On Sunday evening, March 24, supporters of the Bnos Malka Academy, parents, and community members gathered at The Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills for a special event on behalf of Bnos Malka that included a delicious buffet, a raffle, and an incredibly inspiring speech by Rabbi Daniel Glatstein, rav of Kehilas Ahavas Yisroel in Cedarhurst.
Rabbi Glatstein shared a sourced shiur on the Ten Commandments of Education that presented ideas about parenting that were truly life-changing.
Mr. Michael Salzbank, Executive Director of Bnos Malka Academy, greeted the crowd and introduced Rabbi Glatstein. Rabbi Glatstein praised Bnos Malka where his daughter attended elementary school. He began his shiur with a statement: “It’s not enough to hear a good vort. You have to know where it came from. An idea is only as good as its source.” He shared a source sheet and explained that he would be sharing the timeless words of Chazal, which are words from Hashem. They are truth and their compelling nature is just as important as the day they were given.
He first spoke about the contrast between Yaakov and Eisav. We know that Yaakov mentioned Hashem’s name when he spoke, and he was polite, but Rabbi Glatstein added that Yaakov spoke to his father in second person, while Eisav spoke in third person. You would think that Eisav’s way is more respectful. However, Rav Nosson Adler, the rebbe of the Chasam Sofer, taught that there is a fundamental difference between how the Jewish people address their parents and the way gentiles do. Jews address their parents in second person. In Judaism, there is such a tight bond of closeness between a parent and child that it would be wrong for a child to address his parent in third person. The merits of the child accrue to the parent. Since gentiles have a generation gap, so there is a disconnect, the child addresses the parent in third person.
He then quoted Rashi on several p’sukim in Chumash that show that your best friend is your father. Rabbi Glatstein taught that if you’re a parent and you’re not your child’s best friend, you’re not fulfilling the proper role as parent. The definition of the role of a parent according to Rashi is that a father is a friend. “You need friendship with your child. Rav Shimon Schwab also taught that a parent is a friend.”
Rabbi Glatstein said, “That’s a difficult job. It’s the job description of being a parent.” He shared that while Rashi taught this idea, the Chida also taught this idea. Both taught that Yaakov treated his children like his brothers. With older children, if you want peace in your household, you have to conduct yourself in this way. Rabbi Glatstein then quoted Rabbi Yehudah HeChasid who also taught this idea.
Rabbi Glatstein stated, “Treat kids like a sibling if you want them to listen to you. You need to develop friendship-commonality, warmth, and love with your children.” Interestingly, Rabbi Glatstein pointed out that Avraham used the same term, “Hineini,” when submitting to Hashem, as when he was addressing his son. We learn from Rashi that the same way you lower yourself before the Almighty, you have to humble yourself before your child, if you want him to respect you.”
Many troubled children today lack a parent speaking to them with humility. Rabbi Glatstein emphasized, “Children today do not need possessions. They need respect.” Commandment #1: A parent has a great obligation to engender a close relationship with his child.
Commandment #2: According to the Alshich, if you want to make sure your words enter the heart of your child, the words must be meaningful to you. “Words from your heart have a fighting shot to enter the other person’s heart.”
Commandment#3: Children look at how we deal with them particularly. Rav Pam taught that a child doesn’t care what you say or do. The way to teach derech eretz is if you realize that the child will learn it from how you speak and behave towards him. “A child’s value system is gained by how you speak to him.” As parents, we must be careful of the words and inflections we use.
Commandment #4: Children must see that Judaism is pleasant and happiness-producing. We must feel this and model this.
Commandment #5: It is a misconception to catch a child doing something wrong. It is not productive to do this. It is better not to catch him doing something wrong, so the child will still have the motivation to change.
Commandment #6: A s’gulah in Chazal of how to merit good children is a teaching from the Gemara that someone who frequently gives tz’dakah and performs acts of kindness will merit this.
Commandment #7: The Gemara teaches us that a person who frequently lights candles will have learned children. This can mean that a person lights early or adheres precisely to the halachos of neiros. Rabbi Glatstein taught that the correct procedure for lighting Shabbos candles is to hold a candle until the majority of the wick is on fire.
Commandment #8: The way you speak about the rav of your shul will directly affect the outcome of your child. If you love talmidei chachamim, you’ll have good children. Thus, how you treat rabbis will have an effect on the outcome of your children.
Commandment 9: Shalom bayis is very important with regard to one’s children. Rav Pam quotes the Steipler that 50 percent of what the child will become is dependent how parents get along in the home. Discord in the home is the most difficult obstacle for a child.
Commandment #10: The Yalkut Shim’oni tells a story about a Jew in the time of Ezra who had ten children, and every day he davened that they should be G-d-fearing Jews. He merited seeing children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, all of whom were G-d-fearing and kohanim g’dolim. Rabbi Glatstein emphasized, “The main ingredient in childrearing is, t’filah, t’filah, t’filah.”
Rabbi Glastein shared that Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky zt”l (the Steipler Gaon) davened every day that Chaim should be a G-d-fearing Jew. He said this when Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita was 52. “It never is too early to start davening for our children, and the job never ends. Invest your t’filos in your children!”
This beautiful shiur can be viewed on Torahanytime.com.