The Family responsability for the child’s education — an Old Testament view

12 May 2011

The child was considered a gift of God for the family. In the Jewish tradition we find the belief that a family without children is considered to be under the divine damnation and therefore discriminated by the society. From a practical perspective, the lack of physical support into household activities and the lack of social security in old age were the disadvantages which sapiential literature often mentions. The birth of a child was a guarantee of social and economic success and, in religious terms, it was the safety of the Law’s transmission and of the continuity of Yahweh’s veneration.
Within the family, each member contributes to the education of children: the mother, from the birth to the weaning of the baby, may be the only „teacher”. After the age of five, his father was the one who took over the position of „educator” of the boys; the girls though are still trained by their mother. In special circumstances, a „nurse” use to substitute the teaching role of parents. These phases are not exhaustive since, chronologically speaking, this three types of education in the family can not be clearly delineated. Therefore, the whole family should be seen in Jewish society as an educational institution and not mere individuals.

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