Dealing with Wayward Children

Dealing with Wayward Children

Dealing with Wayward Children

Recently someone asked about the Ben Sorer Umoreh – Wayward and rebellious child case.

As was stated you must look at this through Anthropological eyes. Unfortunately many who do still come with improper answers.

It has been said in the name of Rabbi Solomon Sassoon Za”l that the wayward son discussion in the Torah is a protection of the child and not a murderous method to get rid of fat children with behavior problems.

In the ancient East and to a certain extent today’s Arabs a father had total legal jurisdiction over his family. If they did something which harmed the honor of the family the father, as head of the household, had powers of life and death over his family.

If a girl managed to get herself pregnant the father could do away with her. (I know of a story like this which recently happened in Silwan)

The father also had the power to do away with a son who proved himself to be criminally oriented. When G-d gave us the Torah we were commanded to bring such a child to the Beit Din. The Beit Din, hopefully, had wise men who knew that the real intention of the Torah was to save the child’s life. Hence, you have strange rabbinic statements that the father and mother need to have the same exact voice, that the child must have stolen wine and the like and many other qualifications which led up to the statement that there never was a child killed in such circumstances.

You can see from this that the rabbi’s impossible qualification for the wayward child are indeed within the spirit of the Torah.

Similar to this is the “Get” which actually served to protect women’s rights. (no offense intended) Previously, a husband could just send his wife away with a simple phrase (like today’s Muslims) The Get prevented quick divorces. The Rabbis in instituting a Ketubah further protected women from quick divorces. A husband would need to come up with a lot of money before he could “get” rid of the “wife of his youth.”