|Understanding Torah Society - part 6 - Public Goods-Social Welfare
Mishle (Proverbs) 1:8
My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And forsake not the Torah of your mother.
Once again, to refresh our memory, the six public goods as commonly seen by government today are 1) order, 2) defense, 3) public health, 4) infrastructure, 5) education, and 6) social welfare. So far we have examined order, defense, public health, and infrastructure. This study will examine education. Education is the process of acquiring or imparting knowledge from one generation on to the next. In this study we will examine that process; in particular, whose responsibility it is, as well as what type of knowledge is to be imparted in a Torah society.
The above passage helps one to understand the context of the whole book of Mishle; namely, that these proverbs are from a father to a son. It is one of the primary responsibilities of the parent to train, educate, and instruct one's own children, especially when it comes to the idea of passing on the culture of a Torah society. Namely, YHWH charges the parents in particular with the responsibility of teaching and passing on the Torah commandments to their own children.
In the above passage, there are two words which grab our attention: instruction and Torah. "Instruction" is translated from the Hebrew word מוּסַר musar - which means discipline, chastisement, correction. This teaches us that one should never forsake, but rather earnestly heed, the correction from one's parents in particular, and from one's elders in general. "Torah," which is often translated into English as law, means instruction. The difference between these two words is that the Torah is instruction in the primary since, whereas מוּסַר musar is instruction in the secondary since. What this means is that Torah (instruction) is given first and then it is acted upon. If a mistake or misjudgment results for some reason, then a slight course correction is needed to get the child back on the correct path; מוּסַר musar is needed. The primary person responsible for this according to the above passage, as well as other passages, is the father of the child. However, both parents are intimately involved in both Torah instruction, as well as מוּסַר musar correction.
As we stated above, according to Scripture, it is the responsibility of the parent to teach and train one's children. Here is one passage in which this commandment is found.
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