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F5. Treatment of Children.    [Make a Comment]

We are to care for and not mistreat children.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Proverbs 22:6
Train a child in the way he [should] go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.

Matthew 18:5-6
Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me; and whoever ensnares one of these little ones who trust me, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the open sea!

Matthew 18:10
See that you never despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that their angels in heaven are continually seeing the face of my Father in heaven.

Matthew 19:14
However, Yeshua said, "Let the children come to me, don't stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, don't irritate your children and make them resentful; instead, raise them with the Lord's kind of discipline and guidance.

1 Timothy 5:8
Moreover, anyone who does not provide for his own people, especially for his family, has disowned the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Supportive Scriptures

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (see also Deuteronomy 11:18-19)
These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Proverbs 13:24
He who fails to use a stick hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Proverbs 22:15
Doing wrong is firmly tied to the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away from him.


Generally, the statement of the Mitzvah speaks for itself, and the only controversy about it has to do with the administration of spankings. The well-known saying "spare the rod and spoil the child" is often mistakenly attributed to Scripture, but its origin is actually a 17th century poem by Samuel Butler titled "Hudibras", which has nothing to do with Scripture. Nevertheless, Proverbs 13:24 and Proverbs 22:15 speak similarly, and have been the subject of law suits and prosecutions promulgated by some in our society who believe that spanking a child for correction is cruel and abusive. In oppositional response to that, much has been written on how to administer a spanking with love that is truly corrective.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the classical Jewish commentators.


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