Teaching child a trade

Teaching child a trade:[1]
Every person is obligated to teach his son a trade or how to do business and if he does not do so it is as if he is teaching him to steal.[2] [This is a Biblical obligation.[3]]

 Q&A

Must a mother teach her son a trade?[4]
No.

Must a father teach a daughter a trade?
Some[5] write that a father is not obligated to teach his daughter a trade. Others[6] write that one is obligated to teach his daughter a trade.

At what age is a father obligated to teach his child a trade?
There is no specific age recorded in the Poskim and hence seemingly so long as one continues to support his child there is no requirement to teach him a trade at an early age.[7] On the other hand he must teach him early enough so that when the child becomes independent he will now be able to support himself.[8] However, once the child is reaching of age that the parent desires or knows that he must support himself, then the father is obligated to teach him a trade. Practically, it is accustomed today [even in the secular world] to teach a child a trade only when he is older [of college age]. Thus, a person can go to Yeshiva throughout his teen years and when he is ready to get married and support himself the father is obligated to teach him a trade.

What trade is the father obligated to teach his child?
The father is obligated to teach him a trade that will be able to support the common expenses in that country. The Gemara[9] states that the father is to teach him an easy and clean trade. A trade that is free of sin and of stealing, and does not involve the opposite gender. There is no obligation to teach the child a sophisticated trade that takes many years to learn, such as a doctor or lawyer, and on the contrary, doing so is discouraged as it removes the person from his main job of learning Torah.[10]

Must the father teach a trade if the son can simply get a random job?
Today, there are countless job opportunities available which do not require any prior training. Seemingly, if such jobs are available in one’s area and the child can support himself with such a job then it is not necessary to teach him a specific trade. If however such jobs are not realistic then the father would be obligated to teach him a trade.

On what do people rely today that they do not teach their children a trade?
Seemingly, people rely on the fact that the child can get a job in a field that does not require any prior education. Alternatively, by sending their child to Yeshiva, they educate their child to be able to get a job in Kodesh, such as a Milameid or Maggid Shiur and the like. Nonetheless, every parent must be realistic with the job availabilities in the field that he is intending for his son to support himself in, and hence if the job is not realistic he would be obligated to teach his child an alternative profession.

If a child desires to continue learning in Yeshiva, must the father teach him a trade?
If a child desires to continue learning in Yeshiva, and not learn secular studies, he is to be encouraged to do so.[11] Nevertheless, upon the child reaching close to independence, the father is to have him learn for some kind of profession that he can support himself with. Alternatively, the father can rely on the fact that by merely knowing the language of the country the child is able to get a job to support himself, despite not having a specific profession.

Q&A on Secular studies

Is teaching secular studies to one’s child required as part of the obligation of teaching a trade? Must a father send his son to college?
No. The father can decide to teach the child any trade that he can support himself with. Although many trades require prior secular education, the father is not obligated to teach his son specifically these types of trades.[12] Nevertheless, some aspects of secular education are certainly an obligation for the father to teach his child, as otherwise the child cannot enter into the work force. This would include teaching him the language of the country and perhaps mathematics and other secular subjects the child may need to survive in the workplace, or in a profession.[13] Being that learning these subjects is a Mitzvah, as it prepares the child for getting a job in the future, it is even permitted to learn these subjects in a Shul and Talmud Torah that is designated for Torah learning.

College: Many colleges teach matters of heresy and promote an environment that is contrary to Torah and Mitzvos, and hence it is forbidden to send one’s child there.[14] Nevertheless, it is certainly Mitzvah for the father to send his child to learn some kind of profession at a Kosher institution.[15] There is however no obligation to teach the child a sophisticated trade that takes many years to learn in [even a Kosher] college and university, and on the contrary, doing so is discouraged as it removes the person from his main job of learning Torah. It is possible learn a quick and easy trade and support oneself with it.[16]

Should Yeshiva’s and/or Talmud Torah’s teach secular education?
Ideally, Yeshiva’s and Talmud Torah’s are not to teach any secular studies as they are to be focused on the sole teaching of Torah, as the fathers obligation of teaching his son a trade can be fulfilled in later years or during other times.[17] The Chabad Chassidim in Russia as led by the Rebbe Rayatz, as well as other sects of Jewry, were Moser Nefesh to prevent secular education from infiltrating the Yeshiva’s. Nevertheless, in today’s generation, teaching secular studies in the Talmud Torah or Yeshiva is vital for the institute’s survival, as otherwise parents will not send their children there, or the government will shut down the institution due to the compulsory education act. It is thus better to have them learn in a Torah environment that contains secular studies, than to have them learn in public school.[18] These secular studies are to be taught towards the end of the day and only for the most minimum amount required.[19] However, once the child has reached an age where compulsory secular education is not required, one is not to teach any secular subjects in the institutions.[20]
Teaching English, reading and writing
:[21] It is permitted to teach in a Talmud Torah or Shul the countries language, and to read and write, being that learning these subjects is a Mitzvah, as without it a child cannot get a job in the future. Some Poskim[22] however rule that if available, a special room is to be designated for learning these subjects and it is not to be taught in the same room that the children are taught Torah.

Trade school:[23] If there are students who are unable to learn in a regular Yeshiva environment, one may establish a Yeshiva that involves teaching the students a trade, and secular studies associated with that trade. However one is not to teach other secular studies in the Yeshiva, more than is necessary according to law, or to learn the trade.
Teaching a trade in a regular Yeshiva:[24] One is not to teach a trade in a regular Yeshiva that is made for students who learn Torah throughout the day, in accordance to the schedule established by the Rebbe Rashab, and rather a separate institution is to be established for students who have such a need.

Who should teach the secular subjects?[25]
The secular subjects taught to students are to be taught by G-d fearing individuals, and is to be supervised by Torah scholars.

The Rebbe’s perspective on secular education:
As stated above, the Rebbe viewed that secular education is only to be taught in schools if it is compulsory by the government, and only to the most minimal level, and at the end of the day. The vast majority of the studies are to be Torah related. The Rebbe did promote opening a Yeshiva trade school for students who are unable to sit in a Yeshiva environment.

 ______________________________________________________________________________

[1] Admur 156/2; 306/13; M”A 156/2; 306/13; Kiddushin 29a and 30b; Shabbos 150a; Koheles Raba 9/1; Sifra Emore Parsah 1; Mechilta Rebbe Yishmael Bo 18; Biur Halacha 306 “Ulilamdo”; Omitted from Rambam, Michaber, Rama

Other opinions: The Mishneh Kiddushin 82a brings the opinion of Rav Nehoraiy who says “I leave all the occupations of the world, and teach my son only Torah, as only Torah will truly protect one in all situations.” Seemingly this statement of Rav Nehoraiy disputes the earlier statement of the Gemara. [See Biur Halacha ibid] However the Mefarshim offer several explanations in attempt to reconcile this statement with the previous statement of the Gemara. These are as follows: 1) Rebbe Nehoraiy agrees that one must teach his son a trade, however he is saying that the trade should be the temporary activity of the child while Torah learning the primary occupation. [Maharsha Chidushei Agados Kiddushin ibid] 2) Rebbe Nehoraiy is discussing a specific scenario where the child is of exceptional genius and will become a great Torah scholar who will be supported by the public. [Pnei Yehoshua Kiddushin ibid; See also Sefer Habris 2/12-10; Hamakneh Keddushin ibid; Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 245/9; Tzitz Eliezer 12/33; Mishneh Halachos 16/96; Yechaveh Daas 5/56] 3) The Mitzvah to teach the child a trade mainly applies in Eretz Yisrael, due to the Mitzvah of Yishuv Haretz. Rebbe Nehoraiy was speaking of the diaspora. [Chasam Sofer Sukkah 36a]

Opinion of Rambam: The Rambam, as well as the Shulchan Aruch, omit the above obligation mentioned in Kiddushin. Various explanations have been given as to the reason for this omission and if in truth the Rmabam disregards this obligation or not. See Binyan Tziyon 125; Igros Moshe O.C. 2/111

[2] The reason: As if he does not have a way of making income he will end up stealing from people in order to support himself. [Admur ibid]

[3] Mechilta Rebbe Yishmael ibid

The proof: This is learned from the verse “Uvcharta Bachaim” and Chaim refers to livelihood. [Mechilta Rebbe Yishmael ibid] Alternatively, it is learned from the verse “Riei Chaim Im Isha Ashe Ahavta”, and just like it is an obligation to marry off ones son, so too it is an obligation to teach his a trade which is life. [Kiddushin ibid]

[4] Ran Kiddushin 12b; Meiri Kiddushin 29a

[5] Mechilta of Rashbi 20/10; Sifra Emor Parsha 1

[6] Maharam Shick 163; Hamakneh Kiddushin 30b

[7] See Kesubos 50a that in Usha they instituted to teach the child a trade after 12 years old. Seemingly this refers toa  child that is incapable of Torah learning;

[8] There are also numerous Poskim who mention the allowance of teaching secular studies for children in a Talmud Torah as part of the fathers obligation of teaching him a trade. [See Sefer Haitim p. 175 in name of Rav Haiy Gaon regarding teaching Arabic and math; Yabia Omer 7/21]

[9] Rebbe Meir in Kiddushin 82b

[10] Igros Moshe Y.D. 4/36 that it is possible learn a quick and easy trade and support oneself with it, and those who want to learn professions that take lots of preparation and study, such as a doctor or lawyer rather than learn in Yeshiva, are certainly following the advice of the Yetzer Hara.

[11] Mishneh Halachos 16/96; Yechaveh Daas 5/56

[12] See Igros Moshe Y.D. 4/36

[13] Zera Emes Y.D. 107 p. 119a “Now that we are in exile, we must teach our children how to read and write the language of the country at a young age as otherwise they will be unable to get a job”; Shaareiy Rachamim 2 Y.D. 23 and Hod Yosef 1; Nachals Yisrael Sheiris Hanachala p. 10; Sefer Haitim p. 175 in name of Rav Haiy Gaon regarding teaching Arabic and math; Yabia Omer 7/21

[14] Mishneh Halachos 16/96

[15] Mishneh Halachos ibid

[16] Igros Moshe Y.D. 4/36 that it is possible learn a quick and easy trade and support oneself with it, and those who want to learn professions that take lots of preparation and study, such as a doctor or lawyer rather than learn in Yeshiva, are certainly following the advice of the Yetzer Hara.

[17] Igros Kodesh 9/188; 213; Likkutei Sichos 16/145; Meishiv Davar 1/44; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3/81

[18] Igros Kodesh ibid; Likkutei Sichos 16/145; Igros Moshe ibid

[19] Likkutei Sichos 16/145; Sichas and letters printed in Shaareiy Chinuch p. 295-299

[20] Igros Kodesh ibid

[21] Shaareiy Rachamim 2 Y.D. 23 and Hod Yosef 1; Nachals Yisrael Sheiris Hanachala p. 10; Sefer Haitim p. 175 in name of Rav Haiy Gaon regarding teaching Arabic and math; Yabia Omer 7/21

[22] Shaareiy Rachamim ibid in his conclusion

[23] Igros Kodesh 5/297 and 9/188; The Rebbe established a trade school in Kefar Chabad in 1955 for such students. See here for more information: http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/katavot/2016/5/21/379539933510.html

[24] Igros Kodesh 5/297

[25] Zera Emes Y.D. 107 p. 119a

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

/* "); /* ]]> */