Imagine a child raised by Hashem. What a tzaddik he would be. He would spent his whole life learning Torah and preforming mitzvos. But look at what happened to Yishmael...

The pasuk says that after Yishmael was sent away from the home of Avraham Avinu, HaShem personally raised Yishmael (Bereishis 21;20). With Hashem raising this child what would you expect him to be? The pasuk continues and tells us that he became an archer; he shot arrows. What?!?! HaShem raises a child and he only turns out able to shoot arrows – not even a nice doctor?!

What's the message here?

Rav Yitzchak Berkovits answers that the idea of chinuch is, as Shlomo HaMelech writes, to 'educate a child according to HIS way' (Mishlei 22;6) - according to the way of that individual child. That means that education does not mean making the child be the person that you want them to be, but rather the parent is to harness and increase the child's personal talents and potential as much as they can...

 

In short, the parent teaches the child to reach the best of their potential that they can. But each child will naturally have a different potential and talents to improve. Thus, the potential of Yishmael lay in shooting arrows and hunting, and so HaShem raised him to be the best arhcer he could be.

We are not trying to produce clones, we are trying to make each child harness their talents for the good and to be the best that they can.

 

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