And speaking of how one should treat his sons, the Gemara opens a conversation on parenting. Should one treat his young sons gently even if they do not wish to study Torah? The rabbis share different opinions. Yes, says Rav, treat them gently until the age of six, and then stuff them like an ox; force-feed them Torah. In Usha, it is said that sons are treated gently until the age of twelve, and then harshly. Our notes suggest another opinion: treat sons gently until the age of twelve, allowing them the pleasure of learning Torah, but then introduce them to a profession - the harsh reality - after that year.
Abaye shares some of the wisdom of his foster mother:
- stuff him like an ox until he is six with Torah
- if he refuses to learn, do not harass him in all areas of his life until he is twelve, when he can learn Mishna
- a boy can fast for twenty-four hours at the age of thirteen
- a girl can fast for twenty-four hours at the age of twelve
- if a six year old is stung by a scorpion, he requires treatment or he will die:
- drink the bile of a white vulture in beer and rub the mixture on him
- if a one year old is stung by a hornet, he requires treatment or he will die:
- drink palm tree fibre in water and rub the mixture on him
We continue to learn about ways that people give property or money to each other. The halacha that a woman's usufruct property sold during her husband's lifetime can be repossessed by her husband if she dies is discussed.
The Gemara introduces a number of verses and their interpretations regarding charitable giving.
- "Happy are they who keep justice, who perform charity at all times" (Psalms 106:3)
- does this mean that we should be around paupers at all times?
- does this mean that we should sustain our minor children, which is not required?
- does this mean that we should raise orphans and marry them off?
- "Wealth and riches are in his house, and his charity endures forever" (Psalms 112:3)
- does this refer to one who studies and teaches Torah?
- does this refer to a sofer who lends out his scrolls for others to benefit from?
- "And see your son's sons: peace be upon Israel" (Psalms 128:6)
- does this refer to peace in Israel resulting from our grandchildren observing chalitza?
- does this refer to peace among Israel's judges because families will not fight over inheritance any longer?
The rabbis walk through how women might be sustained. Perhaps the men were sustained through land while women were sustained through movable property? Were daughters given a dowry worth one tenth of her father's estate? What does the word aliyah mean when used in this context? How is an orphaned daughter provided for?
Rabbi Shimon ben Elyakim warns Rabbi Elazar about the dangers of ruling that a girl can be maintained by her brothers' inheritance of movable property. Don't rule out of pity for this one person, he says, for others will learn of your ruling and use it to influence future generations. Amazing that compassion was not the more highly valued factor in this consideration.
When Rav Yosef was approached by orphaned brothers, he answered similarly to Rabbi Elazar: sustain your sister from the figs that have fallen onto the mats. Abaye jumps in. Those dates are not movable property, he says. Even creditors cannot take movable property from orphans. My question - not even for their also-orphaned sisters? Rav Yosef answers. I wasn't talking about those dates he says. I was talking about the dates that are still attached to the tree. Those would not be considered movable property at all.