeys.

Massei, means "journeys" and it chronicles the travels of the Jewish people in the Sinai dessert to their destination in the Holy Land. Unlike the rod, a journey is, by definition, not fixed and unyielding, but represents fluid movement, a passage forward towards a goal.

On the face of it, these two principles of Matot and Massei seem contradictory. Matot instructs us to establish a steadfastness and immobility, like the strong non-pliant rod, while Massei encourages us to move forward, change, and transform. But in combining these two sections in a single reading, the Torah teaches us that both can, and should, be incorporated in our own approach to life.

First establish Matot, strong, uncompromising values as a basis. The Torah guides us with definite rules of right and wrong, the permitted and the forbidden.

But at the same time, the Torah provides a space and flexibility to accommodate unique needs. At times, small exceptions, detours, or a different approach must be explored for optimal growth, while still remaining true to essential principles.

Chabad.org Video Rabbi Shmuel Lew

“I wrote to the Rebbe that I’m very concerned about my own weakness of losing my temper, and even sometimes striking my children. I feel it’s bad in its own right, and bad for the effect it could have.” 

The Rebbe replied, “it’s about how you look at your children/students. Chabad is about contemplation. We believe every problem has a solution which comes about through cultivating the appropriate contemplation. One of the things to contemplate and to think into: is as much as these children are your children, even more so, they are God’s children. You would never strike the child of another human being; how much more so the children of God! To hit God’s child? Your hand should tremble before it hits God’s child!”

I think it is possible to biblically spank a child, but it is hard to do.  

  • I’m looking for an exact answer.

 I do believe it is biblical but I don't read the same Proverb  and conclude that I need a cattle rod in order to carry out punishment.   I get the idea and nuance of what should be done. 

  • Then where did you get your definition of spanking? I don’t think you do.

I'd love to know what he'd say about kids who don't seem to listen.  Or how to get their attention without a spank.  

  • You need more tools

And I wonder if the mean spanks come after giving a kid incredible leeway and being pushed sooooo far without behavior stopping?

  • This is a “you” problem, not a “them” problem