After 20 years of marriage, Yitzchak's prayers are answered and Rivka conceives twins. The pregnancy is extremely painful.
A Myrtle or a Thorn?
“The boys grew up and Esav became one who knows hunting, a man of the field; but Yaakov was a wholesome man abiding in tents.” (25-27)
Rabbi Levi said, “The boys can be compared to a myrtle bush and a thorn bush intertwined; once they have reached maturity and flowered, one gives forth its aroma and the other its thorns. For thirteen years together Esav and Yaakov both went to school, and together they both returned. After thirteen years, one went to batei midrashot, the houses of learning, and the other to places of idol worship and debauchery.”
There are no guarantees when it comes to bringing up our children. All that parents can do is to take good advice; to be examples of what they would like their child to be. (“Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you” rarely, if ever, succeeds); to follow the 3F’s: Firm, Friendly and Fair; and to pray very hard.
Rabbi Eliezer said, “A man needs to nurture his son until 13 years old, then he says, “Baruch she’patrani…” — “Blessed is He Who has exempted me from the punishment of this one (the son).” Until the age of thirteen the sins of the son can be visited upon the father. Thus, the father blesses
There is dispute whether this blessing should be said with “Shem u’Malchut”, meaning whether we mention
It once happened that a certain boy was brought by his father to the Rabbi of Jerusalem, Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank (1873–1960) on the day of his bar mitzvah. Rabbi Frank said to the father, “Even though the halacha is that one should say “Baruch she’patrani” without “Shem u’Malchut”, in the case of this boy you could certainly say it!”
The boy looked quizzically at the Rabbi.
Many years later, it happened that on the boy's wedding day, Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank was amongst the guests. In the meantime this young fellow had matured into a distinguished scholar. The groom made his way over to the Rabbi and introduced himself, reminding him of their meeting at his bar mitzvah. He said to Rabbi Frank, “Could I please ask the Rabbi what he meant by saying that in my case my father could certainly say Baruch she'patrani with Shem u’Malchut?”
Rabbi Frank replied, “The Mishna Berura’s gloss on the Rema says the reason for the blessing is that until thirteen the father is punished when the son sins because he has failed to educate his son properly in the ways of the Torah. Once the son becomes thirteen it’s up to the son to strengthen himself in the commandments of
“In your case, I knew that you would be capable of being responsible for yourself, and that your father was truly acquitted of his responsibility for you.
“Thus I told him he could make the blessing using
- Sources: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 225, Mishna Berura footnote 7; Rabbi Noach Orloweck; Story heard from Rabbi Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshivat Chevron