It is a positive Mitzvah to "emulate G-d's ways" (Rambam Deot, 1). To be a better father to my kids, I'm trying to see what educational methods does G-d exercise in the Torah to His sons when they misbehave.

As we can see the Torah testifies that the Jews weren't very obedient, to say the least. And G-d reacted to they misdeeds very promptly. Strangely, it appears to come down to two methods:

  1. G-d gets furious and kills his naughty sons immediately or He tells others (Moses, other nations, plagues) to kill them. E.g. the Golden Calf, Aharon's sons, Korach, Mekoshesh, Bnot Moav, Meraglim, etc.

    1.5. G-d gets "less furious" and promises to kill them later - Dor Hamidbar, Moses and Aharon (for Mei Meriva and Golden Calf)

  2. G-d overcomes His anger and postpones killing them or pardons them completely (called mercy) - Golden Calf, Kivrot Teavah etc.

What additional methods of dealing with disobedient sons that I missed does G-d demonstrate in the Torah alone?

  • 2
    I think you're misusing educational. Maybe you mean discipline – robev Jul 24 '19 at 17:35
  • @robev how do you translate "שיטה חינוכית"? The question is מהן השיטות החינוכיות של ה' בתורה? Please help me formulate it. – Al Berko Jul 24 '19 at 18:58
  • Discipline is educational. The emphasis of your question is how to discipline children so they'll know better for next time – robev Jul 24 '19 at 22:31
  • @robev I didn't ask for advices on how to educate kids, only what patterns are offered in the TOrah by G-d to follow. – Al Berko Jul 24 '19 at 22:48
  • God can resurrect those whose lives He takes away, we cannot. God knows both the future and the hearts of men, we do not. – Lucian Jul 27 '19 at 14:43

I think you missed the most important ones - training through experience, natural consequences, and guidance.

I agree that we do see examples of Divine discipline, and we also need to learn from that, but that is not what education is built on.

Some examples:

Expelling Adam from Gan Eden - forcing self-development when instuction was not heeded. God does not kill him, but sends him out on his own to learn about life the hard way.

Giving the Torah - instuction, showing intent, and warning of consequences, both natural consequences and discipline.

Forty years in the desert - something between a "time-out" and a guided contemplation, giving lots of time for the old to pass and for new attituted to develop.

See also Rabbis S. R. Hirsch's Nineteen Letters, specifically Letter 5, which present a educational approach of Judaism on the societal level.

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  • Thank you I appreciate your effort. I'd say your answer is too vague to start a discussion. You also mix Phat and interpretations. G-d sentenced Adam to a slow death and great suffering. Clearly. Please point to a verse that reads "forcing self-development "? – Al Berko Jul 26 '19 at 7:41
  • I understand your excitement from R' Hirsh but you need to understand his intentions, he wasn't interpreting the Torah "objectively" he tried his best to fit Torah interpretations into contemporary science and social values so Judaism would not seem so prehistoric. Nothing (practically) in his explanations is Pshat in the Torah. – Al Berko Jul 26 '19 at 7:48
  • Yes, I am giving an interpretation. I believe that is the only way to learn practical lessons from the Torah. Basically, we need to "translate" the stories into our reality. There are clearly no direct instructions on child-rearing in the Torah, so all we have is such interpretations. Actually, if you take the examples you gave and try to "act as God does" without any interpretative appliaction you will badly harm your children, because you will have no tools to "translate" God's actions into educational discipline. – simyou Jul 26 '19 at 7:53
  • I completely disagree with what you write about R' Hirsch. You are correct that it is not pshat, but that is by definition. He is giving an interpretation, not translating the words. I believe that he was trying to present universal ideas from the Torah which he believed (and I mostly accept) to be legitimate, true, and eternal lessons, though obviously informed by the ideas of his day. – simyou Jul 26 '19 at 7:56
  • You fall into the confirmation bias (I talk a lot about). You pick an opinion and then seek for confirmational interpretations in the Torah. You chose to believe in G-d's benevolence first and then seek compatible interpreters when there's no such Pshat in the open text – Al Berko Jul 26 '19 at 8:09

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