Bar-Mitzvah


Bar-Mitzvah

“The young boys (Yaacov and Eisav) matured” Rabbi Levy said “This is analagous to a myrtle and a thorn bush which grow together (when they are small you can not tell the difference) once they have matured and flowered, one gives it fragrance and the other gives its thorns. Similarly, for [the first] thirteen years both go to school and both return from school. After thirteen one would go to the study hall and the other would go to the hall of idolotry.” Rabbi Eliezer says “A man needs to take care of his son until he is thirteen, from then on he should say ‘blesses is the one who has exempted me form the punishment of this one'”

This Midrash has been misinterpreted by some who explained that even if you send your children to the best yeshivah you must keep a very close eye on them because their exist forces which can heavily affect a child. Although there certainly are strong social forces found outside of school and that parents must educate their child to avoid the lower elements of society this Midrash is teaching anything but that. Instead it is teaching a very important perspective which many parents can benefit from.

It is clear that the Midrash would like to tell us that Yaacov and Eisav received the same exact yeshivah education and upringing at home. They seemed as similar as two different species of plants which look the same as seedlings. For whatever reason you would like Eisav did not benefit from living with his rightuous father.

This Midrash is telling us that if a child leaves the ways which we believe to be important, even if the child used to be ‘such an angel,’ we must live our own lives and thank G-d that we are not responsible for the childs actions.

This not only includes ethical or religious attitudes which we profess but also consist of anything we anticipate from our children. As every parent learns sometime in his life children do not live out thier parents dreams.

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