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Section: Questions   Category: Hashkafa
TAGS:ben sorer u'moreh  punishment
Hashkafa - Stoning a Child??
Submitted by anonymous  Answered by Rabbi Tzvi Frank
Question: I cannot fathom the law regarding stoning the disobedient child. Doesn't this sound like the Taliban? I thought the Torah is all about being a light unto the nations?
Answer: Actually, I believe most people get the wrong message from the disobedient child law.

To me it is a message of hope.  Let me explain.

The talmud states that there has never been a case and there never will be a case in which a disobedient child will be put to death.

The myriad requirements to be fulfilled before he can get to this stage in the process are staggering.

One of the final requirements that is the most interesting to me, is the requirement - spelled out in the Torah, that both the father and the mother have to physically drag the child to the court and agree to the stoning. Meaning that even if all other requirements are met and this child has reached the nadir of the lowest dregs of society. Still, if either the father or the mother has any hope at all that this child can improve, if any one of them can see past his failures and discern a hidden and buried spark of potential in their child, if any one of them just BELIEVES in their child - he is completely off the hook and the death penalty is revoked.

Such is the power of seeing the good in another person. It can literally be the difference between life and death.

Like I said, I see this as a message of hope and the awesome potency of the belief a parent has in their child.

I have heard this sentiment expressed by my rebbe Rabbi E. Svei shlita.
Tzvi Frank
posted:2009-02-01 00:30:41

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