Physical Discipline in Yeshivos

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    Little Dovid acts up in class. Rebbe warns him once, twice, and then gives him a “frask.” Dovid cries, then sits quietly and behaves. Dovid’s parents support the rebbi’s actions and in fact punish their son as well for misbehaving.

    This was the yeshiva world norm, up until about ten years ago, when “on the fringe” teens and child molestation became subjects the frum world had no choice but to address. Now, with more and more cases of emotional and sexual child abuse coming to light, there has been a lot of talk about how physical, if at all, a rebbe should be towards his young talmid.

    What are your thoughts?


    No touching kids. Period.


    elementary rebbe who touches a kid … out … no question about it

    high school rebbe … more complicated … kids by that age know, and if they dont there is something seriously wrong, what is innappropriate or no


    Personally I don’t spank my kids as a form of discipline. I think there are better ways to teach them. So I certainly will never tolerate anyone else hitting my children to discipline them. For me it’s very simple, you (an adult) hit my kids, I’ll hit (i.e. with lawsuits, crimina comlpaints etc) you so hard your head will spin into the last century.


    David Bar-Magen: up untill 10 years ago, sorry but hitting hasnt been passe for over 30 years. late 70’s early 80’s. maybe chassideshe yeshivos, but from what i hear, they still hit. if a rebbe hits my kid, well, lets just say i hope that the yeshiva gives medical coverage!


    Mariner: yes, I was referring to the chassidish yeshivos, where physical discipline is still more or less as it has always been. It may surprise you to learn, though, that even the more “litvishe” models of yeshivos still feature minor forms of corporeal punishment. I know of one place in particular where the principal is known for lifting troublemakers by their shirts and holding them against the wall while he yells at them. While this doesn’t constitute physical discipline as one might imagine it, it is still unquestionably frightening and demeaning for the children. Yet, many educators and parents seem to turn their heads.

    I was wondering why we still tolerate this sort of thing, especially in light of the more recent mainstream acknowledgment of child physical and sexual abuse.


    the good yeshivos still hit. the ones that did away with itare the ones that have teens atrisk as they have hefkeiros.


    look any rebbe that hits a kid should be turned in to social services.. it is 100% child abuse.

    my father used to tell us how one of his rebbeim in RJJ used to throw things at them. One day my father was acting up and a HAMMER was thrown at him. MY father ducked and the hammer went out the window.


    I think it is all a matter of how it is done. I only had one Rebbe that when he hit use we knew it was out of love. I have the utmost respect for him. I think there are times for physical discipline however it must be done with the utmost care.


    First of all most rebbes hit when they lose control,

    1)It is NOT Discipline if you’re not in control.

    2)If you are a Good Mechanech you dont need to get physical.

    3)Today there are many inexperienced unqualified rebbes out there.

    even if there are some good ones, I can’t give free reins to all

    because some can be trusted.

    Therefore 100% assur. Rebbes! keep your hands to yourselves!


    This subject is showing your true colors. Quite a number of you guys suddenly went Modern. Leshitaschem, that you follow the minhagim of previous generations, you should be for corporal punishment. The Gemara Makkos says that a Rebbi needs to use physical force. Of course, this cannot be abused (the Gemara alludes to that too).


    I thought I would be spared of reading about the inyan of molestation which although it must be taken care of immediately and effectively, there must be a better place to do it than the internet ( a click away from Shiol Tachtis)


    Mayan_Dvash, Some people here don’t like hearing about what the Gemorah says, as they say it is 1,500 years old. Unbelievable, but true.


    To Bogen and Mayan Dvash:

    Bogen: Unfortunately, I have to assume you’ve never actually met or worked with these teens at risk you speak of. If you had, you would know that many of them are currently at risk BECAUSE of the rebbeim that hit and abused them, physically or otherwise. These days, when yeshivos are for EVERYONE–not just the kids that have already proven that they’re good at learning–it is no longer effective or acceptable to threaten and hit the “hefkairus” out of your talmidim. It won’t make them better at learning–it will make them angry. If you are truly concerned about these teens, you should ask their rebbeim not to try to smack them into smart.

    Mayan Dvash: Read my reply to Bogen. In addition, while it’s wonderful that the gemara suggests physical force for rebbeim, I have yet to find it in the Mishna Brurah. That’s where we draw our contemporary halacha from, you see. In addition, you might want to try looking up some of the Steipler’s teshuvos on chinuch.

    It would appear that the “modern” ones are those who ignore the teachings of our contemporary gedolim and baalei chinuch because they enjoy hitting children to stroke their own egos.


    David Bar-Magen, you didn’t read my full post because you would have come across where I said ..cannot be abused as alluded to in the Gemara. Those Rebbis who do abuse should be reprimanded and relieved of their position. Additionally, you say that if the Mishna Brurah doesn’t cover it, it doesn’t apply? So I guess you’ll ignore 3/4 Shulchan Aruch because the Mishna Brurah is only on Orach Chaim? Smells like “reform” to me. As far as the Steipler’s Teshuvos, I intend to research. External to my comments, I have my opinion on the matter.


    In today’s current climate, I would say NO to anything physical. I wish they would also look at the mental abuse.

    When I was in elementary school, I had a teacher who would make up halacha and then taunt me with it. It took me four years of high school, learning a lot about halacha and how varied many psak halachas are to understand why she was really a sham.

    Just because they are a teacher in a Jewish school, does not make them a proper teacher. So unlike in the times of the gemara, where a teacher had the best intentions, I think it would be considered physical abuse and I would bring every weapon at my disposal (including alerting local authorities) to punish the person at hand.


    If one can hit when not angry and only wants the best for the child (and not just convincing themselves otherwise), then it should be ok… the problem is that many rebeim have too much gaaiva and do not know how to control their anger…

    Teachers need to know how to answer their students… I was in a class where a child asked an on-topic question that was just a little different from the mainstream view of the class (the kid thought for themself and added up what the teacher said and came up with a decent question..). The teacher did not know the answer and said “next question please” and was visably upset. If you do not know a topic- dont bring it up to the class! Answer the questions and if you dont know- say so and “Ill ask someone else and bring you back and answer…” Show that there are answers but the teacher doesnt know everything. Teacher who do not admit their mistakes lose credibility with the class and shows that they can turn to violence… dont just hit the student (physically or verbally)!!!


    This is not to say that physical punishment is wrong. Chosech Shivto Sonei Benoi- someone who holds back the stick form a child, hates his child. Where it’s necessary and appropriate, and of course not out of anger, it’s permissible for a parent to hit a child.

    But as for a teacher, rebbe, I definitely wouldnt want a stranger hitting my child and I believe it’s very wrong. (especially in public).


    Mayan Dvash: I apologize; I did not in fact finish your post, since the vast majority of it read exactly like the sort of nonsense I’ve been hearing for many years about how any and all abuse should be allowed because the Torah says so, and that anyone who doesn’t think so is “modern.” (How I despise that term!) There is a very large body of contemporary halachic work (including the Steipler) that decries the use of aggressive force against a child in today’s day and age. This has zero to do with modern society and everything to do with common sense. You simply cannot smack a kid smart, but you CAN ruin his sense of stability and self-esteem.

    Now that I have read the last line of your post, I’m curious: exactly what sort and degree of physical force do you advocate, and how is it not abuse?


    “Physical discipline” in Yeshivos? Don’t you mean “Child Abuse in Yeshivos?”


    When I was in yeshiva, you had men in their 30’s and 40’s taking out their frusration at their low salaries ( when they were paid at all. They were often months behind ) on boys of 8 ,9 and 10. Thank Hashem I was never hit but I saw friends get punched, kicked and slapped. Did it inspire fear? Absolutely. Did it inspire love of learning and respect? Absolutely not. Another problem with hitting is the effect eventually wears off and you have to escalate. The best reebes that I had, had no need to hit. The worst ones resorted to hitting.


    Did anyone ever visit Museum Village near monroe, New York? They have an old fashioned school house from over one hundred years ago, and you can sit in there and the “teacher” gives you a lesson about the way kids went to school. I think she showed us the stick they used, and she said there was the rule of thumb, that the stick could not be thicker than the teacher’s thumb.

    The difference was that the teacher just rapped the kid on the knuckles, no punching and slapping around. It is sad that a teacher or rebbe takes out their frustration on the child. they need to be removed from their position. I remember watching one of my rabbonim with his kids, he never hit or yelled. just this one look!


    I dont understand the question here.

    You hit a child, you get charged and you go to Jail:

    1. Assault and Battery

    2. Endangering the welfare

    3. Child abuse

    4. Civil charges against the rebbi and yeshiva

    5. Any lawyers or prosecutors here that care to expand this list?

    You have frustrations that you need to get out? Go hit your wife instead,or get a punching bag. AND get professional help


    Mayan_Dvash: Rav Yoseph Berl ZT”L told me the following regarding corporal punishment:

    Many of the Chassidik chadarim would also thrash the children for not knowing their lessons. Joseph, do you agree with this method of positive reinforcement too?


    when the gemoroh talks about hitting children in yeshiva, it was talking about the yeshivas back then. it also does not talk about tinokos shel beis rabon. it talks about a rebbi. it is clear that when rebbi is used in the gemoro it is talking rebbi muvhak. i doubt any 3rd grader has a rebbi muvhak. yes, when i was in beis medrash, and my rebbi would “zetz” my back, to get me to focus, i knew he meant it in love, and in the idea of getting me to space in, so to speak. besides, it wasnt hard. in alot of chederim, rebbeim use yard sticks with metal edges. throw chalk and chalkboard erasers. they pull ears and rack knuckles. that is child abuse, and in the “alta hyme” thos rebbeim would be found floating face up in the mikvah!


    Mayan_Dvash: Again, Wake up! Fact is they do abuse more often than not

    So you’re just gonna let all these Kinderlach take beatings & abuse

    because of your old school shitos till we can weed out the bad corrupt immature rebbes????!!!!

    If we even can???!!!

    Sorry, no children sould suffer, just because you also got Unge’Frasket as a child.

    Face it we are not on the same Madregah as our Frierdigeh were,

    & rebbes, unfortunately are included.



    Yeshivas HaShalsheles is a new remedial yeshiva for incorrigible offenders. A project of Ku Klux Karta International, its goal is to reconcile the holy law of sharia with Judaism.

    As its name implies, the chain saw is not spared when sharia punishments are carried out for offenses such as petty theft. Our talmidim are guaranteed never to offend again after they are put through our rigorous system of character building at our new campus in Tranquility Bay, Jamaica.

    Yeshivas Shalsheles NewsFlash: We recently had the pleasure of welcoming the great Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to our advanced shiur, where he spoke about how the same chain saw that is used for sharia amputations can be used to literally remove the Zionist entity from the map. When he demonstrated just how it could be done, not realizing that our wall maps are sanitized to not show any countries that are not within dar ul-Islam, he inadvertently removed three fingers from his own left hand and mangled two of our hyliger Rosh Yeshiva’s toes when he dropped the saw…..

    (Needless to say, physical discipline has no place in any yeshiva as it is about as legal and productive as sharia. Physical discipline within reason is the province of parents, and in fact rebbeim should be careful what they tell parents if they suspect an abusive home where a parent will abuse the child based on a discipline problem in school, or if the child is acting up in school because he has no breathing room at home.)


    cherrybim, I’m not in chinuch and feel unqualified to comment when a mechanech should administer (deserved) petch.


    Can any of the advocates or corporal punishment in schools please explain why such discipline should be limited to children in school? If you think it sorks for children, why would it not work for adults? Would of you advocate the reinstatement of public floggings, the stocks, dunkings, branding for various criminal or civil infractions? Littering for example could be very well controlled via 25 well placed strokes of a whip on the offender’s bare back. Double park your car? Three days in the stocks. Petty larceny? Brand the offender’s forehead with a big “T” so all will know to be wary of this thief. After all hitting and humiliation work so very well with kids and adults are nothing more than big kids.



    “You have frustrations that you need to get out? Go hit your wife instead…”

    WHAT??? You are a serious nutcase up if you meant that even in the slightest. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can anyone hit their wife, who is meant to represent and channel the love we are supposed to have for HKB”H – that is not something to joke about.


    If it even “smells” of abuse, then it’s being done wrong! It’s not supposed to hurt the child or leave marks. The words force, abuse, aggression etc. should raise red and black flags. Additionally, the child cannot see it as the Rebbi taking out his frustration. That just teaches him that when one gets angry to turn to physical force. This is not contrary to my earlier post. The topic started off “physical discipline” and turned to “abuse” which are 2 different things.


    Mayan Dvash:

    To be fair, my original post (which started this thread) depicted a slap, which is more abusive than, say, a light tap on the hand given gently and following an explanation of why it is being done. I suppose that’s why others are treating this as a discussion of child abuse. If the question were to be whether or not child abuse is acceptable, there would be no thread. The answer is an unequivocal NO, as you and others have expressed.

    My actual, underlying question is whether a child may be touched for disciplinary purposes AT ALL. I do not even wish to discuss whether he may be slapped; there is no argument there.


    to everyone here, there is no halchic basis for a rebbe to hit a child. when the gemora says a rebbi may hit his talmid, the rebbe must be a rebbe muvhak, and the talmid, a talmid muvhak. i dont know of any child or elementary rebbe who fits either category. it is assur to hit a child not your own, and illegal. rebbeim who hit are never god rebbeim, which proves that a good rebbe is just that, a teacher. hitting should never be taught. if my kids were to ever come home and tell me their rebbe or teacher hit them, regardless of what they did, save endangering themselves or others in a life threatening manner, the rebbe would be getting a one way ticket to the emergency room, on his way to a jail cell.


    Hey, “enlightenedjew” AKA “maskilim”; you picked your name well.

    (The maskilim took the whole torah literally)



    to cantor esq..we asume your children learn in PS…mariner ..raboh muvek??how does rabbo muvek apply to a child ??if your talking o of older .the gemmorah says b’ferish your not allowed…shlomo hamalech says ‘al timna shyvet minar..gam ki tsakenu lo yomis




    to cantor esq..we asume your children learn in PS…


    Why do you make that assumption. Also remember what happens when you assume. Then again based on all your posts, it already has.


    David Bar-Magen: You said

    “I do not even wish to discuss whether he may be slapped; there is no argument there.”


    jent1150: i have no lcue what you are talking about. the sentence is not readable. but i am correct that when the gemorrah talks about a rebbi hitting his talmud, it is talking about rebbe to talmid muvhak. and that is my point, children in elementary school, and the rebbeim who teach there do not fit this criteria, and may not hit children. if they do, a father has a right to make sure this abusive behavior stops, as it endangers, both the physical and spiritual aspects of the children in the class. either litigation, force, or both may be used.

    i have no clue what point you are trying to make with the quote of shlomo hamelech. please explain


    Cherrybim writes:

    –What do you call: “…when a mechanech should administer (deserved) petch.”?–

    I call that Joseph’s words, not mine. I’m not sure what your point is supposed to be.


    cantoresq: I may possibly agree with your comments on public flogging. It’ll save us an immense amount of taxpayer money. I do not understand why we, the taxpayer, have to foot the bill to cover offenders’ jail/hotel stay.

    A public flogging, or even better, your rubber-stamping idea, would accomplish much more for much cheaper.


    David, not only are they not your words, but they were taken completely out of context by cherrybim if you read the dialog that the quote was made in.

    Leider/cantoresq, I too agree malkus, i.e. 39 lashes, is a better solution to much crime than imprisonment.


    Lieder, I made no mention of “rubber”stamping” Rather it was branding, taking a heated branding iron and searing the symbol into the offender’s flesh that I sarcastically suggested be re-instated. Since you seem to like the idea, please stay far away from my children.


    cantoresq. Others are beginning to like the idea as well. The idea is picking up speed. After all, you initiated this concept. Afraid you’ll have to hide your children forever. Of course, if your children behave, you have nothing to worry about :-). We pray every day for the coming of Mashiach. Please note that Malkus will be the name of the game if we go astray.

    But on a serious note. I think we all agree that taxpayers funding of the vast jail system is absolutely inappropriate. Besides, it’s ineffective. There has to be some form of punishment, corporeal or otherwise, that’s cheaper, swifter, and much more effective. Perhaps rubber “stamping” is indeed a better idea.


    This is not too surprising, but I am very sad to say so. About 6 comments so far have ben about what can get a rebbe put in jail, i..e, what secular society believes to be right or wrong. THIS HAS ZERO TO DO WITH OUR MORALITY. Dina dimalchusa dina does not mean we need to take on their ideologies! fakert, it is a terrible avera to take on goyishe attitudes or moral systems. The fact that in public school if a teacher even pats a kid on the shoulder he can get locked up, has zilch to do with us.

    That being said, the reason why a rebbe noawadays should not hit a kid lechatchila, is because of the condition of people today, NOT because it’s wrong or assur or anything of the sort. It may be assur to thomasjefferson-ism, but nowhere will you find a torah source saying hitting kids is wrong inherently. The steipler obviously meant that psychologically, people are different today, and hiting does not produce the same positive effects it used to.

    Now, the steipler was not, cv’s, influenced by secular ideology – this is how he saw the emes, however, to choose his shita, and ignore everyone else’s, due to your own secular brainwashing, is 100% krum.

    Plus, look at all the scum that comes out of public school, and there, they dont hit kids – some off the derech kids may use it as an excuse, but in all fairness, I doubt many kids went off because a rebbe hit them in a way sanctioned by halacha(abuse is in a totally different universe, and the line is very clearly defined between the two, unless you’re a lefty ‘child’s rights’ am haaretz)


    Thank You Matisyahu28!


    Matisyahu28; bogen: you are dead wrong. a rebbe in a elementary school has ZERO halachic authority to hit, spank, pelt, club, frask, zets, punch, whack, etc a child in his care. he is not a rebbe muvhak in any way shape matter or form. nor are the 20 some odd boys in his class talmidei muvhakim. the halacha is only for these cases. a rebbe at that age only takes the place of the father in terms of lilmod, not potching. you will find nowhere in any sefer starting with the 5 god gave moshe, up top the ones artscroll prints today that allows rebbeim of children to hit, that we eb=ven remotely hold off as to our halachic decision process. (im sure you can find a sefer, but then again, there are some out there that say that the outlawing of pilegesh was a mistake and it should be brought back. there is a sefer for everything. i mean one that is halchically sound.)


    A Rebbi (as well as any teacher) should never, ever hit a child for any reason. Whenever it gets to that level it is no longer a discipine issue but rather a control or anger issue. (The same thing applies to adults with thier children) However, if and when a Rebbi hits, a phone call needs to be made and the matter looked into. There have been a lot of Rebbiem who have had control issues and have been too heavy handed. But, we have to realize a Rebbi is human and many times has been pushed into a corner by a lack of clear descipline policy of the school or lack there of at home. I’m not saying this to condone the actions of Rebbiem, but rather to bring attention to a situation that could have been avoided.

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