Are Children Naturally Rebellious? [#14599]

August 19, 2021


Is there a way to get a child to want the true will of the soul (the desire to do Hashem’s will) and to act in a more mature way?


A child contains two parts. One part of a child is that his\her yetzer hora dominates, for it is written, “The inclination of man is evil from his youth.” The Sages use an expression, “Like a child running away from school”. There are many other such statements in our Sages which describe the natural immaturity and rebelliousness of children. Children do not have daas (mature understanding), and they are easily overcome by a ruach shtus (spirit of folly). On the other hand, the Sages state that the world stands on the merit of the “frivolous chatter” of children – since they are pure from sin, their Torah learning is purer.

A child contains contradictory aspects. On one hand, a child is pure and innocent. This is the quality of temimus (earnestness). On the other hand, children lack daas, which hampers their ability of self-control. Therefore, the natural evil inclination of man is more dominant in children, because it is unfettered. But because they haven’t yet sinned, they resemble the level of Adam before the sin, which was the level of the Eitz HaChaim. The inner essence of a child is close to the level of the Eitz HaChaim, but in their external behavior, they do not have that much control over their evil inclination, and that is why they are usually more rebellious by nature. This is a very complex matter.