Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Raising Children to be Rich in Torah and Money

by Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

The gemora in Horiyuse 10B tells how the students of Rovo, one of the greatest sages of the gemora, visited him. He asked them if they finished this and that volume of the Talmud and they said they have finished the books. He then asked them if they were wealthy. Rav Popo replied that he was wealthy. Rovo was pleased with this response, because one who is comfortable financially can learn Torah with peace of mind, unlike a person troubled constantly with debt.

We have a gemora quoting Shlomo HaMelech in Mishlei that one should not marry until he  has a house and a good job. See Sota 44a. When we note that in Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer I:3 it says a man should marry before twenty, and when we find in chazal "an eighteen year old should marry" we wonder where all the money came that an eighteen year old who spent most of his time learning Torah suddenly had money for a house and a good job.

The answer is as follows: A child has no obligation to keep the Torah, because only one who is Bar Mitsvah must keep the Torah. However, the father of the child has an obligation to train the boy for adulthood. Whatever an adult must do the child must be trained for it. If an adult must learn nine hours a day and work three hours a day as the Rambam Talmud Torah I:12  and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 156:1  tell us, a father must teach his son at a very early age to learn how to earn. Originally, the father makes it very easy, such as telling the son to go to school with some fruit from the farm and trade it with another child who is also learning how to buy and sell. But gradually, the child builds up experience, is trained to rap on doors, finds out the hard way that some people are not honest, and gradually develops under his father's tutelage into a first rate businessman. At the age of Bar Mitsvah he is already learning how to invest his savings into buying property if the price is right, and then he sells is when the price rises. At the age of eighteen he is ready for marriage. He has money for a house and has a going business in various things, real estate, selling things from the farm such as leather, and other opportunities.

Imagine a house where an eighteen year old boy has wealth. How much peace and contentment is in that house. How happy is the wife who can have what she needs and more. How happy are the children of that house, especially when their father begins training them in business, together with their main efforts, in learning Torah. Such a family trains children to be great in Torah and wealthy. This is what the Torah wants from people, if they make the effort and merit it. Because not everyone merits wealth, but it is surely an ideal to strive for.

Some rabbis such as Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehuda the Prince were extremely wealthy. Some were very poor, like Hillel. But how lovely it is to train a child from childhood to aim for wealth, to understand business, and to manage, in a few hours as a child, to establish himself as a successful businessman by the time he reaches marital age.

Children spend hours and hours on having fun. The best fun is to learn to earn and to watch the coins pile up. That brings a family of happiness and blessing.

Question: Do we raise our children to be great in Torah and wealthy? Or do we raise them to be "Great" in Torah, which almost never happens, and when it doesn't happen, a family is in trouble. And if we don't raise a child to earn, and he faces marital age, what hope does he have to have a house and a good job? Is this what Rambam says applies to a person who does not have a house and a good job and marries, that he is a Tipash? Rambam Mishneh Torah Dayose V:11

It is time to think carefully: Are we raising our children to be wealthy and great in Torah, or are we raising them to be Tipshim? Recall the above, that a gemora in Sota 44a clearly forbids marriage without a house and a good job, and this is brought in Shulchan Aruch Oruch Chaim 156:1. Why do so many people ignore open gemoras and poskim? Why, when we see the misery in so many broken families, we don't think into this?

Anyone who wants to discuss this with me can reach me at 845-578-1917 or dddeid@verizon.net.