Rav Avigdor Miller on Hitting Children

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Q:
The Rav has taught us that criticism, and even physical punishment, is a positive thing and can be a great benefit. Does that mean that we should criticize and hit our children?

A:
Now, first let me talk the truth. Because there is a truth and then there is l’maiseh.
L’maiseh is not always the truth.

The truth is that you should have a stick in your house. And you should use it. You should hit your children with the stick. That’s the truth. “Chosech shivto soneh b’no” – One who holds back from using the stick, hates his son. The truth of the posuk remains true even in America.

But today, you can’t always do that. It’s a terrible world. For instance, in Sweden they arrest you if you hit your child. In America too. I know myself, a frum boy who was 13 years old and his father hit him. He called the police. He called the police on his father! When the police came, the father was in the bathroom. So the mother said, “It’s nothing. It’s all over,” and the police went home.

He called the police on his father!  Once upon a time, when I was a young boy there was no hava aminah of calling the police on your father. Even goyim, li’havdil, used to take the boys out to the shed – to the woodshed – and hit them. I told you this story once: the crown prince of Bavaria, when he became king of Bavaria, he called in his old tutor, a certain duke who had been his private teacher. And he said to him, “You used to hit me with sticks when you were my tutor. Now I’m going to place a gold medal on you, out of gratitude for what you did for me.”
Hitting is a very good thing – in theory. Once upon a time you could do it – but today – it’s a world of sheker today. It’s a world of sheker. But the emes is that the stick is a very good benefit for the son.

I know a beautiful man, a ba’al middos tovos. A lovely man. A ben-Torah and everything good. He told me that his father used to kill him. He said his father beat him terribly. But I saw that the results were good. I didn’t tell him, but I saw that the results were very good. He became a fine man – he couldn’t be better.

TAPE #E-253