What does the Torah say about good parenting?

The Torah's thoughts on childrearing are all to be found in the name of this week's (Diaspora) Torah reading.

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis ,

UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Office of the Chief Rabbi

Note: Israel and the Diaspora are not reading the same parasha for a while, due to the second day of Shavuot, kept only in the Diaspora, which fell on Shabbat. Israeli worshipers read the Shabbat reading (Nasso) last Shabbat, whle those in the Diaspora read the holiday reading and are to read Nasso this Shabbat.

D’var Torah: Nasso

The term Nasso, which is the title of this week’s Parsha, has three separate meanings. Nasso means to count. It also means to carry and Nasso means to raise or elevate.

I believe that, encapsulated in this one single word, we have three Torah-true keys to good parenting.

First of all, each child needs to know that he or she counts in our eyes. That we do not view children in comparison to other children but rather, each child is special in his or her own right. Each child is unique and we value and appreciate each person’s talents, abilities and potential.

Secondly, we need to ‘carry’ our children. Of course, where ‘babes in arms‘ and infants are concerned, we literally carry them. But this should extend well beyond that time – even into adulthood – because our children need to know that we are there to help them. We want them to move forward independently – encouraged and inspired by our teachings. We want them to carve out a destiny for themselves but they should also know that if ever they falter we’ll be there to steady them. We’re not going to impose anything on them, however if ever they turn to us we will be there to assist, to carry them through the great challenge of life.

Thirdly and perhaps most significantly of all, we need to ensure our children know that there is an opportunity to lead an elevated form of existence. Children today are searching for meaning. They want to have a purpose in life, they are looking for deep satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment – and we’re exceptionally fortunate that we can place in their hands, a legacy of Torah. Thanks to our Torah roots we can provide our children with the key to happiness and meaning, to joy and deep fulfilment. Thanks to Torah teachings, they will be rooted in tradition and at the same time able to elevate themselves spiritually, to lead a noble and wonderful existence.

So let us always remember the word Nasso. And thanks to a Nasso styled life,let us enable our children always to feel important, always to know we arethere to support them and also to appreciate how fortunate they are to lead an elevated form of existence.

Shabbat shalom



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