Parents own the responsibility of the sins of their children until the child has reached their age of Bar/Bat mitzvah. There is even a blessing Baruch Shepetarani the father makes which thanks Hashem for releasing them of the burdens of their child's sin.

My question is about parental responsibility and whether that burden truly gets lifted if the parents did not do their job as required. Making a baby and raising a child to be a respectable member of the community are two different things.

Is a parent truly free from the sins of their children if they were irresponsible (beyond reasonable common sense) in the way they raised them?

Is this line of adulthood (where parents lose responsibility) a hard line or does it slide depending on how poorly a person raised their child?

Can it be argued a person raised in an absurd situation, where immorality was taught as morality and vice versa, that a child cannot retain the full responsibility of the sins they were raised to believe were normal behaviors?

  • 3
    Are you asking about a parent continuing to bear responsibility or a child evading responsibility?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 4, 2021 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


I remember seeing that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zatza"l told Rav Avigdor Nebenzhal that when his son became bar mitzvah, he could make the bracha ברוך שפטרני מעונשו של זה with שם ומחכות, i.e. making a full bracha, because he could be truly say that he gave his child a proper chinuch and thus was no longer accountable for any future wrongdoing that his son may do.

However other people, Rav Shlomo Zalman said, could not make the bracha fully, since they could not be sure that they have truly carried out their obligations of chinuch properly. In that case, they will still be held accountable for their children's wrongdoings.

[Source: I saw this in a parsha sheet a while back. I remember looking up the source inside at the time. It may have been the edition of Mishna Berura ויצחק ביקרא; there is a section of hanhagos at the back and it might have been there. Or it may have been in ספר הליכות שלמה הלכות תפילה. I don't have either sefer available to check, but I will edit this when I find the source. A friend checked this with Rav Nebenzhal himself and he told me the Rav said the story/psak was true.]


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