Saturday, December 11, 2004

Bring Back The Rod

‘Another Stream’ is a fortnightly opinion column in ‘The Jewish Tribune’, the UK’s indigenous chareidi newspaper. (Sorry no website. Now or ever.)

The author a well-known communal know-it –all, tackles a range of important issues such as the playing of the wrong type of music at chasunnes (weddings), the plummeting levels of derceh eretz youngsters have for their elders (so unlike when he was young), the scarcity of shadchonim (matchmakers) resulting in too many young women left on the shelf, and other such topics. You get the gist.

This weeks subject was corporal punishment, which he enthusiastically supports. Scripture, Gemorrah (Talmud) and the Rambam (Maimonodies) are all on his side he assures us as and all back it as a pedagogic tool. He is currently enthused by the topic as he has found an ally in the Christian Fellowship School.

Well well.

I am an alumnus of chareidi school/cheider system. And take it from me it was violent. The bruises have healed long ago but as an adult I still suffer the side effects of being hit at school. The reason why I have confidence taking my children to school each morning is because I know that hitting is now illegal and looked upon seriously by the courts. Even chareidi staff fear the enraged parent rushing off and informing the authorities. They are conscious that parents faced with protecting their children might well overcome the prevailing fear of being branded malshinim (informers).

No! Banning corporal punishment was a great step forward. What upset me was that the chareidi community could not have seen reason to unilaterally remove it from its schools. I am gutted that some are agitating to have it reinstated. Schools today are far friendlier places – and it shows. I suspect even King Solomon, who famously suggested that ‘ He Hates His Son He Who Withholds The Rod’ (Proverbs 13:24 ) would readily approve.


Blogger Tamara said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. As someone who briefly attended a school where corporal punishment was allowed, I can attest to the horrible climate created in the classroom when a teacher is permitted to abuse children (and it is a form of abuse, nothing less). Thank G-d things have changed in that respect.

7:37 AM  
Blogger yoinoson schreiber said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:10 AM  
Blogger yoinoson schreiber said...

Tamara. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

You say:

'Thank G-d things have changed in that respect'

I would have had G-d to thank had those who run these schools found a Torah related reason to ban it. In the event they can't continue because they are afraid of the law - and as I say in my post seem quite happy to reinstate it if the law changed.

Unfortunately it is not G-d and his Torah that I have to thank but a secular government.

8:27 AM  
Blogger fluffykneidle said...

Don't we all know about it. I'm assuming I'm alot younger than the rest of you, so this is not going back a very long time. Seeing as I never had much zitzfleish, I often got frassked and/or hit with a wooden ruler (surprise the teacher, usually a fresh out of nappies sem girl, by catching the ruler between you palms.) Were they wrong? right? It hurt, and I definately lost the little respect I didn't have for the staff in the first place, but I also can't think of a punishment that WOULD have made me behave. I'm not ch''v endorsing corperal punishment, a family member of mine was badly hurt due to his 'rebbe's' bamboo stick (stamford hill strikes again [mind the pun]), but can you think of what make a lively child who is bored and fustrated from lack of stimulation that would have any effect? A private tutor would have been the obvious answer but in my case, as in many others, was financially prohibitive.

10:28 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

Such things never occured in modern schools.

5:09 PM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Hey, I can't promise you anything about King Solomon but ya might wanna have an /honest/ look what the mishna has to say about someone who accidentally killed his kid when hitting him. No Golus.

Now, for a tap on the shoulder, there's no hava amina for golus - we're talking about the kind of beating that could, if one isn't careful, result in death, - manslaughter.

And why no galus? Heh, heh. Black on white, because it's a mitzvah.

And while you're at it, have a look at the michtav me'eliyahu on the issue at the back of chelek gimel (don't expect to see it in Strive For Truth ("Truth!") any time soon). In writing on the issue, the Rav of all modern mussarniks writes about the necessity of providing your child (through beating) a "lev nishbar v'nidkeh". And he also lets us know that it might be a good idea to make up some libel against a good kid so that you have an excuse to hit him too.

I don't know what your mythical Solomon would say, but I gota mishna for you to look at.

7:01 AM  

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