By Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern
The Value of Child Raising
The mitzvah of Chinuch Habanim generates a special endearment from Hashem towards parents. The Torah writes that Avraham Avinu was beloved by Hashem because “He will command his children and household to keep the ways of Hashem…” (Bereishis 18:19, Rashi ad loc.). Rav Elya Lopian comments, that even though Avraham had already passed ten nisyonos and kept the entire Torah including the mitzvos d’Rabanan, nevertheless, his endearment to Hashem was attributed to the merit of chinuch habanim - passing the Torah tradition on to his progeny (Lev Eliyahu ad loc.).
The Value of a Child
Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky offers a valuable insight into child raising.
The Rama rules that a Jewish infant should not nurse from a non-Jewish woman if there is any possibility of obtaining milk from a Jewish wet nurse (Yoreh Deah 71:67). The Vilna Gaon writes that the source of this halacha is the Midrash which states that Moshe Rabbeinu refused to nurse from an Egyptian woman because he would one day speak with the Shechinah. Rav Yaakov asked, “If the reason that Moshe Rabbeinu did not nurse from a non-Jew was because he would one day speak with the Shechinah, how can we derive from him the halacha for every other Jewish child? From this, we learn a fundamental of Jewish education: Every Jewish child must be educated as if he was a potential Moshe Rabbeinu who will one day speak with the Shechinah” (Reb Yaakov, Artscroll, p. 330).
Think a moment. If a prophet would tell you that your son has the potential to be another Chofetz Chaim, or your daughter would be the wife of a Rosh Yeshiva, would you complain about child raising difficulties and challenges? On the contrary, every act of childcare would be done with extreme pleasure and simcha.
Additionally, parents should also realize that the time and energy invested into any one child is not only limited to that child, but also extends to all their future generations. This is because when children who are raised properly become parents, they will to pass on the Torah tradition that they received from their parents to their children, who in turn will continue to pass on this tradition to their own children.
For example, if parents have five children and each of these children bears five children, in five generations the first parents would have 3,125 descendants.
Thus, parents’ investment in a single child can bear fruits that have an impact on thousands of their offspring.