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How can a child respect parents if they conceived him in a "disgusting, selfish" way?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Red_faced: what to answer a 10 yr old jewish public school kid who asked how to feel respect for his parents if they bring him into this world in such a disgusting, selfish way?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: The Torah doesn't tell us that our parents have to earn our respect

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: The Torah tells us that since our parents partner with G-d in CREATING us, they deserve our respect regardless

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: furthermore - if it was disgusting than it wasn't selfish, because then they underwent a disgusting act just to bring him into this world - that is SELFLESS

Red_faced: but how to explain that it's not a disgusting act?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: what makes this child think it was disgusting, or selfish

Red_faced: he knows exactly how a woman becomes pregnant!

Red_faced: he sees it as a gross way to be created from

Red_faced: how to explain it's not really disgusting?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: you don't have to - you don't need to engage a 10 year old into a conversation about his parents having sex... if the question is about how he can respect them, then you simply tell him how much pain his mother went through during pregnancy, labor and birth - how many endless nights his parents were up for him when he was a baby, how many things in life they sacrificed because of him etc. etc.

Red_faced: ok. thanx!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: if he insists to talk about the "Act" - then his question has nothing to do with respecting them, he simply wants to engage you in a conversation about sex

Red_faced: does it make sense to say he'll understand when he gets older?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: again - that is not a part of the question you have to discuss. If the question is respect, there is much they did to earn his respect, in addition to the fact the Torah doesn't say they have to earn it. And if the question is about sex, you don't have to talk to him about it... don't ignore him, but tell him this is not the appropriate time or means for this conversation

Red_faced: oh, i see. thanx 4 ur advice!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: pleasure - all the best

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
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