Kids or teens who leave the Shabbos table to go read…

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    Does this ever happen in your house where a kid leaves the table smack in middle of the meal and goes to the couch to go read his book or something?

    What if the kid is over Bar Mitzvah? Is is inappropriate? What would you do or say?


    I don’t think its appropriate. The parents should say something to the kid and make it clear that he/she belongs at the table. But it depends on the family. Some houses are more “chilled.”


    my Rosh Yeshiva spoke exactly about this to me once. he says it’s better that his teenage son loafs on his couch during a seudah and reads Jewish things than be out on the street.

    his son isn;t so “shtark”, and doesn’t dress black & white etc, BUT he is a good kid, KEEPS SHABBOS, has a “low-pressure” learning seder.

    The R”Y also is PROUD that his son has a job and works.


    If you find that this is happening then you shouldnt allow your shabbos seuda to “shlep”. Even if you’re enjoying the family time not all children have as much patience as you do.


    Oh, this is something I struggle with… The rule at our home is “no reading by the table”… but sometimes it backfires… like for example, when the kids “go to the bathroom” for way too long… and then I think maybe we should just be more “chilled” about it (as WIY puts it…)


    The parents should say something to the kid and make it clear that he/she belongs at the table.

    Well, there’s a good way to make sure the kid hates Shabbos. Way to keep him on the derech.

    It depends on the age of the child. For sure younger children should not be kept at the table. Try sitting at a table where people are speaking a language you don’t understand. That’s exactly what your child is going through. (Thank you Rabbi Noach Orlowek for that.)


    there are no blanket rules – you have to know your kid. if you force a kid to stay at the shabbos table and as a result he ends up hating shabbos – what have you accomplished? less than nothing.

    you may want to find out why the kid doesn’t find sitting at the table enjoyable and make appropriate changes to your meal.


    definitely depends on the family situation, kids, parents, how long the seuda and singing have been going on. there are some kids that CANNOT sit so long anywhere for a long spam of time, so why should they at the table. each family has to know their children and not look what other pple are doing.


    the shabbos table is the pinicle of shabbos, I think. especially because most kids/teens dont go to shul. some barely leave the house. Maybe its up to the parents to make the table more interesting then the book? I know I wouldnt leave, if that was the case.


    You could try a “no reading till dessert” rule, or something like that.

    2 questions: what’s s/he reading and where’s the couch? If s/he’s picking up a Jewish paper or book, and the couch is basically in the same room, not a terribly big deal.


    me as a married adult, sometimes get up and go to the couch to relax during the meal. it also depends who’s house im at.

    Seriously dont make a big deal…because if you do it will only come back to bite you in the future.


    Of course its inapprpriate but it depends on the kid, his age, the family, and other circumstances if you should enforce some sort of rule or not.


    A rule in our house is from when the seuda starts until it finishes you have to sit in your seat you can only get up for the bathroom and once the adults bentched you could bentch and get up and do whats next.


    Why would you force your kids to stay at the table? Whatever you are hoping to gain, is certainly negated by the negative feelings.


    A teenager who takes themselves away from the family table to occupy a separate space on the couch is making a statement. One friend’s daughter is like this because she is the oldest child, and about five years older than the next child. What the younger kids enjoy she can’t enjoy. A nephew was like this as a teen. His father didn’t want to confront him about it. Even when it is your son, it hard to say what is going on. My nephew’s behavior on Shabbos had an influence on one of his younger brothers. Both have struggled finding a place in life, despite being good academically. Neither has seen the inside of a shul since becoming adults, and they limit their contact with religious people.


    I’ve eaten in the homes of many choshuva rabbis and never have I seen any of them force their kids to stay at the table.


    I have heard from one of the gedoilim (I think it was R’ Matisyahu shlita), that the shabbos table requires preparation. The same way a teacher prepares lessons, and a maggid shiur/lecturer (lehavdil) wouldnt stand before his audience without preparing precisely what he will say, so too every table leader of a shabbos meal MUST prepare divrei torah, a story or two etc to keep everyone interested. This keeps the family at the table and prevents the lashon hara seeping in.

    Also, the shabbos meal is not a time for interogating the kids with questions on the parsha. That can be done any other time on shabbos. The meal should be a relaxed and pleasant enviroment, where adult and children alike are happy to partake.

    Perhaps with these ideas the kids wont be tempted to curl up on the couch with a book out of boredom. And if a kid does fancy 20 minutes reading, what can happen? Is it the end of the world?

    Take a chill pill, relax and be happy your kid comes to the shabbos table in the first place. There are those who unfortunately cry every shabbos at the absence of their kids because they are “elsewhere”.


    We tell them stories and put ourselves in their level and we keep it short and to the point so they find it a positive experience.


    I’m referring specifically to kids over Bar Mitzvah 15 year olds to be precise who are not “troubled” and are in regular yeshivos..

    The kid is “hooked” on the book he is reading and leaves the table. We don’t have a shlepped out meal for the most part. There’s a little singing a little Torah a little shmoozing we don’t sit there for hours like some families.

    Should parents of such a boy say something? What should they say?


    This was always one of those issues that I struggled with as a parent. My kids like to sometimes get up and read as well.

    In the end, I decided that the battle wasn’t worth fighting. There were far more pressing issues that I want to impress upon them… such as table manners when actually sitting at the table.

    In the end, I think the ability to sit through a meal to the end will come on it’s own with additional maturity. Table manners, OTOH, will not.

    The Wolf


    i promote this form of behavior. in MMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYY opinion, it creates within the child a sense of independance in that he/she is making a decision to choose by himself wats more inportant to he/she! i was raised in this fashion and fully support this method!!


    there is no need for a battle if not now when then it won’t happen on it’s own it should be done through possitive reinforcement,and you’ll see you’ll get them.


    yoish – I assume you are speaking about a shabbos meal that is longer than an hr. just put yourself in his place. the boy goes to school 6 days a week, might not come home till 10.30 at night. these boys have full days. its understandable if he cant sit so long. home should be different than school.


    We have sceduled breaks (like between the fish and the soup), so they drift away. All told, meals take about 2-2.5 hours, so with the 20-30 minutes away in between, its not so bad.

    During the week, supper goes much faster (under 20 minutes)so I do draw the line about texting / taking calls at the table. None of us are hatzoloh drivers, so the phone gets left in the room / gets answered by the answering machine

    Pashuteh Yid

    This thread should be linked to the potching thread a few months earlier. (Just kidding.)


    In my opinion, a shabbos seuda should be fun and enjoyable for the youngsters with an integration of good food, conversation, laughter, singing, some light divre torah/halacha, hachnosas orchim with a cheshbon, and let the kids do all the serving (within reason).


    Kids leave the table when they are bored. If you have a problem with them leaving then you are the problem. My kids eat and go read, I would rather they do that then sit at the table and learn to keep eating becasue they are bored. We call them back to discuss parsha, do parsha questions, sing zmiros or read a story. Why should they be forced to stay at the table to make adults happy?


    While I dsilike the idea of them leaving the table, if they are leaving during an overly long meal, I can understand that. I would try to not “shlep along” as someone said previously. And when I would have guests over years ago, sometimes my kids tired of the adult conversation, so we compromised on allowing them to leave the table for a bit, but to come back for zmiros, divrei Torah, and bensching. As adults, I would not find that acceptable for them to do so.


    I hate reading so I’ll never leave the table to read…another story if my friend comes:).


    As a girl, the kids were allowed to play but the older ones were expected to stay at the table, (that’s why each bathroom was occupied instead…!!!) At my in-laws it’s the opposite, really chilled table, i adopted their style, we have minimum one break a meal (couch is in dining room so not a big deal) I like it that way, it’s hard sitting on a chair so long!


    Be happy your child is at the Shabbat table. So many families are struggling with their children walking away from Yiddishkeit. If they want to go and read during the meal..don’t make a fuss…..just be thankful they shared part of the meal with you………

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