May 5, 2011
Never Ever Hit Your Kid

Renowned educator Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg has an unwavering rule for parenting: Never, ever hit your child. And here's why.

Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg received his ordination from Telshe Yeshiva in Wickliffe, Ohio, has been a Jewish educator for 27 years. Since 1999 Rabbi Ginsberg has been the Dean of Torah Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Rabbi Ginsberg is constantly updating and adding to his professional skills. He received his master's degree in education from the University of Minnesota and in 2000 he was a Senior Leadership Fellow at the Center for Advanced Professional Educators in Jerusalem. In 2004 he attended the Summer Institute at the Principals Center of Harvard University.

He most recently graduated from Columbia University's Institute for Day School Management. He is on the faculty of Torah Umesorah's teacher training institute in New York and is a consultant for Crown Heights schools Oholei Torah, Beis Rivkah and Bnos Menachem, as well privately for parents in Crown Heights. is proud to welcome him to our regular advice bloggers as part of our Bettering our Community project.

By Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg

Many times when I have to address an audience, I prepare my remarks in the form of an acronym. I also use acronyms in lengthy lectures and in classes I teach. I find them to be very helpful in keeping on track and staying focused. It also helps the listener or learner stay focused and allows for easy review.

In a recent address to parents on the topic of parenting, I used the word PARENT as the acronym. I shared six pointers in successful parenting. The N of the word parent stood for the word NEVER. I shared some behaviors that I feel parents should NEVER do in their career of being a parent. The two main behaviors were embarrassing and hitting. In this article, I would like to focus on the message of NEVER hitting children. Before you object to my message and call with your protest, please read on and at least listen to the other side of the argument. I believe that I have listened to every reason why people say that it is a good idea to hit children but I stand strong with my belief that a parent should NEVER hit a child.

I dont want the message to be confused and for there to be a lack of understanding. For all purposes, when I use the word HIT, I include all forms of physical hurt from the parent to the child, including the potch on the hand.

Before we go any further, I am more than familiar with the message of Shlomo HaMelach in Mishlei (13:24) that the one who spars the rod, hates his son. I think that there are many ways of reconciling that message with my suggestion to never hit a child.

Let us begin with my own observations. In the course of my work, I meet with and hear from many children and parents. I have yet to meet a child who claimed that he would have been better off if he had been hit more by his parents and I have never met a parent who regretted not hitting the children more. No one has convinced me that anything bad happens if we do not hit children. No one has shown me that children become less well behaved if we do not hit them.

However, on the flip side, I have heard from many children and parents about the horrors involved with hitting. While I hear your response to that of well, I will be careful to hit my child the right way and my child will benefit from it, I have been witness to way too many casualties from being hit by the parent, that I think the best answer is to not hit and to look for other and better means of accomplishing what we want to do.

When one hears of how someone who won a huge lottery jackpot lost all the money in a short period of time and how it destroyed the person, the response is well, I will do it right and I will not let the newly found riches cause any harm. Facts show us that it just doesnt work that way. I believe that the same risk applies with the potential damage from hitting children.

By now you are probably asking how I can say NEVER when we have all been raised with the understanding that even those who dont approve of hitting children agree that if the child runs into the street or does something else dangerous, then they should be hit. If you can explain the rationale for that senseless exception for hitting, please contact me immediately because for the life of me, I dont get it. I suspect that it is one of those things that we just pass along from one person to the next, assuming that it is sound, while it really has no sensible explanation.

You may ask if hitting a child is wrong, why doesnt a law make it illegal to hit ones child. You are so right and I wish that the lawmakers would do that. I have seen way too much harm resulting from parents hitting their children that I think it would be a great step if we would outlaw hitting.

There is a point that we need to consider as we look at the pros and cons of parents hitting their child. Have you ever wondered why young children use physical means to get their way when they dont like something as they are playing with a friend? Is it possible that the two-year old thinks that it is acceptable to hit because he sees that as something that his mother or father does? Please dont respond that the child understands the difference between the parent hitting and the child hitting as that is the furthest from the truth. Just for the goal of modeling how to deal with things that are wrong, it is a great idea to not model hitting. I think that just for this reason in itself, it makes sense to rule out hitting.

I recently shared this message with a group of parents and one parent said that she remembers the four times that she was hit by her father and how she knew and felt that it was with and from a point of love. While I truly doubt that she is being honest with her feelings, such exceptions should not be the cause or the green light for all parents to hit. I once heard in the name of Rav Moshe Shapiro shlita about a great Rebbetzin who told how her father hit her on two occasions and how she felt that she gained a great deal from it. She shared how she had full confidence that her father was hitting her only for her benefit and not out of anger. However, Rav Shapiro said that in our day and age, hitting is not the proper approach. He explained that it takes a great person to take advantage of the hitting method of discipline.

The only real challenge to the position of NEVER hitting a child is the posuk in Mishlei as quoted above. The answer has already been addressed by many Gedolim who make the point that this is one of the rare exceptions in which we have to say that our changing times require a change in the way we raise children. I personally heard this response from Rav Shlomo Wolbe zl and his position against parents hitting children is well documented. Rav Wolbe explained that the word ROD doesnt only mean the actually stick but it can also mean a stern look.

I heard the same direction from Rav Michal Yehudah Lefkowitz shlita and in the Sefer Darchei HaChaim he writes about what happened once when he heard a father hitting his son. He said that if he would have strength, he would go and stop the father. In a meeting of Menahelim with Rav Michal Yehuda shlita, he shared this idea of the change over the generations and therefore the change in approach. He spoke about the famous Gemorah in Mesichta Sotah (47a) that instructs us to draw a student to us with the right and push him away with the left two steps that must be done at the same time. He explained that due to the times we live in, the main focus must be on drawing the student close with the right hand.

I once asked my Rebbi, the Nesivos Sholom zl, what was the right age for a bochur to start looking for a shidduch. He responded that he has a klal (general rule) that a bochur shouldnt start looking for a shidduch until a certain age (not important for this discussion), but he added that he had another klal that there is always a yotzei min haklal (an exception to the rule).

While I dont have the chutzpah to go against my Rebbi, and I wont, I am not aware of an incident in which it would make sense to have an exception to the rule of NEVER hitting a child. I can comfortably state that hitting a child is wrong and a child never, ever, under any circumstances should be hit. Let us use our intelligence and discover more sensible approaches to discipline. You will be amazed at what methods you will find and how much more effective they are!

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Amazing and Well Written Article
Many times parents hit there children, because they themselves were hit by there parents- and are therefore just following the chain. But we need to break the chain and realize that hitting only instills resentment in our children.
We can do it! :)
(5/5/2011 7:46:16 PM)
"Hitting" is a form of assault
It's really quite simple: if you don't have a right to hit someone else's children, you don't have a right to hit your own. "Hitting" a child is a form of assault against another defenseless human being, which would be illegal in any other context.

If "teaching" a child a lesson by assaulting them is acceptable behavior, why is it not also acceptable to assault an adult who has acted improperly?

Any person caught assaulting a child should be thrown in prison and treated exactly as they would be treated if they assaulted a stranger on the street.
(5/5/2011 7:49:08 PM)
Please share your methods of disciplining
(5/5/2011 8:00:51 PM)
Rabbi Ginsberg
As a teacher and a parent it is my belief that one should never need to hit. However I find a lot of issue with what you say. For example 2 year old child that hits is because he sees his parents hit, I have never hit my child and when he was small he would hit sometimes?? We find that in some sittuations it is ok to get hit i.s the story with the Rebbe Rashab and the Brocha on the tzitzis. When the hitting is not with anger and the parent is very cool and collective and with hitting he or she wants to show the child the severity of what they did, then I would say it is appropriate. If a father or mother never hits their child and then there child runs in the street and they "hit" them, albeit not hard the message that is sent to the child is "YOU NEVER RUN IN THE STREET AGAIN". I have listen to many of your speeches and with all due respect I think a lot of your foundation is not correct. To every rule there is a exception. Again I don't believe one should hit their child for most things, but there is always an exception, and with a big condition, that you a parent are not hitting out of anger. There needs to be lots of expression of love from parents to their children, along with firmness.
(5/5/2011 8:01:57 PM)
true story??
i once heard there is a Lubavitcher from England, cant remember his name, that asked the Rebbe about hitting, that he hits his kids and he feels bad about it, adn the Rebbe said
it's Hashems kids too , how can you lift your hand to Hashem's child?! Does anyone know if this is a true confirmed story? Who was the chossid?
(5/5/2011 8:05:36 PM)
Live and Learn
1. Let the writer practice what he preaches:
At the beginning of the article: Before you object to my message and call with your protest, please read on and at least listen to the other side of the argument.
Further on: I recently shared this message with a group of parents and one parent said I truly doubt that she is being honest with her feelings.
2. The writer: By now you are probably asking how I can say NEVER when we have all been raised with the understanding that even those who dont approve of hitting children agree that if the child runs into the street or does something else dangerous, then they should be hit. If you can explain the rationale for that senseless exception for hitting, please contact me immediately because for the life of me, I dont get it.
Very simple: For a young toddler, this is simply the most memorable way for them to know that they had better not do it again, and it is also instantaneous, so that the child learns to associate danger with real and immediate consequences. (As opposed to: When we get home in five hours, I will put you into time out a toddler does not have the acumen to properly connect his behavior with a delayed consequence). It is far better that the child deals with this parent-made consequence of dangerous behavior, than the real consequence.
3. The writer: I can comfortably state that hitting a child is wrong and a child never, ever, under any circumstances should be hit.
My golden rule is always doubt a person who is presumptuous enough to claim that he is the ultimate authority. And I dont think that this case is the exception.
(5/5/2011 8:07:00 PM)
I raised eight children ka"h. they are all grown up now and raising their own.
I do believe that a child running into the street is an exception to the "never hit" rule - a rule I believe in. You ask me to explain to you why I feel that way, so I'll try.
If my child makes a mess, say, deliberately pouring out a bottle of milk on the floor, I can try to get him not to do it in a gentle way. There is no big risk in doing it gently -- what's the worst that can happen - he won't learn the lesson so fast. So what... let it take him ten years to learn to be neat and not to spill deliberately. Same with other "aveiros" that he might do. Let him learn slowly, gently. No great risk
But running into the street - you don't always get a second chance. We can't afford to risk that the child might quickly forget the lesson gently learned. We need to ensure that the child will physically survive childhood. So this was always the ONE thing we did pahtch our children for. And now this is the ONE thing they pahtch our grandchildren for. My children recall that after they ran into the street (for the first and only time), my husband and I would discuss "who is going to do it" - that difficult job of giving that one pahtch. There was absolutely no anger involved. It was a painful job but we had to do it in order for the child to never, ever run into the street again. We always made clear that we didn't do this, we wouldn't do this, for some stranger who we didn't care about. Only for our own beloved child who we love so much. The kids got it.
(5/5/2011 8:13:37 PM)
Its Contextual
Once upon a time hitting was acceptable in our culture so it had its place. Today in our culture, it is no longer acceptable and therefore it should be outlawed in all circumstances.
(5/5/2011 8:23:06 PM)
Of course there are exceptions to the rule
My professor in college attributes his success in life to the beatings he received from his mama....growing up in south central his classmates were involved in gangs and all sorts of yuckiness...if he ever dared tip toe out of line his mother would teach him a lesson...he said if it wasn't for her he'd probly have gone down the path many in his neighborhood did (jail for some). im just saying there are exceptions. obviously hitting his bad....very bad.
(5/5/2011 8:33:07 PM)
How About Kicking
Maybe we parents shouldn't hit, but don't rule out a good kick in the tuchas when needed.
(5/5/2011 8:35:43 PM)
(5/5/2011 8:42:50 PM)
The story was with Rabbi Lew and i herd it from him. He once told the Rebbe how sometimes the kids make him so upset he wants to hit them what should he do, and the Rebbe told him that if you realize these kids are not yours, there Hashem's treasure that he asked you to watch for him you will not hit them.
It really works remember you dont own your kids they are just given to you as a job. You have to give a Din Vcheshbaon when your done.
(5/5/2011 8:56:21 PM)
to #10
how how would you like to be kicked by someone three times your size?
(5/5/2011 8:58:14 PM)
#9 has a point
you are correct studies show that hitting works in certain cultures even today. This includes black communities. However it no longer works in ours
(5/5/2011 8:58:40 PM)
hitting a child
when a parent hits a child he is just satisfying his own anger and not teaching the child a lesson in what he did wrong. it is just for the parents own satisfaction of his anger and then he just realizes it and feels bad anyway.
(5/5/2011 9:02:00 PM)
to number 5
it was rabbi shmuel lew
(5/5/2011 9:03:26 PM)
you are wrong!! u need to hit sometimes.
(5/5/2011 9:06:46 PM)
i completely agree thank you so much
(5/5/2011 9:10:01 PM)
Rabbi Ginsburg, and what if a parent did hit their child?
and reads this article, and decides not to in the future. It sounds like its too late and things dont look too optimistic for this child, from your perspective.

what do we do with this information now?

Would love to hear a response from Rabbi Ginsburg.
(5/5/2011 9:15:27 PM)
worthless piece
1. The author provides no evidence (professional studies or otherwise) for his assertions. I wonder what nonsense he will fabricate when he sees a child who was never hit, hit another child

2. In order to support his fantasy, the author conveniently dismisses all actual (albeit anecdotal) evidence presented to him, by labeling all who disagree with him as liars.

3. Talking about anecdotal evidence: the greatest lessons I learned from my childhood (and the only ones I remember), all came with spanks. So I'm probably a liar too?
(5/5/2011 9:26:49 PM)
So "they" the big therapist have a lot of methods which the author didn't share here that don't work either. Truth is the only thing that puts some children in their place for bad behavior is a patch or being shouted at. Most children that misbehave do not listen to when being disciplined in a soft or gentle way. Face reality.
I don't remember being patched but I'm sure I was because I was no angel back in the day. I don't believe it did any permanent damage. In fact after "pretending I was I'll once my parents shlepped me to doctors and specialist where no one could figure out the problem. A good patch put sense into me and I was healed moments after. having seen professionals the only that got me walking was a patch. My point is petch sparingly can work miracles.
(5/5/2011 9:27:37 PM)
There is a huge difference between a slap on the cheek or a potch on the tuches and kids punching and kicking each other. Children will identify the former as a reprimand and the latter as violence.

(5/5/2011 9:38:24 PM)
I Disagree...
MR. Ginzberg,
Although you are definitely educated to the brim, I'm sure there are things left to be learned... Firstly, to outlaw a behavior is not the way to go about it... it will only get innocent people in trouble... on the other hand, to educate parents on coping skills for behavior modification tactics with their kids is the way to go. though, a parent has the Bechirah Chofshis to choose how they want their kids to be brought up, and if i as a parent choose to hit my child for what i consider a gross violation of rules (i.e. running into the street) it is my choice how to handle the situation. when heaven forbid a child is lost due to the negligence of the parent to teach the child right from wrong, it will be too late...
on a side note - - - If only my parents would hit me when i was a little older, maybe I would have been more of a Mentch... (here I said it....) I can proudly say that every Potch i got from my parents was deserved, and had an everlasting effect on my behavior.
(5/5/2011 9:43:57 PM)
to 2
You seem to have overlooked the fact that jail is not an official form of punishment according to Torah. Do you believe that also "changed with the times"?!

To the author and commenters:
As soon as we "update" our morals to be more moral even than the Torah's, then we lose all morality.
(5/5/2011 9:46:24 PM)
To 5
It was Rabbi Shmuel Lew.I heard it from him first hand. MH"M told him" Der hant darf zich traysalin", (your hands have to be shaking from fear) when you think of hitting one of Hashems children.That being said,MH"M didnt tell him that its NEVER OK ,he just told him to think good and well before ,since its Hashems child.
(5/5/2011 9:46:27 PM)
I agree with #6. Besides if you write such an article without the options of other good working consequences, its not really worth much. How about the what yeh to do?
(5/5/2011 9:57:43 PM)
ATT: #5
I recently heard Rabbi Jacobson say that story about Rabbi Lew. (If I remember correctly.) Rabbi Lew was telling the Rebbe that sometimes hes short tempered when he comes home from work and finds himself hitting his children sometime...the Rebbe answered that ones hand should be trembling when hitting a child... and if one wouldnt hit a neighbors child how can we hit our own for they are Hashems children....
(5/5/2011 9:59:45 PM)
To #5
99% sure it is a true story and that it occurred with Rabbi Shmuel Lew.
(5/5/2011 10:03:19 PM)
younger man
Well I can truly say that if I wasn't given the once in a while smack I would have lost All respect for everything at a young age as I see in many children today that don't get the smack!
(5/5/2011 10:06:03 PM)
Dear Rabbi Ginzberg,
Although I do agree with you that a parent should never hit a child, there are times where hitting is the only way to teach the child the lesson he/she must learn.

I remember when my cousin was two years old and she ran into the street. Her mother did not want to hit her because she felt bad doing it. My mother convinced her that she must teach the child that the street is a big "no no", otherwise g-d forbid she won't be so lucky next time and a light anger-less slap is the only way to get that message across in sufficient time. (Of course explaining it in a stern way is the best method but it can take time and we want the message to get across right away) so that's what my aunt did.

The next time the little girl ran up to the street, she stopped short right before she entered the street and put her hand on her cheek and turned around to walk away.

She has a great relationship with her mother up to this day and it was the only time she was ever slapped.

No harm done but lesson learned.

In everything a person does there is the right way and the wrong way. A parent can never hit their child but still be much more abusive than a parent that uses a "slap" without anger and as an exception. it's not what you do, it's how you do it.

Please respond so that I know it is to me. Thank you.
(5/5/2011 10:08:54 PM)
kick in the tuchis 10
ya kicking is fine as long as yo don't hit
(5/5/2011 10:10:50 PM)
not a good article!
these opinions are a form of superiority not an attempt to educate. I have gained nothing because there was no substantial information in this article. Please next time post something informative as opposed to this. I can appreciate his opinion but not without concrete alternatives. What was the point of this?
(5/5/2011 10:13:07 PM)
to # 5
true story yes told by the baal hamaaseh himself in yechidus the Rebbe told him just like you wouldnt hit another persons child so also one should not hit his own for it really is not his own but the Aibershters child! How can one hit the Aibershters child?!?
(5/5/2011 10:13:58 PM)
Yosef Ber
I strongly disagree with your logic, but appreciate the valiant effort in protecting our children. This is the internet, your bio means nothing, its your logic that will prevail. No need to reconcile Shlomo HaMelach, words do not deviate from the simple meaning. Your article based on a classic twisted logic, goes something like this, I never met anyone that was harmed by not eating oranges, and I never heard of someone who wishes their life better for lack of oranges. Therefore eat oranges (or not). It just does not convince me. I agree with your filp side of horrors involved with hitting, but much harm can be does with verbal or oppressive abuse as well, so therefore dont speak to your kids?? We are parents and take our job seriously, no need for extreme drama to prove a point. And yes its just one of many forms of discipline. All the logic in the world will not convince me if realty shows me otherwise. Hitting under the right circumstances is a proven form of discipline. I think you underestimate children and their perception of right and wrong. I dont belive for a second that children will refrain for hitting if we simply do not hit them. I also find it interesting that you pull up the our day and age clause, as if that gives a green light or weight to your argument. As an educated person, you can distort any words to fit your agenda. You get an A for effort, now perhaps you can do something useful and approach our mesivta and zal organizations and then them know their failure rate is astounding.
(5/5/2011 10:15:48 PM)
never hit?
Never hit your child sounds good....but in practicality it may not always work. I do believe one should never beat or slap one's child on the face or anything extreme. But sometimes a patch on the hand is useful and the only communication a child may understand at times. The Shulchan Aruch says that during the nine days a father should avoid hitting his children because he might get carried away...due to the negative time of the month. But that indicates that it is not always assur or negative to patch one's child. There are many aspects to this. I agree it is good to refine one's character and to avoid hitting...but there are exceptions to every "rule" and it depends on the circumstances, the kid, the parents etc. It is not a hard and fast rule. But abuse shoudl definitely not be there.
(5/5/2011 10:16:40 PM)
well said
I completely agree but in a certain way. for young toddlers one should not hut them, but for something as dangerous as running into the street, a soft hit that wull do no damage might help. but only in extreme cases like that. for a young toddler it will scare him enough for the future but as a child gets older, and I know from personal experiance, when a parent hit a child who is old enoug to know what's good and bad and understands fully his surroundings, hitting can make the situation worse. sometimes when a parent hits, it makes the child feel a greater resentment towards him or her. not in a rebellious or teenage like feeling but children too feel like this. a stern expression, not an insult, but something that gravely explain either a punishment (trying ti avoid that as well but if needed) or the like then it would work more effectively. I have seen parents hit young children beforenot so young but young like 6 and up and the child only looks angry and hurt and usually it doesn't prevent them from doing it again. so parents please listen to what he said it really really is true!
(5/5/2011 10:22:45 PM)
Hit hard once, as a last resort,you'll never need to do it again
Never with anger,you must preface the punishment with a heartfelt "this will hurt me more than you"
Then the mere threat is enough.
Changes the perspective towards the yetzer hara.
(5/5/2011 10:26:35 PM)
to #5
yes its a true story the chossid was....
(5/5/2011 10:26:43 PM)
the rebbe rashab tzitzis story
The Frierdiker Rebbe clearly wrote that his father only hit him once in hs life, and it was a soft one
(5/5/2011 10:34:13 PM)
to all numbers
there is a very famous saying "a parent that doesnt hit their childen, does NOT love them"
Thanks for reading SMILE
(5/5/2011 10:42:48 PM)
whenever you say no. you always have to say yes to something else to compensate.
Please add to this article some things that should be done instead.
(5/5/2011 10:46:04 PM)
Hitting is Terrible

The reality is that many parents and my teachers hit all the time and mostly it was out of anger. Essentially that means that they lost their cool and got away with it.

At 35 I still have so much resentment to the teachers (in a Lubavitch) school that hit me, if I could I would sue them today.

As a mechanech for 10 years i learned that screaming, hitting, embarrassing and sarcasm as a means of discipline means that a) you don't really know how to raise/teach children and b) you have no self control.

There is a book by a Rabbi Noach .... (I forgot his name) that discipline is from the word Disciple. If your discipline is not teaching them, it is not discipline.

I strongly suggest people read Maizlish and Fabers book, How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk. Many of your problems will simply disappear.
(5/5/2011 10:59:39 PM)
Parents don't act like a bully!
"stronger" and "bigger" hitting "smaller" and "weaker" no matter the reason is bullying.
(5/5/2011 11:05:57 PM)
we all know story told by rebbe and Friedikeh rebbe;
Friedikeh rebbe tells of reciving a smack from his father when he didn't want to make new Bracha on Tsisis...
(5/5/2011 11:08:39 PM)
my father obm . used to say " dont spare the rod to save the child".. i still cant sit did i get. hasem yeraciem ,
i stoped after i got diorced. i wonder if my kids will hit there kids?
(5/5/2011 11:48:34 PM)
, ( , ) " ". , , , , '

(5/6/2011 12:03:23 AM)
You read, you decide:
When I was a boy of about seven or eight, I began developing a fascination with fire. During school recess or lunch hour, I would quietly go to the deserted campus Shule, where matches were usually left lying around next to the Chzzans shtender (a big no-no). I would take them and amuse myself by building small fires. I slowly became more and more daring. In fact, it got to the point that one Simchas Torah, when all the adults were busy dancing, I quietly went into the deserted library adjoining the Shule, and lit a fire on Yom Tov! All of a sudden, the flames caught on to a nearby pile of Shaimos, and I was seized with a panic. BH, I managed to put the fire out and leave the library before anyone noticed. However, I still hadnt learned my lesson; in fact, I became more emboldened by the thrill of my close call.

After nearly a year of such behaviour, someone finally spotted me with matches and fire, and passed on the information to my father. Had this not actually happened, I would not have believed it to be possible! I would never have though my father capable of this! My father a prominent community figure who is soft-spoken and well-known for his devotion to his children came to visit my school two days later. His visit was sudden and unannounced. He walked into the classroom, and asked the surprised teacher whether he could have a couple of words with the class. The teacher agreed, and my father spoke to the class for one minute about the evils of playing with fire. Then he called me up to the front of the class, and there, in front of my twenty-six classmates, he gave me a resounding potch to the cheek, and immediately left the room. [This was the type of community where teachers did not hit, even back in those days.] The teacher was speechless, my classmates were shocked into silence, and I ran out of the classroom to try and escape the burning shame and hurt.

I was very apprehensive about coming home that afternoon and facing my father, but I quickly discovered that he had already put the whole incident well and truly behind him. To this very day over thirty years later he has not mentioned another word about this incident. And the main things is that I did not touch another match for a very long time, until adulthood.

No, I am not scarred for life. Already at that young age, I appreciated that my fathers action was not a form of abuse, but a form of his caring for me. As I got older, I realized that it was far more than his caring for me it was really a form of his love for me, perhaps, one of the deepest expressions of his love. His reaction had not been impulsive; he had waited two days, apparently in order to think it through. After this experience, I certainly did not recoil into myself and become a depressed victim of abuse; rather, I learned my lesson, and moved on.

Currently, I am an active member of my own community, and I believe that people consider me to be balanced and grounded a testament to the upbringing that my parents provided me. I am in the process of raising my own happy children, and the thought of hitting them rarely crosses my mind again, a testament to my upbringing. But, I also know, that if the time will come, I will be prepared to mete out the potch, with the knowledge that it might be the greatest thing that I could ever do for my child.

Finally, there is one more thing that I have come to realize looking back at this event. I have come to realize that as shameful as this occurrence for me at the time, it was far more painful for my father to do. It certainly took a lot of bravery on his part. And I shudder to think about what could have happened had he not forcefully disciplined me.
(5/6/2011 12:22:12 AM)
The story of rabbi lew
I heard it from hkm as well he finished off by saying that the rebbe said (paraphrasing) but if u really have to it should out with love mitochondria ahavah
(5/6/2011 12:24:23 AM)
I emailed this to my parents
I wish my parents read this and stop hitting me. They have been hitting me for 45 years - if it didn't work till now, why should they keep hitting me??
(5/6/2011 12:24:50 AM)
I agree with you on some level
But you don't make a very clear argument, you don't quote ANY studies, and you outright dismiss claims that you disagree with, and apparently you haven't spoken to a great deal of people about this.
If you can't understand why a child needs to be slapped if he runs into the street, I probably can't explain it to you, with your big degrees and all 'A kop ken men nit arufshteln'.
And by the way, what are your 'sensible approaches' to discipline?
(5/6/2011 12:27:54 AM)
Too Radical
The idea is good and its close to the Rebbe opinion that we should teach kids with CHESED (meaning good even if dont desrve) bcs the Rebbe said that we are a generation of Chesed, nevertheless as we can tell from the story from Rabbi Law that "you hands should shake" means that you can have exception to the rull and of course to make sure there is no anger involve etc... sometime a kid put his life in danger when doing other things than just running into the street,
I understand why R Ginsburg saying for hitting a kid that run into the street " for the life of me, I dont get it."

ppl make it a rull if you run into the street you get hit "like now the parents are allow to"??!!! and there is no more moral to the kid bcs its the exception to the rule

(5/6/2011 12:31:47 AM)
I must say that as I am reading these comments I am shocked and appalled at the opinions of anyone who says it is ok to hit a child.

If your wife comes home after a day of shopping and you find out she spent way more money than the family could afford, is it ok then to slap her to make sure she learns a lesson not to repeat the behavior?

Of if you make a terrible blunder at work, which causes the company a great loss, is it acceptable for your boss to slap you to drive the point home and teach you a lesson?

Obviously in both these extreme cases everyone would agree that not only is violence morally reprehensible but totally wrong and illegal.

And if it is wrong for one adult to hit another, how is it ok for an adult to hit a defenseless child?

I cannot understand this. Just because a child is in your power and cannot defend themselves that gives the right for the adult to do whatever they want?
(5/6/2011 12:44:51 AM)
anger hit or lesson hit
there are different types of hitting. When a parent hits you out of frustration then they are trying to get an anger out of themselves. agree to number 15
If a parent pauses for a sec. and explains to the kid they are getting a potch bcs they ran into the street then this is a hit out of a lesson.
Always in life we have to think b4 we speak. As well with hitting our any of our actions. If its going to help the situation for the better than do it. This type of "hit" is not an assult.
Talking to someone when there angry wont usually help so if you hit someone when you're angry its coming from the wrong place. If you cant control yourself to pause and think then the NEVER hit.
(5/6/2011 12:46:47 AM)
To #29
I agree with you............alot of times the best children(Shluchim) are the ones that got petch on their hand
when they were young...........
(5/6/2011 12:53:17 AM)
why are kids runing into the street?
Maybe the parents should get a potch for not supervising properly
(5/6/2011 1:30:17 AM)
in kaballa
it says that there are some children who need the physical to learn the lesson. just like some kids NEED more hugs than others, some kids NEED to have the lesson of what not to do brought home in a physical way.
this does not mean hitting them in anger OR hitting them hard. The aim is to assist them in getting the message of the lesson - not to be more powerful, etc.
(5/6/2011 2:20:13 AM)
so what is the correct way?
i agree not to hit, but can you give some ideas how yes to punish a child?????/?????
(5/6/2011 8:41:59 AM)
Not always true
There are some exceptions to the "rule". In fact, there are cases when hitting is absolutely necessary, but it shouldn't be done with anger but with pure chessed for the good of our children. I'd like to add that I NEVER hit my children, and I was never hit by my parents, but in situation when it's necessary, believe me, I'll do it for my children's sake. Sometimes, words are sufficient, sometimes they are not. As everuthing involving chinuch, we need to find a good balance, but to say that we should NEVER hit a child is nonesense.
(5/6/2011 9:40:28 AM)
This is not what our Torah says
I remember having learn that one of the differences between G-d and most people, is that G-d always punish us to give us a lesson we should remember. If He sent us into Golus, it was not by pure anger towards us, but for our good. If He sends us a sickness, there is a lesson to derive from it, and so on for any other negative things that G-d send us: everything is for our good, Gam Zu L'Tovah. It's written in the Torah that G-d is The One who hurts and the One who heals. As children of G-d, the Torah commands us to emulate G-d. As such, when it's NECESSARY to hit a child, we MUST do it, not with anger, but like G-d who does it with love and concern for us. You shoud read what the FR told about his father giving him a light slap about the tzitzis. It was not WITH ANGER, but like the story goes, we can see that it was to give a lesson to the FR he nerver forgot. If the FR, who is one of our Rebbeim, decided to tell us that story (he could have decided not to tell us that story because of the shame of having been slapped by his father), it's because he wanted to give us a message in chinuch.

So the issue is not about the permissibility of hitting a child, but why and how we do it? If you do it to show how strong you are, you're nothing else that a coward and a bad parent. If you do it with anger and for no precise reason, your children will suffer from that almost all his life. But if you do it because the situation calls it, you must do it for te good chinuch of your children. Children know very well when their parents punish them out of love and concern for them, and when it's not the case. On the other hand, when it is not done when needed, your child will grow knowing that he/she can do any thing he/she wants, and his/her parents don't care so much.

Every child is different and a world by him/herself, this is why the Torah says, "Educate your children according to THEIR ways." We cannot apply the same rules to all our children equally. Some children need more attention and kissing, some other don't like to be kissed, some need less attention because of their maturity, some don't have to be hit to understand, but some others need to be hit (with love and chessed). This is one of the lessons we derive from the upbringing of Esav and Yaakov. They received the same eduation, but they chose different paths. How can it be? Because the methods used by their parents were only appropriate for Yaakov, but Esav should have been raised differently. He maligned his father, giving him the impression that he was interested in Torah and Halachah, and that's why Yitzchok loved him so much, while in fact he didn't care about kedushah. So every child should receive HIS/HER own appropriate education. So to say that we should neevr hit a child is not always true.
(5/6/2011 10:07:19 AM)
(5/6/2011 10:07:31 AM)
Not out of anger
From the video posted by 62, we can see that there are cases when it's necessary, IF it's done out of chessed and love, and not out of anger. Precisely what other posters wrote here. So we cannot say that "never ever hit your child".
(5/6/2011 10:49:11 AM)
to #56
I had a good laugh :) and I agree. Who's fault is it if a child runs into the street????
(5/6/2011 11:42:15 AM)
to 56 and 64
both of you are obviously not parents.
(5/6/2011 12:13:30 PM)
to #48
Wow, thanks for posting that.

Sounds like a serious lack of supervision if you were able to disappear during recess or lunch hour at age 7-8!
(5/6/2011 2:30:26 PM)
In the footnotes to the English Tanya, it clearly states that Chosid Does Not Hit
I think its in Igeres Hakodesh where it discuses a moshol where a merciful father hits his son in order set him straight. A few words later he repeats the moshol with a merciful and chosid (kind) father rebukes (but does not hit) his son. In the footnotes, it quotes the Frierdiker Rebbe's question why when he uses the term Chosid does he not mention hitting. The answer given, is that a "Chosid Does Not Hit"
(5/6/2011 3:05:04 PM)
to #48
I am trully sorry for you and your father. I am shocked at how you can feel PROUD of that horrible incident. Your loving father was oveir many issurim!
(5/6/2011 3:09:57 PM)
To #50
LOL...reminds me of the mother waking up her son, "Shlomie! Wake up or you will be late for school!!"

"But I don't want to go to school! All the kids make fun of me and everyone in school hates me!"

"Oh Shlomie, that is not really true, besides, you must go to school anyway - you are the principal!"

I guess if he still refused to get up - he needs a good patch!
(5/6/2011 3:18:16 PM)
absolutely wrong!
i respect his essay,but i totally disagree. a patch with ahava once in a while will get u a mile. to say never hit is absurd! we all got petch [more or less] from our parents & my only complaint is ,i should have gotten more! from which planet is he???
(5/6/2011 3:35:20 PM)
(5/6/2011 3:48:45 PM)
#68, suppose you list those issurim
And then go look in gemoro makkos, where it says explicitly that not just a parent but a teacher, and not just a limudei kodesh teacher but even a limudei chol teacher, has the right to hit a child, even if he is NOT MISBEHAVING. Because hitting is sometimes necessary "lehatil eimoh", as the Rebbe told R Shmuel Lew. You have to hit even a GOOD kid, to keep him disciplined. And therefore if chas vesholom the kid dies from the beating, the teacher is potur!

Herst? A limudei chol teacher hits a good kid so hard that he dies; can you imagine such a thing? And yet what does the Torah say? He is potur, because he had the right to hit him! And the same halocho is brought down in Rambam and in Shulchon Oruch.
(5/6/2011 4:02:04 PM)
to # 10
(5/6/2011 4:03:06 PM)
The fact
The fact is, hitting for for the sake of discipline is permissible under jewish law ,so how could some rabbi come and tell people they should NEVERdo it ?
(5/6/2011 4:06:55 PM)
to 72
Hit in public? What is the heter for that? For every proof you want to bring from one gemorah, I will bring you a conflict from another gemorah.
(5/6/2011 4:28:39 PM)
To the writer of comment number 71:
I would encourage you to speak to the young bochurim and girls walking around our streets from our good homes who are now almost lost (I say almost because a child is never lost). Ask one after the other, what caused them to get tuned off from yiddihkeit and chasidus and you will almost always hear being patched as one of the reasons.

What gives you the idea that people from the previous generations were so much better than us? And if they were, what makes you think that it has anything to do with being patched?
(5/6/2011 4:34:12 PM)
Unimpressive article.
Every reason that is given for hitting, is dismissed without explanation.
Someone who says they experienced different results, is not believed to being truly honest with their feeling.
No reasoning for the NEVER position is given. Unless this was sent by telegram where each letter cost money I don't understand why no explanation is given to a listening audience.
Attending the "Summer Institute at the Principals Center of Harvard University" does not a Harvard graduate make.

I'm a graduate of Oholei Torah, a father of three and more to come b'ezras Hashem.
I attend traffic school once every two years, I learn 3 Prokim daily.
I also attended the summer JLI Instructors course only miles from Harvard.
I'm a member of
So I'm qualified to disagree with you respectfully.
I don't believe in hitting as a primary disciplinary measure and certainly not as an outlet for venting frustration like some teachers I had (they don't hire such teacher's anymore thanks to Torah Umesorah's teacher training institute Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg and other consultants for Crown Heights schools).
But in my experience a potch CAN be good sometimes.
(5/6/2011 4:41:09 PM)
to # 5
The story was with shmuel lew. He was complaining to the rebbe that sometimes when he comes home after a full day, he would loose his temper and hit his children. The rebbe told him that his child is also hashems child. Sometimes one has to hit his child but when he lifts his hand it should tremble because its hashems child aswell.
Its very clear from this story that the rebbe had a different opinion on this matter.
Hatzlocho rabbo.
(5/6/2011 4:47:55 PM)
who knows
I got hit a lot as a kid.. and I was a royal troublemaker.. I think hitting is better than just dosing kids on drugs..

I always know my dad loves me and i love him.. Some cases I would say I didnt deserve getting hit.. but overall I think the fact that i'm a law abiding G-d fearing individual is because I got my tuchus patched
(5/6/2011 5:07:08 PM)
I have yet to meet ...
Sound like you do more talking than listening. Kids that NEVER get even the slightest patch, don't understand boundaries and tend not to do as well!

That said, you should NEVER, NEVER hit a child while you are angry (even slightly). Hopefully it should hurt you at least twice as much as the child.

Most parents that say they will NEVER, NEVER hit their children, tend not to spend much time with them!
(5/6/2011 5:41:01 PM)
To comment #77, let me share some stuff with you. I heard about Ginsburg's stand on patching and I spoke to him at great length about the subject. I was also a non-believer until I pushed him to the wall for explanations. Your point of him not detailing the reasons for what he writes is understandable until you realize that the points to address and share are not possible in such an article.

On a side note and one that I can't hesitate in stating, perhaps you should get a patch for being so sarcastic.
(5/6/2011 6:10:46 PM)
to # 5
i think with rabbi lew from london
(5/6/2011 6:18:37 PM)
It took at least a minute to find her.
I laughed too at the comment that perhaps the parent should get a smack until until I remembered when my 2 year old who was actually holding my hand disappeared in a mall and left me panic struck holding her coat while she dove under a clothing rack and hid. Don't think that can't happen because it did. I will try not to judge parents,
(5/6/2011 7:32:59 PM)
I read all the comments and it saddens me how parents insist and try to convince others that their slapping/spanking/hitting of children is legitimate. I thank Hashem for people like Rabbi Ginzburg who try to change their mistaken belief. Kol hakavod to you, Rabbi Ginzburg, and may Hashem bring a "ruach meemarom" so that parents will understand that discipline can be effective even without hitting.
(5/7/2011 2:47:55 PM)
to #81
I read it and reread it and I don't see where 77 was being sarcastic.
(5/7/2011 9:46:09 PM)
One Word
I heard lots of talk and discussion about this article over Shabbos and I had to take my own look at the article and the comments. Sadly, the point is being missed. Forget the word NEVER and assume that NEVER is an extreme. To all those who say that hitting without anger is okay and all that nonsence, that is not the hitting that is a problem and that is not what the author means. Let us wake up to tha reality that hitting children overall is a bad thing. We are hurting our children physically and killing them emotionally. I don't believe how a child can love a parent who beats the child with anger and frustration. Finally, I don't know why we are not looking for what the Rebbe said about hitting. I was told that there is clear direction NOT to hit children. The one good thing from this is the debate itself - it is helpful and healthy.
(5/7/2011 9:53:49 PM)
I agree with 80
a parent should NEVER hit a child when they're angry. when I was younger, I saw from time to time that when my parents hit, you could tell that they were letting out some frusteration, especially the way a parent hits they're child. A patch isn't meant to really hurt a child its really a form of teaching. A light patch given only in the extreme cases shows a child that a patch is somethign he doesn't want (not because it hurts rather because it means he did something terrible) when a parent gves the child a light patch and only when the parent is calm, it leaves a child who isn't hurt or mad at the parent rathe rone who realies his mistake. when the parent shows his anger than the child doesn't necessarily learn his lesson because the anger of his father or mother just makes him or her mad.
I'm not saying patchn is wrong, it should be used VERY sparingly, on younger children (older children such as teens will just become angry and humilated and not care if the parent is trying to teach a lesson -dont use a physical punishment such as patching against teens I have rarely seen it result in positive or effective endings) and make sure that the parent is calm and collective! may we raise our children in the right ways and have only happy well behaved chassidishe children!
(5/7/2011 9:54:04 PM)
firstly it is illegal in some countries and even in the USA if your kids tell a social worker etc. you hit them you may be investigated - keep this in mind.

Secondly there is such a thin line between discipline and abuse and many parents do hit out of anger... they need to learnt o control it. surely better no kids get hit at all then all get hit and a small percentage are abused with excessive violence because of it...

Remember also we live in different times, so many people frying out, there must be something we collectively are doing wrong - maybe this is it
(5/7/2011 10:17:05 PM)
pirkei avois 2: a bad tempered man cannot teach torah
in england it is now illegal to smack ones child never mind someone else's. A well known story if the tzemech tzedek in which he was asked to review a piece of gemorah by the alter Rebbe for half an hour only to be seen from the rebbes room 15 minutes later. With the mitler Rebbe in attendance the alter Rebbe hit him once with a stick on each shoulder. The tzemech tzedek later in life said he wondered why he wasn't smacked more than that for having disobeyed the rebbe!
(5/7/2011 10:28:37 PM)
smack and hug
It is OK to hit if it is out of love (ie to teach an important lesson), one must make sure to give the child a hug and comfort the child right after the smack, to show that its only to teach a lesson not because the child is bad.
(5/8/2011 12:35:57 AM)
A"A zeh hevel
The author provided no rational explanations of WHY it is wrong to hit your children, no support from any studies or professionals, and no alternative solutions. He merely stated his assertions as if they were immutable fact and deflected possible side objections.
(5/8/2011 1:44:14 AM)
Did anyone listen to what The Rebbe says there. You can HEAR The Rebbe clearly stating his opinionpublicly.Why all this arguing?
(5/8/2011 2:05:38 AM)
(5/8/2011 3:04:59 AM)
something does not make sence over here
shmolo hamelech says if you hold back the smack from the child you are being mean, self understood don't give one for no reason
(5/8/2011 5:29:17 AM)
Does the hug work?
To the comment of smack and hug, I ask the following question. If you are pulled over for speeding and the cop issues you a speeding ticket, would it make any difference if he gave you a hug after that? Please don't say that it is different between a cop and a parent. The point is the same. Don't fool yourself to think that it is any less of a problem if the parent hugs the child after giving a patch. A patch is a patch and it should NEVER be given. Ginzzburg is on the mark...
(5/8/2011 6:03:07 AM)
pirkei avois 2: a bad tempered man cannot teach torah
pirkei avois 2: a bad tempered man cannot teach torah
in england it is now illegal to smack ones child never mind someone else's. A well known story of the tzemech tzedek in which he was asked to review a piece of gemorah by the alter Rebbe for half an hour only to be seen from the rebbes room 15 minutes later playing with his friends. When asked he reviewed the gemorah. He said he did and was tested and knew it fluently. With the mitler Rebbe in attendance the alter Rebbe took out a stick and told the tzemech tzedek that as he only reviewed for 15 minutes he had to discipline him and proceeded to hit him once with a stick on each shoulder. The tzemech tzedek later in life said he wondered why he wasn't smacked more than that for having disobeyed the rebbe!
(5/8/2011 7:26:35 AM)
#88, in the USA
The constitution protects your right to discipline your child, and if you are investigated for hitting, without grounds to raise a reasonable suspicion of abuse, then you should sue the social worker for daring to interfere with your constitutional rights.
(5/8/2011 9:54:06 AM)
Behavioral modification
All behavioral scientists learn the Skinner studies, where lab animal behavior was modified thru electrical shocks to the system. A physical "potch", in order to reinforce the more horrific dangers of cars on city streets, can be lifesaving, like teaching a child to swim. Count me with Grandmother!
(5/8/2011 9:55:28 AM)
I have 5 children ages 44,38,17,16,14. I would have to say, that all 5 probably have had one small patch here and there. Some say spankings are out of love, but the only time I ever spanked was out of anger. Now I can tell you, that it was not a very good feeling when I was done. I wanted to say I'm sorry I was wrong but I couldn't do that. But for the life of me, sometimes it seems like there is no alternative. Fortunately, I think my children have turned out great. Did I inhibit them, or did I teach them we all must have some respect for right or wrong?
(5/8/2011 2:33:53 PM)
Regarding the article about NEVER hitting a child, I have heard justifications about giving a child a beating when they run into the street or put themselves in any other danger. It supposedly means, "Don't you EVER, EVER, EVER scare me like that AGAIN!" The child is then supposed to remember the spank as a reminder not to do anything dangerous. I can see the reasoning behind that. But if that's the case, the spank should be followed up with an explanation to the child according to their age and level of verbal understanding. I'm not saying whether this is right or wrong. But I would enjoy your comments on this.

(5/8/2011 2:36:34 PM)
Hashem's child...

As a child of Rabbi Lew, I would like to share my personal opinion about this issue.
Based on the Rebbe's words, one can definitely not say the Rebbe's opinion was that one should "never" hit a child. On the other hand, the conditions the Rebbe put in place for a child getting a potch are also quite stringent making that form of punishment a very rare occurrence .
Today, we can all learn from my father's mistakes - because he had the courage to 1. ask the Rebbe. 2. record the details for posterity and 3. publicize it.
My father wrote in his pa"n: "I sometime get very angry with the children and hit them."
The Rebbe's response, as written by father as soon as he walked out of yechidus (Motzoei Shavuos 1973): One of suggestions for this, iz tzu misboinein zein [meditate about] that every Jew is "Bonim Atem Lahashem Alokeichem" ["You are G-d's children"], however much they are your children, they are G-d's children and to hit G-d's child? Vet zich ah treisel ton dei hant! [Your hand must tremble!] Just as you would never hit another's child, how much more so Hashem's child! [Until this point the Rebbe seems to be supporting that article of NEVER, hitting a child. The Rebbe then added:] And that that one must sometimes to "l'hatil eimeh" [to frighten a child], but NEVER out of anger.
I learn a few things from the Rebbe's answer:
1. There is more than 1 solution to stop yourself from hitting a child, but...
2. Stop you must!
3. You have to use your HEAD (not emotions) when grappling with wanting to hit a child.
3. Shlomo Hamelech seems to be saying "If you withhold the rod, you hate your child," but that definitely does not apply to someone else's child. In fact, "your" children are not only "your" children, but G-d's children.
4. Just the thought of touching not just anyone's child, but G-d's child - should cause a parent's hand to tremble. This will give the parent enough pause to realize that hitting (even this rare time) may actually not be in this child's best interest.
5. In the very unusual case where a smack is absolutely warranted and specifically to plant a sense of "fear" in the child's heart (i.e. a very young child playing with fire or running in the street) it should absolutely never be from a place of anger.
(5/8/2011 3:09:40 PM)
Rabbi Ginsburg mentioned in the beginning of his article, that the other thing a parent must not do, is embarrass a child.
Please, we would love for R" Ginsburg to expand, and explain, Because embarrassing a child ( and anyone for that matter) can do tremendous harm, and is absolutely unexceptable in any circumstance whatsoever!!!!!!
Words and embarrassment affects one for life.
(5/8/2011 3:22:58 PM)
too far fetched! a little patch as a last resoet does not hurt
it does not always make sense of about what he said" Is it possible that the two-year old thinks that it is acceptable to hit because he sees that as something that his mother or father does? Please dont respond that the child understands the difference between the parent hitting and the child hitting as that is the furthest from the truth. Just for the goal of modeling how to deal with things that are wrong, it is a great idea to not model hitting. I think that just for this reason in itself, it makes sense to rule out hitting.
because all litttle kids hit to get their way since they can't speak up, even firstborns when they were 2...which didn't see mom hit brother or sister...
(5/8/2011 3:34:25 PM)
Oh Buruch Hashem you're spreading this. I can't agree with you more and I'm so grateful to know I'm not alone in knowing this (that it's wrong). Guess which part of my psyche, btw, is so relieved to read this.

There's something so, I'll use the word "icky" since we're talking about children, hearing someone justifying violence by using love as the reason. It's the antithesis of love. I heard my father say things like that to me before, during, and after getting beaten by him.

Keep up the good work/word and thank you so much.

(5/8/2011 4:23:32 PM)
Bravo! We have raised a family with seven children bli ayin horoh who have proper morals and are principled without ever having hit any of them EVER. Parents leading by living the morals they teach, consistency in rules and consequences are in my opinion stronger building blocks for character than corporal punishment.

Thanks for putting the article out there.

(5/8/2011 4:29:14 PM)
young kids- upto 2 or3 must see anger of the teacher/parent to know they did something wrong. it has to be sensory to get the message across. when the kid does some real damage, say ruing your %1000 sheitle just to test out scissors, u just have too bmake them realize wrong actions. angry looks and a swift patch drives the lesson home. they r too young to reason. older kids need other tactics.
(5/8/2011 6:40:34 PM)
i agree that parents shouldnt hit their kidz but thats just cuz im still a kid. but if i think about it, if i didnt get "patches" i would now just be a stupid dramaqueen!!!!!!
(5/8/2011 11:27:50 PM)
Practical Remedy For Kids Running Into The Street
My bechor, as a preschooler, used to run out into the street, and nothing I did would stop him. I potched, I screamed, I punished nothing helped. One day I was telling my woeful tale to a kindergarten teacher. She advised, In your very calmest, most matter-of-fact voice, tell him exactly what would happen to him if he got hit by a car. Hed fly up into the air very high, hed fall down and have lots of boo-boos, Hatzolah would come and take him to the hospital, hed have lots of shots and needles, Mommy and Tatty might not be able to stay with him all the time, etc. I did as she said, and my son NEVER ran into the street again! I used the method as needed with all the rest of my children as needed, and never had a major problem with this issue again. BH that son has lived to grow up and have his own preschoolers today. The method is timeless and can surely be adapted to deal with other dangerous situations.
(5/10/2011 12:33:17 AM)
Dr. Eliezer Parks
With all due respect to the Rabbi/educator I don't see what is hard to understand about what you label as "this senseless exception." If a small child runs into the street you cannot reason with them why it's dangerous. They may only get that one chance to learn not to do it. They need a loud yell AND light "potch" to get their attention that this cannot be repeated. Perhaps the children who would have told you they wished they had gotten this lesson are dead. Furthermore, they will associate the frightening potch with running into the street not with a "bad" parent. Caveat: if you need to ask about this then you may be one who really should never hit a child.
(5/10/2011 1:34:20 AM)
The Frierdiker Rebbe's childhood
The Frierdiker Rebbe recounts how he (only) once received a light puttch from his father. The puttch is part of an entire, hopefully, loving relationship with premeditated action. Part of this pre-meditation includes a pre-set criteria in one's own mind, exactly when to lay a hand on a child. With this kind of parenting, I have found that a puttch, in which the act stings far more than physical hurt, once or twice a year, from age 2.5 to about 8.5 can be quite effective for situations where a strong, swift message is required AND one can then walk away from that dark moment, and resume regular positive living. With some children the age is a little later. If you are hitting beyond that, you have the problem. And to # 108, this kind of relationship and puttching would be effective for a kid who is running in the street. I am B"H a father to many and also a grandfather. When I was a child, children could be hit by any adult, publicly and with impunity, and almost every frum teacher let out their anger on us kids via hitting and some times dangerously, and so did several goyishe teachers, so I am writing based upon experience. My father " tells me that when he went to cheder in the old country, it was enough for the melamed to glance at the strap that was hanging on the wall. It did not need to be used. That was his experience. The writer of the article spells out, that while there are exceptions to his assertions (some of which he does not believe--he loses credibility right there, because I do have a similar type of memory myself with my best teacher ever some 40 years ago) he says, make the rule to be safe. I say, instead, preach about pre-meditated and loving parenthood. And, yes, if you are losing yourself to anger THEN rule out hitting.
(5/10/2011 2:44:05 AM)
Instead of hitting, talk about embarrasing!
No matter how much damage hitting might do, it comes nowhere close to the damage inflicted by embarrassing a child, and that, Rabbi Ginsberg, is much more critical these days. Some "enlightened" parents don't hit. But most, and most teachers slaughter the self confidence of their charges by embarrassing them. If you are a teacher reading this let me tell you: Next time you imply to a student of yours that they are asking a stupid question, you should know that you are a rasha! By embarrassing them, you are teaching that student to hide ignorance, to ultimately lie and cheat and even drop out ch"v. I think boys will learn to hit each other even if they never see or receive a slap. But embarrassing tells them that you don't care about them and that they are worth nothing. I won't even get into the halacha prohibiting this. Self-righteousness will do away with "a mere technicality of halacha." If you do embarrass a child, it is perfectly ok to apologize. I remember the only two times in my childhood life that an adult (teacher in these cases) apologized for wronging a child. When you show a child that you saved them from shame--even when you needed to admonish them, they will remember it. And get this: The Gemarra in Kesuvos 37b describes the method used to execute a murder, and it goes on to describe a less painful method that must be used because the pasuk says ! Can you imagine that we concern ourselves with ahavas yisroel to a convicted murderer! So the next time you wantonly embarrass your little charges, ask yourself if they are worse than a convicted murderer. And if you don't care about this, what kind of a small nobody are you?
(5/10/2011 3:07:33 AM)
Advice for running into the street
To comment 108 - your experience is exactly what the article says. HITTING makes no sense and it doesn't work. Yoour son's kindergarten teacher was on the mark. Continued nachas.
(5/10/2011 6:52:19 AM)
to #104
You say, "hearing someone justifying violence by using love as the reason. It's the antithesis of love." Well, Hashem is our father (Avinu) and He loves us and boy does He hit us!
(5/10/2011 10:41:21 AM)
different approach
I adhere to the old age philosophy that says "hit your child every day - if you dont know what they did, they do" lol
(5/10/2011 6:03:14 PM)
Agree But Different Reasons
When you are hitting a child it is because they did something not ok, by hitting them that does not make them understand it any better...that just makes them fear YOU or the thing- saying such- if a young child runs into the street hitting them may bot be the worst thing to do because realistically a child does not understand why it is dangerous to run into the street- there are too many details for them to process such as looking both ways, driveways, parked cars pulling out.... that case I would be EXTREMELY stern- NEVER run in the street...
(5/10/2011 8:00:21 PM)
Another Street Idea
A mother I know puts a tomato in the street and waits with the child until a car smashes it- "that's what haopens to u when you run in the street"

I, for one, find it traumatic, but it may work for you!
(5/10/2011 8:02:54 PM)
from a child
i agree 100% when ever my father hits me i feel like not listening but if he says it nicely
(5/11/2011 8:33:40 PM)
wow this is amazing !
wow this is amazing for years I heard from others its ok to hit if its not hard .But as a child when I was hit that second I felt like my parents didn't love me ,but after that feeling went away .Now that i''m an Adult I can remember ,my parents hitting me .Don't get me wrong it was for good reasons but I remember thinking to myself I will never hit my kids no matter what they do .

Why would those who were hit by their parents hit their children ? they have no reason to because if they didnt like what was done to them ,they should naturally think wow maybe I shouldnt hit my kids because i dont want them to feel the way I did .

Rabbi benyomin is right ,never hit you're kid there is always other options ,which make the child realize he did wrong
(5/20/2011 4:43:46 PM)
Read me: "why doesnt a law make it illegal to hit ones child."
"You may ask if hitting a child is wrong, why doesnt a law make it illegal to hit ones child. You are so right and I wish that the lawmakers would do that."

You are a shortsighted fool.

If you think the government's job is to protect children from their parents then you open the door to SF ban on circumcision and the like.

Same goes for happy meals.

Otherwise, yeah, don't hit the kids.
(5/22/2011 5:13:33 PM)
only ok if:
it is seldom
it is controlled and without anger
it is done with chochma
(5/28/2011 11:47:18 PM)
Regarding running in the street
The not hitting methood begins long before the child ran into the street. A child can only run into the street if the parent is not watching and / or located more than 5 meters away from him. The not hitting methood requires ( amongs other things) to spend less time on the iphone and more time focusing on the child. The no hitting methood is not intended for so-called parents who bring kids in the world but have no intention to daycare th kid themselvs. They pay others to daycare them
(10/27/2011 11:44:31 AM)
It is not illegal to smack one's child here in the UK - only if you cause physical damage is it illegal.

One is obligated to be mechanech one's children. Not all parents have degrees in behavioural psychology and do the best they can. So educate us and give options, but don't make illegal that which the Torah allows - within reason. And there has to be a support system to deal with children who do not or cannot respond in a normal way to home discipline.

However, children do object to being hit when it is illogical, not when it is for a good reason - even if it takes a number of years for them to mature sufficiently to understand the smack.

From my experience, and being now a grandmother, I see that those parents who do not smack and are successful are those who have a character that demands behaviour and or fear. Not all of us are 'blessed' if that is what it is, with such personalities.

Emotional abuse is far worse and lasts longer.

'Children off the derech' is not necessarily due to smacking but perhaps to abusive smacking, and an education system that doesn't relate to them.

Please do not mix issues!
(1/2/2012 6:46:17 PM)
where are the abused kids?
122 comments on this article. Thank you Rabbi Ginsburg for writing it, see what a Pandora's Box you opened.

But we have yet to hear from the kids who were hit in anger...we know there are many of them out would be good for everyone who doubts the author's premise..if these kids, now adults would weigh in.

But it's so horrifying that these kids have tried to block it out and I don't know how many will actually write.

May we all have the wisdom to bring up our children with love, more love and then some.
(1/15/2012 7:23:08 AM)
guys all of you are adults and soo closed minded!!
get over this whole thing with "hitting your kid once in a while is ABUSE!" gosh! seriousely?? as a child it is important to be reprimanded in the language you understand, when necessary. As a girl or boy over bar?bar mitzvah, it's no longer appropriate. Personally this humble rabbi who wrote this article really needs a hit on his ego. Starting off his article singing his own praises is not a good trait under any circumstance! i wish his parents would've takin care of that at an early age... oops forgot that chas v'shalom they would neeever raise their hand to their DEFENSELESS child!! He would've been scarred for life!! well guess what?? He's scarred in other ways. It's a choice, but the sting on the person's character can be far worse than the temporary sting of a hit. So get a grip on yourselves and stop going on and on about nothing. L'chaim!!
(1/22/2012 2:22:41 PM)
a jewish parent and teacher
rabbi ginzbergs opinion is against the tora both as written in mishli, and in shulchan aruch. giving petsh with yishuv hadaas and not often is part of chinuch and growing up, and everyone today knows that, and the only reason so many so-called educators and proffesionals frown on it is because it not "politicaly correct" nowadays to hit a child. its a shame that many jewish educators are so influenced by the goyishe world that they make all unreasonable pshetlech to turn the holy words of the tora and chazal according to their false and impure goiyish hashkofah. petsh is neccesary for most children and it should be brought back to the talmud torahs too, with clear regulations to prevent abuse. the main thing that real gedolim and real educaters did to decrease corporal punishment was only against abuse and cruelty which some "melamdim" abused the system, and also that not every single misdeed of a child deserves petsh, and of course not against the use of petsh with yishuv hadaas and when needed. everyone knows that the problem of our spoiled young generation is partly because of lack of discipline in their childhood, and i mean corporal discipline. and yes, my dad hit me less times then i can count on the fingers of one hand, and indeed i think i should have get some more on some cases, not much more, but a few more times for sure. so, i am the child rav ginzbers is looking for.
(2/28/2012 2:48:52 PM)
a jewish parent and teacher
and also thanks for the commenter who gave a link to the sicha of the lubavitcher rebbe ztz"l from jat kislev 5731 that a passuk is as it is cipshuto and nobody can say that shlomo hamelech did not mean whats written the possuk and in the psukim around that about corporal punishment. everyone can look up this sicha himself, which i did.
(3/1/2012 12:48:29 PM)
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