Daf Yomi Kesubos 7
A couple who were about to give birth came to the Baal Shem Tov for a blessing.
“Rebbe, when does the mitzvah of chinuch – educating our child – begin?” they inquired.
“Nine months ago,” was the response.
Rabbi Meir would say: How do we know that even foeti in their mothers’ wombs sang the song of gratitude at the Red Sea? For the Psalmist declares, “In assemblies, bless G-d, Hashem from the womb of Israel.”
Many parents unfortunately take a lackadaisical attitude towards educating their children in our holy heritage. ‘Oh, when they get older, they’ll figure it out.’ Meanwhile, from the earliest age, they’re trying to create Einsteins of their babies and they’re feeding them Baroque music and multiple languages.
Chinuch begins at conception! Everything you do influences your unborn child, let alone your born children! What you see, where you go, what you listen to – all make their mark on your dear little ones. It’s a huge responsibility to raise a child – you are now the bearer of the mesorah – the tradition that your parents handed down to you and you in turn will pass on to the next generation.
You wouldn’t wait to educate your child in reading, writing or table manners. Why delay the spiritual education of your child? It’s vital to instill within them the values and teachings of Judaism from day one or even earlier! From the moment you realize that you are becoming parents, you need to reassess the spiritual climate of the home.
Are we eating the right foods? What should our policy be towards TV viewing in the house? What do we talk about over dinner? How does our Shabbos look? All of these matters will have a profound effect upon your children – it’s their environment and you want to make that as pristine as you possibly can.
Parenting is one of the most Heavenly pursuits in this world. It is imitatio Dei – the emulation of the Almighty, our Father in Heaven. May you merit the wisdom and discipline to provide a spiritual sanctuary for your children to grow up in a Divine environment with timeless values!