Thou Shalt Teach Your Children “Skills” Part I: A Ten Commandments’ Tale

He who does not teach his son a trade teaches him to steal.

rabbi yehuda

the term “3-d chess” became popular the star trek television series. the brightest and most logical, mr. spock was a game enthusiast. “three-dimensional chess” is used colloquially to describe complex, dynamic systems with many competing entities and interests, including politics, diplomacy and warfare. to describe an individual as “playing three-dimensional chess” implies a higher-order understanding and mastery of the system beyond the comprehension of their peers or ordinary observers, who are implied to be “playing” regular chess.”

the ten commandments, while a simply written moral code, requires intellect of another dimension.  over the multiple- millennium, great scholars have taken to the commandments to extract wisdom. rabbi yehuda was one of them.  “rabbi yehudah hanasi was the editor of the mishnah in its final form. he is referred to as “rebbi,” teacher par excellence, and as “rabbeinu hakadosh,” our holy rabbi.”  jewishvirtuallibrary

in addressing the commandment on theft, the great rabbi made it clear. parents have an obligation to teach their children a means of earning a living.  implied is that children who are able to earn a living will be less inclined to steal.

as the rabbi lived from 135 – 219ce, his commentary needs to be interpreted within modern times.  the ability to work and have a job has perhaps supplanted the notion of “trades.”

there are the trades, i.e. plumbing, drywall & painting, and there are the occupations.  also, there are the arts.  finally, there are the “skills.” “skills,” in this instance, is a term for general education outside a truly specific field.  therefore, college degrees in english, a foreign language, political science, psychology or communications are ones in which a student may gain some knowledge and “skills,” they do not directly translate into a specific occupation.   employable “skills” include such things as the ability to research, use a computer and write compositions.

as such, parents must gain some understanding of these modern forms of “trades” as well as assess what their children may be capable of doing. as parents are either not in the position or qualified to teach their children a trade, they must spend the time to research the opportunities.

further, the task of training children is often outside of a parent’s ability.  absent a parent who has a particular skill, parents rely on schools, both public and private,  to educate their children.  likewise, there are apprenticeship programs which children can participate in. further, some children may require private tutoring in subjects such as in music.

in sum, who knew that parents taking responsibility of children’s education was part of the ten commandments’ framework? rabbi yehuda, of course.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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