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INSIGHT: Ben Sorer U’Moreh – “Never Was!”

Ben Sorer U’Moreh – The Rebellious Son

Ben Sorer U’Moreh – The Rebellious Son

It’s one of a parent’s greatest fears – despite doing their best to raise good children, things could go wrong and a child might act in not very nice ways.

The Torah teaches us of a very extreme case, so extreme that it never happened in real life. It’s called the Ben Sorer U’Moreh, the “Rebellious Son.”

Within 3 months after his Bar Mitzvah, this stubborn Rebellious Son turns away from the path of Torah:

He starts stealing money from his parents. With the stolen money, he buys super-sized portions of meat and fine wine.

“Yummy! Let’s see how much steak and lambchops I can stuff down my throat… Chew, chew, chew, chop and chomp! And the wine? It’s great! Gulp, gulp, gulp! Waiter, another bottle of wine… Hurry up! Gulp, gulp, gulp!”

“Hey, where are your manners?!” people would scold him. “The meat and wine may be Kosher, but the way you are acting is definitely not Kosher!”

But this “Rebellious Son” was living up to his title – REBELLIOUS.

“Hey, where are YOUR manners, telling ME what to do?! Hiccup! And who do you think you are anyway?! Gulp Gulp! Chew, chew, chew, chop and chomp!”

Meanwhile, things went from bad to worse.

“Please, please! Stop what you are doing! It is time for you to get back on the right track! If not, you will suffer the consequences.”

Despite the warnings, he ignores them.

The situation got even worse… so bad that neighbors, friends, or relatives decided to confront the parents.

“If you don’t act now, things will only get worse. Today, it’s a lack of manners, but who knows what tomorrow will bring?!”

“Yes. And do you realize where your son gets his money from? He held up my store and stole all the money in the cash register!”

“Take him to Beis Din… yes, the Jewish court of law…”

“Yes, I guess we must take him now, before things get totally out of control!”

Having no choice, the parents brought their son to the judges of the Beis Din.

“And the verdict… whip him.”

Of course, it hurts. But the judges punish the boy in order to warn him of the seriousness of his mistake. But even that doesn’t do the trick! When he leaves, he goes right back to his old mischief – stealing money and gobbling down meat and wine.

“Oy vey! Where will it all end?” his parents worry. “What kind of future will our son have?”

Now, they bring him to a bigger Beis Din – one with 23 judges. And there, after careful deliberation, and if the judge concludes:

“At this point of time, he is merely a wild young man doing annoying things, but we have every reason to believe that he will one day grow up to be a robber and a vicious murderer.”

If there is such a case, (which there never was and never will be) this Rebellious Son will receive the verdict – a very harsh one – the death penalty! 

Shazak insight

Ben Sorer U’Moreh – “Never Was and Never Will Be!”

What?! The death penalty! Huh?! This sounds extremely extreme!

The good news is that even though this law is in the Torah, the fact is that no young man was ever sentenced to death as a “Rebellious Son!” In fact, our Sages of the Talmud list so many detailed conditions that must be met, that it is virtually impossible for this to actually happen. In their words, “Ben Sorer U’Moreh – it never was and never will be!”

So why in the world does the Torah even write about this?!

Great question!

Well, our Sages explain in a few words, Ben Sorer U’Moreh is written so that we can study it and gain reward for our Torah study.

Indeed, besides for the spiritual reward that we will receive from HaShem, there is also a very practical reward. Learning this Rebellious Son story teaches parents an important lesson – think long and hard about how you bring up your children. Little problems can become big problems, so take care of it right away!

SHAZAK
Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Did you know learning Torah could be this much fun?
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