shiylos on children’s stories

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    I didn’t want to go off topic on another thread but this topic need to be brought up, there are some questions on the kids stories, for example why did Goldilocks eat from the bears house? its gezaliah, and didn’t she know about stranger danger?

    Amil Zola

    CS European centric fairy tales such as Goldilocks reflect an xtian mindset. I would guess that most frum families don’t depend on the brothers Grimm or Aesop to promote morality tales. It appears from reading your post that you have an expectation that these old tales reflect Jewish thought and law. When looking at these non Jewish tales one must understand that they are not written from a frum POV.


    Many people make a career studying children’s stories as well as folklore. When you investigate their origins, there is often much that we would find objectionable. There are Jewish stories for children which pose few shailos.

    If you want to use “cleaned up” folk tales to teach Jewish children, you need to explain what the characters are doing from a halachic perspective (Goldilocks is a thief, but as she is a minor she probably isn’t liable, and if the bears and her are all Yidden, then perhaps it is a situation to discuss hachnasas orchim, and note the stories of rabbanim running after thieves to give them tsadakkah).


    Many poskim hold their is no issur to steal from bears


    Why not entertain kids with stories of tzadikim? They teach jewish lessons and inspire kids to be holy, treat others the way Hashem wants them to, and to be wowed by mofsim instead of fantasies that they’ll outgrow…this is why i can’t stand when some heimishe people teach their kids about the tooth fairy, and call it the tooth malaach. It sets kids up to question real malachim when they get older and realize it was nonsense.


    @Amil, you would not know sarcasm if it hit you in the face.


    common saychel – Her mother kept her home in Mommy camp, that is why she was never sat down and given a proper talk about safety. That’s why she was wandering in the woods, and she thought the cabin was a clever activity her Mommy read about in the Binah.

    AviraDeArah –
    Put aside the famous Rav Hutner about Gedolim stories, and let’s say we’re fine with them per se. Let the kids be inspired with our amazing Gedolim. Let them aspire to be like them. Let’s assume we can riase them to be healthy, and we find the right balance, and it will not lead to yiush, instead, when they (almost) inevitably realize how much they do not measure up.
    But to the exclusion of other stories? So, all the kids hear about are Gedolim? What’s wrong with stories about regular people, and regular life situations, and regular challenges, and regular triumphs, and (gasp!) regular failures?
    And what’s wrong with a kid being a kid and just being entertained? I’m not discussing secular literature here, but you jump immediately to “Gedolim stories”?
    I love Gedolim stories. I read them to my kids. But this? Not a healthy attitude.

    BTW – On the sbject of fairy tales, someone write to R’ Wolbe, asking him about stories for children that have elements of fantasy, and he says he’s not sure about it.

    ☕️coffee addict


    Would you say the same about sleeping beauty and the like


    Q: Why not entertain kids with stories of tzadikim?

    A: Because most young children don’t find such stories “entertaining”.


    Gadol, you don’t think the adventures of reb zusha and reb meilich are entertaining?


    It’s good to read stories about regular people who became great.
    Remember: “”It is our choices, Herschel, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”


    CA – same as what? I did not say anything about fairy tales per se. I only advocated for reading entertaining material not comprised of stuffing morals down their throats

    But no, I obviously do not approve of sharing fairy tales with children such as Sleeping Beauty, or any that have the Princess awaiting… or the many that have a handsome prince falling in love with the beautiful princess at first sight…

    But there are many that are not that sort. When the Gemara refers to fables with foxes etc., that certainly calls to mind some well known tales. Some have a message that are not consonant with Torah values, others seem fine

    Menachem Shmei

    The Rebbe Rayatz wrote:
    עיקר גדול בהדרכה לקטנים, לתת להם סיפורים טובים מהנהגות צדיקים.. להשגיח עליהם שיקראו זה בשימת לב, ולבוחנם אם יודעים מה שקראו, ולהרגילם לספר במתינות ובסדר כל מה שקראו, ואחר כל סיפור שיקראו – נחוץ להסביר להם את המוסר-השכל ביראת שמים היוצא מסיפור זה

    It’s interesting, because this happens to be the style of the PJ library books (l’havdil).
    Every story finishes off with a discussion that the parents should have with the kids about the “morals” from the stories (caring for the environment, complimenting your pets (“nice tail!”), “tikkun olam” (their warped version), racial diversity, etc.).

    If the goyishe world is using children’s books to brainwash kids with their warped morals, we must counter it full force by telling them Yiddishe stories with Jewish morals.

    Menachem Shmei

    >>>Because most young children don’t find such stories “entertaining”.

    For children brought up with the right values, Machanayim books (Stories of Tzaddikim) should be just as entertaining (or much more) as Little Red Riding Hood is for secular children.

    There are plots, drama, illustrations, and great Jewish values.


    common, I let my kids read some of these stories, and I recall commenting on Goldilocks and bear behavior in a similar way. If I would be sure that they’ll never hear any goyishe narratives in their life, I could have skipped it. I think kids need to learn critical thinking and be able to look at “accepted” narratives and see through them.

    As to Jewish stories, kids loved many of them. Some of their favorite ones, they, with sadness, put away in the basement after more information came out about the author.

    A good Jewish book on developing critical thinking is “another side of the story”. IT consists of short vignettes describing a moment where someone clearly looks guilty and then explains it. You can use it like Harvard Business Review cases – read the first part, and then try to find the explanation together.

    Also, many people question “stories of tzadikim” that whitewash lives of gedolim and create unrealistic expectations of how making of a Gadol happens …


    Its not that the stories of gadolim are not per se entertaining, its that many parents lack the communication skills to present them in a way to capture and sustain the interests of a young child. In some cases presenting them on videos or other means can overcome these constraints.

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