by Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern
Be’ezras Hashem we’re about to begin a series of talks on chinuch habonim, child raising, an area in family life that could always use improvement and our goal is to give parents tools and techniques to increase their parenting potential.
Our great Rebbi, and mentor, Reb Avigdor Miller, said the following: people don’t realise that one of the biggest mitzvos is to raise a family. Working many hours to support a family and physically caring for children, are acts of service to Hashem. You see a woman pushing a baby carriage, two babies inside and a few more children holding onto the side of her carriage. That woman is a queen, she’s like a kohen gadol serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu, she’s doing one of the greatest things in the world. The world was created for being fruitful and multiplying these people are true avdei Hashem, they are the servants of Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
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To better understand this profound concept of Rav Miller, we will illustrate the value of a child to his parents both in this world and in the next world, Olam Haba. In the next world each child is eternity and if the parents realize how much each child benefits them after they are niftar (deceased), they will spare no effort or expense towards their children’s Torah education. Chazal say in mesechta Rosh Hashono (32b) that on Rosh Hashana the sifrei chayim and the sifrei meissim, the books of the living and the books of the dead, are open to pass judgement for the upcoming year. The question arises, since a dead person obviously cannot do any mitzvos or aveirois, why are the sifrei meissim open?
The answer is that Hashem looks at the offspring of the deceased, to see if they are observing the Torah. If they are Torah observant, if the children are Torah observant and their grandchildren are Torah observant, their mitzvos are attributed to their parents who brought them into the world as chazal write, “brom zaka vuah” a child can merit his father after his death
If the parents realize how much each child benefits them after they are niftar (deceased), they will spare no effort or expense towards their children’s Torah education
Similarly, Rabbeinu Yonah in Igeres Hatshuva (19) writes, that when a mother passes away and her children are learning Torah and fulfilling mitzvos, it is considered as though she is still alive and fulfilling mitzvos. This places her in the highest levels of Olam Haba, writes Rabbeinu Yonah.
This understanding of the value of a child, both in this world and the next world, can help parents feel more sippuk, more satisfaction and accomplishment when raising the children, and can alleviate much of the stress encountered during the child raising years.