Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul
"Gather together the people- men, women, and small children"
In this week''s Torah portion we read about the misvah of "Haqhel", where the entire nation gathers in Jerusalem once every seven years (at the end of the Shemita year).
The Talmud comments that the men come to learn, the women come to listen to Torah, and the children come to brin a rewad to those who bring them.
It seems from here that there is no real purpose for the children to come because they will not even listen properly but only to give reward to those who bring them What does this mean? If there is no purpose to bring the children then what reward should be given to those who bring them?
The sages interpretation of this statement gives us an insight into Jewish education.
The talmud states that the mother of Rabbi Yehoushua use to take his cradle (when he was a small boy) and place it in the study hall, just to the baby should absorb the sound of Torah.
So too, parents who make the effort to expose their children to positive experiences in life, despite the fact that the child does not seem to "gain" anything from the experience at the time.
However, bringing children who are unsupervised and who will disturb the prayers and decorum in the synagogue, is not considered a misvah. Instead, it disturbs and prevents other from praying and is forbidden.
The message is especially applicable as we come to the high holidays that every parent, father or mother should not bring small children who will disturb the prayers to the synagogue.