First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/behaalotcha-a-fathers-blessing/
Baal Haturim Numbers: Behaalotcha
A Father’s Blessing
Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father! -Lydia Maria Child
The Children of Israel had no sooner started their desert journey when they start complaining. Moses, fed up with the growing irritation cries out to God, asking rhetorically that if he gave birth to these stubborn people does it give him the obligation to care for their every need and whim?
Moses is so despondent by the burden of the people of Israel that in his despair he actually asks God to kill him. God helps Moses by both providing meat to the insatiable Israelites as well as directing Moses to gather seventy elders to assist in the burden of leadership.
While on the theme of birth and sons, the Baal Haturim on 11:12 takes the opportunity to relate some of the characteristics that a father normally transmits to his sons. He names five:
When these characteristics are good and passed down to children, fathers can take some measure of pride, and children some measure of gratitude. When the characteristics are poor, fathers can feel some guilt and children can assign blame.
However, neither pride nor guilt, gratitude or blame will help us make the most of the gifts we possess.
To Bar-Ilan University, training grounds for many fathers and sons.