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Chinuch habonim

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1 Chinuch habonim on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:19 pm

I ran across a sugya that discussed chinuch at the beginning of Chagigah. I had a number of questions; I don't seem to know much about it, except that it seems there that chinuch is d'rabanon.
HR' Tzvi Berkowitz sent me the following: "My understanding is that the Torah "can't" impose obligations on the katan (see Nida 46B and Rashi) and Chazal wanted the katan to be accustomed to doing mitzvah when he would become an adult so that there would be an easier transition from katnus to gadlus since it is part of his routine."

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2 Re: Chinuch habonim on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:20 pm

These are some of the questions I have from the gemara. Help from others would be welcome:
1) Rashi on the mishnah d"h ey zehu, says that the mitzvah of chinuch is on the father and on the mother. Does the mother normally get included in chinuch, and if so, why is here different?
2) רד"ה קטן מיבעיא ־ הלא אין חינוך קטן אלא כדי להנהיגו שיהא סרוך אחר מנהגו לכשיגדיל
Rashi 6a d"h katan m'vayaya – "the only purpose of chinuch for a child is to accustom his behavior so that he should be in the habit when he gets older." This would seem to imply that we should be mechanech our kids on a time-frame that gives them enough time to get in the habit before bar mitzvah – let's say a year or two. Or it might depend on which mitzvah, some needing more time than others. But that is not what we do at all. As the mishnah in Sukkah says, we start the child on each mitzvah as soon as he is capable of doing its actions: Can he shake a lulav properly? Get him one. According to Beis Shammai here in Chagigah, he starts the mitzvah of r'I'yah at about age one, before he is weaned!
Is the idea rather that we accustom the child to an _overall_ idea: if he is capable of doing any mitzvah, he should be doing it? That's the hanhaga that we want him to assimilate.
3) If the child needs preparation time before his bar mitzvah, since otherwise he will probably make mistakes, and forget, and end up failing to fulfill the mitzvos – why isn't there an obligation of chinuch from the Torah? That is, if the Torah requires him to keep the mitzvos starting the day of his bar mitzvah, shouldn't he be required from the Torah to arrange things so that that can happen?
If the answer to this is that he doesn't have the da'as, the maturity, to make that possible – we can't really command him in anything, it wouldn't help – so then I guess the Torah would need to require someone else, like his father or the Beis Din, to be responsible to be mechanech him beforehand. Whatever it is, it should be d'oraysa.
Another alternative – for the level of certainty that the Torah requires, just jumping in at bar mitzvah is good enough and will probably work out. The Chachamim decided to impose a higher level of certainty.
Another alternative – there is indeed an obligation of some kind from the Torah, but it is for a short time before bar mitzvah, doesn't take long. The Chachamim decided to extend it to the earliest possible time for each mitzvah. If that is the case, I'm wondering if there could be an example of a mitzvah where the two switch places, that is, where the child needs all the time he can get and more to learn to be able to fulfill the mitzvah properly according to the Torah, even before he is really able to do the actions properly.
4) Should chinuch be looked at as a joint mitzvah of the parent(s) and the child? That is, the child is too young to actually be able to keep the Torah, but the team of parents (da'as) and child (action) can manage it, and that team is the "gavra" that the Chachamim obligated. Not sure whether this is helpful, but just thinking aloud.
5) In the case of a ger, the gemara in Yevamos 47a says that we inform him of "some of the easy mitzvos and some of the hard mitzvos" and are then m'gayer him. How is he supposed to keep a Torah that he hasn't learned? Does this similarly imply that a child (were it not for the d'rabanan of chinuch) could walk into his bar mitzvah knowing very little, and just seek constant guidance for the next year or two till he gets it straight: i.e., the actual obligation of "chinuch" from the Torah must be zero? And why don't we have chinuch for a ger – is it because he's actually not allowed to do some things beforehand?

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