Every father has an obligation to educate his children to fulfill mitzvot, even before they reach the age of Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah. The age at which this obligation begins varies according to the Mitzvah. Below are the details of this Mitzvah
- 1 D’Orayta or D’Rabanan?
- 2 At What Age?
- 3 Who is obligated in Chinuch?
- 4 How Completely Must the Mitzvah Be Performed?
- 5 Until When?
- 6 Daily Mitzvot
- 7 Bringing Children to Shul
- 8 A Kohen Becoming Tamei
- 9 Shabbat
- 10 Holidays
- 11 Torah Study
- 12 Chinuch Attitude
- 13 Feeding a Child Something Forbidden
- 14 Sources
D’Orayta or D’Rabanan?
The Mitzvah of Chinuch - to teach Torah to our children - is clearly a Mitzvah D’Orayta as explicitly stated: V’shinantam L’vanecha. However, is the Mitzvah of chinuch - to instruct children to begin performing Mitzvot before they are of the age of Mitzvot - a mitzva D’Orayata or D’Rabanan?
- Rav Schneur Zalman of Liadi says that it is clearly a mitzvah D’rabanan because it is never mentioned in the Torah. 
- However, Rav Meir Simchah of Dvinsk disagrees, citing Bereshit “For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him” which he interprets to mean that Avraham was commanded to teach his household and children to perform the Mitzvot. This, however, is a general Mitzvah to teach children to appreciate Mitzvot. The Mitzvah to teach a child to perform each individual Mitzvah is D’Rabanan.
- According to Rav Soloveitchik, although teaching children the Mitzvot is D’Rabanan, the Mitzvah of Chinuch is modeled after the biblical commandment of Sippur Yitziat Mitzrayim. This commandment to retell the story of our ancestors is extended, and, while there is a special commandment to tell over the story of Egypt, we must retell all of the Torah and Mitzvot to our children using all of the educational methods we follow in Sippur Yitziat Mitzrayim. 
At What Age?
- The general age of when one starts to do mitzvos, is when the parents think that this child is mature enough to fulfill the whole mitzvah, even with its more complicated parts. 
- The age of chinuch depends on the child's individual intelligence. Usually the age when a child is intelligent enough for mitzvos is 5 or 6 years of age. 
- For Shabbat some say that the age of chinuch begins at age 4 or 5.
- There are some mitzvos in which parents start training their children even before five years of age. But some mitzvos can be more complicated and parents should wait until children are older to train them.
- A child can make several mistakes before they can begin to execute the mitzvah properly. But if one does make a mistake trying to execute the mitzvah, the parents should not get frustrated with their kid and instead should encourage them to try again. 
Who is obligated in Chinuch?
- There is a machloket in the commentaries regarding whether the mitzvah of chinuch is for the parent or the child.
- The book of Mishlei says that one should teach his child in a manner which will stick with him forever: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Rashi comments on this pasuk saying that depending on what you teach him those lessons will affect him the rest of his life. This means that the parent has the responsibility to teach the child life lessons. This belief would suggest that chinuch is a mitzvah for the father, because he is the one who will have the ability to affect his child's future.
- Some rishonim hold that the son isn't obligated in mitzvot at all and it is only father who is obligated to train his son in mitzvot. However, others hold that the child himself is rabbinically obligated in mitzvot.
- While the majority of the Poskim hold that Chinuch only applies to the father, some say it also applies to the mother. 
How Completely Must the Mitzvah Be Performed?
- The obligation of chinuch is for a father to train his son to do mitzvot, before he is required. The question that arises is: can a father fulfill his obligation by training his children to learn the basics of the mitzvah or must a father teach his son to perform the mitzvot perfectly. There are many different views on how a father should approach this issue.
- Some examples of cases of chinuch are with a lulav and with tzitzit. While the obligation of chinuch is only fulfilled if you give your child a perfectly kosher lulav and pair of tzitzit, you don’t have to give your child lulav hadar. In addition, you also don’t have to teach your child to have kavanah while performing the mitzvah. From this, we can infer that while it is important to teach your child to not perform the mitzvah in a non-kosher way, it is also not necessary to make your child fully enthralled in all aspects of the mitzvah.
- There is a dispute whether a father fulfills his obligation when letting his child use a borrowed lulav for sukkot. This question revolves around whether the nature of the obligation of chinuch was to train the child to do mitzvot when he gets older in which case it would suffice or was it that the rabbis imposed an obligation upon the child to do mitzvot before he becomes Biblically obligated.
- Although the primary purpose of Chinuch is to train children when they are young so that they continue to perform the Mitzvot during adulthood, the parents' obligation does not end when a child reaches bar or bat mitzvah. A parent must make sure that the child continues to adhere to all biblical or rabbinic laws even after maturity. 
- Once a child knows how to speak he should be taught to say the first pasuk of Shema. 
- A child of 6 or 7 should be taught to say the brachot of Kriyat Shema, Shema, and Shmoneh Esrei. 
- One should teach small children to answer Amen because once a child answers Amen, he has a place in Olam Haba. 
- There is a chinuch for a child to daven in a minyan but davening in a group of ten children isn't considered a minyan at all even for chinuch.
- A child should not serve as the Chazan for a minyan, especially for Shacharit and Mincha. Those who allow a child to lead the congregation for Arvit may have what to rely on, but ideally one should not do so.
- Regarding children performing Birkat Cohanim see Birkat Cohanim.
- Children should be taught to say berachot before food at the age of 5, or when the children are able to say it properly. However many people have different customs to start having children say berachot at an earlier age. 
- Some say that children from the age of 6 should say Birkat Hamazon. Some say that a child who is unable to recite the regular text of Birkat Hamazon should recite an abbreviated version. Others say, he should be taught to say as much as he can.
- In order to teach children what berachot they should say and how they should say them, anyone may show/teach the children by saying the full berachot for the child even where the child doesn't presently have to make that bracha. Some say that when possible, the adult should just begin pronouncing the name of God, and have the child pronounce the entire Name.
- A parent is allowed to answer “amen” to berachot that are said by a child at the proper time, but not when it is just for practice.
- Children that are older than five or six, or whatever age the accepted custom says, and get up in the middle of the night, should not eat unless they said the proper berachot beforehand. 
- While there is a prohibition in saying G-d's Name (Ado-nai) when it is isn't warranted, the prohibition is waived when being used in the process of Chinuch. Therefore, it is permitted (obligatory, rather) to say the full Bracha, with Shem and Malchut, in order to teach a child how and when to say what Brachot.
- With regards to Birkat HaGomel see Birkat HaGomel page.
- One should buy a talit katan for a child who has reached the age of chinuch.
- There are a variety of opinions for the age of chinuch for talit katan
- Regarding the size, it is proper to get the child a shirt that will cover his head and most of his body, subject to the actual size of that individual child. If it is big enough, the child should be taught to say the beracha. If not, he can wear it without a beracha.
- A child who can be careful to keep his body clean and respect the holiness of tefillin, should be taught to put on tefillin prior to his 13th birthday. The poskim differ on the exact amount of time , but the common Minhag for ashkenazim is that a boy under the age of 13 wears Tefillin only 2 or 3 months before his Bar Mitzvah. Sepharadim typically begin a year or two before Bar Mitzva.
Washing for Bread
- Children that have not reached the age of bar or bat mitzvah are nevertheless required to wash their hands before eating bread. Even though washing hands is a mitzvah derabanan, it is a mitzvah of chinuch to teach kids mitzvot that are derabanan. 
- One opinion is that even when the child is being spoon fed because he does not have the motor skills to feed himself yet, he still is required to wash for bread when he eats more than a Kezayit. 
- Harav Adir Cohen says that when the child can say the bracha they should wash their hands before eating bread. Since in many kindergarten and nursery classrooms they have posters of the bracha on the wall, they have already memorized it when they are young. Therefore, they should be able to wash by then. 
Washing in the Morning
- Children that have reached the age of chinuch should be trained to wash their hands upon rising in the morning and they should not touch food before washing hands. Some say parents should try to wash the hands of their children, regardless of their age.
- Children who have reached the age of chinuch should be trained to wash their hands after going to the bathroom  or touching parts of their body that are generally covered.
Bringing Children to Shul
There is a lot of controversy over the issue of bringing your kids to shul. Is it a positive thing that will be positive for their future or will it be a distraction to others and a negative outlook on shul for the child?
- Some say that bringing children to shul before they are ready infuses them with spirituality just like a bris milah is given to a child before the age of chinuch because it infuses him with spirituality. 
- The gemara writes that the reason why children were also supposed to assemble at hakhel was to ‘bring reward to those who brought them’. Tosafot comments that this is the source for bringing children to shul.
- The Shla hakadosh was frustrated by people who brought kids to shul who were not yet old enough to be in shul without making disruptions and bothering the shul. This will leave an impression on the child and he will feel distaste towards the shul as an adult because of it. 
- The Mishna Berura writes that one shouldn’t daven with a young child in front of himm as the child will likely distract him.
- The Shulchan Aruch writes that children should listen to the megilla being read on Purim. The Mishna Berura writes that this is only applicable to children who have reached the age of chinuch. The Chafetz Chaim bemoans the unfortunate reality that many parents bring their younger children who disturb everyone else. 
- One should not kiss a young child in shul. Some limit this to the time of prayer. Others do not accept this distinction.
A Kohen Becoming Tamei
- Hacham Ovadia Yosef says a kohen’s wife who is pregnant while she knows it's a male is allowed to go to cemeteries while pregnant because the fetus is considered to be a part of the mother.  Rav Elyashiv says that a kohen’s wife who is giving birth to a male needs to make sure the hospital is one where the child won't become tamei after being born. 
- A kohen must never become Tamei, so as a baby it is the parent's responsibility to keep the baby from being near dead bodies.
- Once the Kohen is old enough and mature enough to be taught the obligation of not becoming tamei the responsibility to keep the child from becoming Tamei falls off the parents and on the child 
Kiddush and Havdalah
- When a child is able to understand when it is Shabbat, then he or she must hear kiddush and havdalah. Understanding that it is Shabbos does not mean that he or she only says good shabbos and that’s all; rather a kid must understand that it’s the 7th day and it’s the rest day and not a day to do work. 
- When a child is of that age, parents must make sure to call the child to the table to hear kiddush.  However, unlike adults, children are permitted to eat before kiddush is recited.
- If a child goes to sleep before hearing havdallah or Kiddush on Friday night and it is past the child’s normal bedtime, some say it is not necessary to wake him or her up for Kiddush/Havdalah. Others say that on Friday night, the child may say Kiddush before going to sleep after plag haMincha. Others suggest that if the child did not say kiddush on Friday night or havdallah, he should say the Friday night text for the Shabbos morning kiddush and havdallah when he wakes up on Sunday morning.
- Children who have reached the age of chinuch should be taught to assist in preparing for shabbat.
- Children who have reached the age of chinuch should be given special clothes for shabbat.
- The obligation to light candles before shabbat can be fulfilled by one member of the house lighting. Nevertheless, some have the custom for the young girls to light their own candles.
Melacha on Shabbat
- On Shabbat, a parent cannot tell a kid to do melacha. This is a Biblical prohibition.
- According to one opinion, you can have a child do melacha for you if it is only an issur derabanan According to most opinions you may not ask a child to do a melacha for you under any circumstances even melacha derabanan. 
- Even though one cannot ask a child to do melacha, if a young child is playing with a toy that makes noise on shabbat, you don’t have to tell the kid to stop if he is too young to understand the laws of shabbat 
- But, if a kid is old enough to understand which actions are forbidden and which are allowed to do on Shabbat, then you must stop him from doing melacha based on Chinuch.
- The age a child should be kept up for the whole pesach seder is when he can fully understand the mitzvah and the story of Egypt. This of course varies depending on how the child matures, but for most it is between age 5-7.
- A child should drink the four cups when he can understand, even just a little bit, the story of Egypt; he does not, however, need to drink the same amount as an adult but rather a child-size cheek full 
- Children are chayav to perform the mitzvah of lulav when they are able to shake the lulav 
- The Turei Zahav says that a parent should buy his son his own set of lulav if he is able to do it, and the father has the financial means to do it.
- if you are going to buy your child a lulav, it is preferable, if they are going to make a bracha on it, that it be kosher. 
- Although the lulav should be kosher, according to some, on the first day of Sukkot a child does not have to own his lulav like adults do. According to others, a child should also use a lulav that he owns. Therefore, the child should use the lulav after all adults have used the lulav, because a child can acquire a lulav from an adult, but cannot transfer it back to the adult’s ownership.
- The child is not able to give back the lulav because he is unable to understand the practices of business enough to give back the lulav. 
- You can have your child use the non-kosher set of lulav but you do not fulfill the mitzvah of chinuch. 
- There is a minhag for a boy to fast 3 fasts prior to his Bar Mitzvah.
- The Torah study of pure children is very precious before Hashem and it provides spiritual protection to the whole world.
- A life devoted to Hashem is the most pleasurable and fulfilling one. Therefore, the Chinuch stage must be pleasing and joyful for children. The proper attitude and approach for children to learn is through "Darchei No'am" (pleasant ways). 
- A parent and/or teacher should generally be careful not to be excessively forceful. There are several cases where Talmudic personalities praised their behavior of not being "makpid"(strict) in their home over their wives and children even though they lived a life filled with mitzvot 
- The gedolim have all agreed that hitting children in the name of chinuch is forbidden.
Feeding a Child Something Forbidden
- It is forbidden to feed a child something that is forbidden, whether it is forbidden from the Torah or rabbinically.
- It is permitted to feed a baby milk an hour after they finished eating meat even though the minhag is to not to have milk after meat for several hours.
- Many poskim are lenient even for Ashkenazim to feed a child who needs to eat kitniyot on Pesach for health reasons since it is only a minhag.
- Putting a diaper on a baby on Shabbat that has a color strip which changes colors when the baby goes to the bathroom is permitted.
- Feeding your child a cookie with letters on it on Shabbat is permitted.
- Devarim 6 pasuk 7
- Shulchun Aruch Harav Y.D. 246:1. see Sefer Chinuch Yisrael (p. 59) writes that Chinuch is a rabbinical Mitzvah, and quotes the Chaye Adam (66:1) who writes that this is a Mitzvah Midivrei Kabbalah (institution of the Nevi'im).
- Bereshit Perek 18 pasuk 19
- Meshakh Ḥochmah Genesis 18:19
- Benjamin Zimmerman, The Educational Experience of Sippur Yitziat Mizrayim
- See the examples on Sukkah 42a and Sukkah 28a
- Mishnah Berurah 128:123.
- Muktzeh: A Practical Guide (Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen p. 138)
- Mishnah Berurah 128:123
- Mishnah Berurah 343:3
- Mishlei (22:6) and Rashi there as cited in ShortVort written by D. Fine. Ritva Sukkah 2b s.v. amar rabbi yehuda and Mishna Brurah 343:2 cite Mishlei as the source for chinuch.
- Rashi (Brachot 20a s.v. ketanim), Ran (Megillah 6b s.v. rabbi yehuda) citing the Ramban, Ritva (Megillah 19b s.v. hakol), Tosfot Bava Kama 87a s.v. vkein
- Tosfot (Megillah 19b s.v. vrabbi yehuda), Tosfot (Brachot 20a s.v. vketanim), Rashba (Brachot 20a s.v. nashim)
- Mishna Brurah 343:2, Sefer Chinuch Yisrael (p. 61). See further in the Magen Avraham 343, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 343, Mishna Brurah 616:5, Aruch HaShulchan 343, and Pri Megadim E"A 225:5.
- The Gemara Nazir 28b writes that there is only an idea of a father training his son in being a nazir and not a mother. Reish Lakish understands that this is an example of chinuch. Tosfot Yeshanim (Yoma 82a s.v. ben) explicitly holds that there is no chinuch for a mother. Aruch Lener Sukkah 2b agrees. Ritva (Sukkah 2b s.v. amar rabbi yehuda) assumes that there is chinuch for a mother.
- Fine, D. "The Mitzvah of Chinuch Explored." Shortvort. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
- Mishna Brurah 628:28
- Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igrot Moshe YD 1:224. See Ritva (Sukkah 2b s.v. amar rabbi yehuda) who says that a sukkah above 20 amot is invalid for chinuch and concludes that the mitzvah of chinuch has to be fulfilled in a complete fashion.
- Children in Halacha pg. 8
- Mishna Brurah 70:7 notes that this does not have to be said in the proper time of shema
- Mishna Brachot 20a says that children are exempt from reciting shema. Rashi explains that this refers to children that have reached the age of chinuch. Rabbenu Tam argues that this refers to children that have not reached the age of chinuch, but once they have reached the age of chinuch, they should be taught to say shema. Shulchan Aruch 70:2 quotes both opinions and says it is appropriate to be strict like Rabbenu Tam.
M.B. 70:6 notes that this means one should train the child to recite shema at the proper time with all the brachot
- Tefillah KeHilchata 1:12-13. M.B. 106:5 says this means shachrit and mincha. Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 19) says that the custom is not to train children to daven mariv.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 19) quotes Chinuch Yisroel page 77
- M.B. 106:5
- Rama 124:7
- Rav Soloveitchik (Nefesh Harav p. 113) explained that for chinuch it needs to be a halachically valid structure for the chinuch to be effective (based on Ritva Sukkah 2b).
Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe O.C. 2:98) says that one must stop children if they are doing dvarim shebikdusha with a minyan of children as that is prohibited.
- Shu"t Yabea Omer 9:100:4, Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinich Katan pg 61
- Shulchan Aruch 53:10, Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinich Katan pg 61
- Mishna Brura 53:30
- "CHINUCH AGE." Ahavsalom (n.d.): n. pag. Dh.ahavasolam.com. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <http://dh.ahavasolam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/A-List-of-Chinuch-Ages.pdf>, שלחן ערוך א”ח רט”ו:ג as cited in Singer, Shmuel. "A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot." Google Books. Shmuel Singer, n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2016. <https://books.google.com/books?id=55NdTR7HfYAC&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=age%2Bchildren%2Bberachot&source=bl&ots=zwGJnqECD_&sig=xSHlovDBimMjahI64ia2ltu_5ho&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjHopOi39bKAhUBLyYKHRqADUEQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=age%20children%20berachot&f=false>.
- Yalkut Yosef (Chinuch p. 20) quotes the Chikrei Lev who proves that there is chinuch even on mitzvot derabanan, as the gemara Rosh Hashana 29b indicates that a person should teach his son how to make hamotzei before eating bread.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 18:2. Also see Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com writes that parents should ensure that children from the age of 6 say Birkat HaMazon.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 28) based on M.B. 187:4. Sefer Chinuch Yisroel page 93 says it is not right to teach a child to only say the first bracha as that is teaching them to do the wrong thing and it may be a blessing in vain. See also Rav Elyashiv (V'Zos HaBracha 20:3)
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomo Tefillah 1:8) explains that we don't usually say the abbreviated text, so we shouldn't teach children differently than the normal practice.
- M.B. 167:93 says this is not limited to parents, but one may help any child who cannot make a bracha on their own
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 167:19. M.B. 215:14 says even a teacher can mention the name of Hashem to teach children. See Chanoch L’Naar (14:4). As cited in "CHINUCH AGE." Ahavsalom (n.d.): n. pag. Dh.ahavasolam.com. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <http://dh.ahavasolam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/A-List-of-Chinuch-Ages.pdf>.
- Aishel Avraham 167:19
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 215:3
- M.B. 215:16 and Aruch HaShulchan 215:2. Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 22 footnote 6) explains that since the child has not reached the age of chinuch, it is not a bracha and therefore one shouldn't answer amen.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 22) quoting from Shmirat Shabbat KiHilchita Mahdura Kama 32:193 explains that it is teaching children to answer Amen after brachot.
- "CHINUCH AGE." Ahavsalom (n.d.): n. pag. Dh.ahavasolam.com. Web. 1 Feb. 2016. <http://dh.ahavasolam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/A-List-of-Chinuch-Ages.pdf>.
- The Gemara (Brachot 53b) says that one doesn’t say amen after the Bracha of a katan when he is just saying a Bracha as he is being taught the Brachot. The Rambam (Brachot 1:15) codifies as halacha. The Kesef Mishna there writes that it’s clearly implied that the teacher is permitted to say the Brachot with Hashem’s name to teach the children how to say the Brachot and when the children repeat the Bracha after him, since the Bracha is only for Chinuch, one doesn’t answer amen. Shulchan Aruch 215:3 rules that if a child is saying a Bracha as he is learning from his teacher one doesn’t answer amen, but if a child says a Bracha in order to exempt himself from some obligation (meaning saying a Bracha when he is obligated to say it), then one should answer amen.
- Mishna Brurah 215:14 writes that it is permitted for the teacher to say the Brachot with Hashem’s name to teach the children how to say the Brachot. Although saying a Bracha for Chinuch is permitted, saying a Bracha as one is learning such as an adult who finds the text of a Bracha in the gemara as he is learning should not say the Bracha with Hashem’s name as one is reading the gemara. However, Yalkut Yosef 215:15 writes that in order to teach a child how to say Brachot one may say them with Hashem’s name, however, once the child knows how to make a Bracha and he just needs help in saying the Bracha one should say it without Hashem’s name.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 17:3 based on Sukkah 42a, Rambam Hilchot Tzitzit 3:9. The Rama there writes, based on Haghot Maimoniyot (Hilchot Tzitzit Perek 3) that the idea is that once a child knows how to properly wear the Tzitzit so that two strings are behind him and two in front.
Aruch HaShulchan 17:5 asks why one is obligated to buy his child a talit, as the mitzvah of tzitzit is limited to one who is wearing a four-cornered garment. So if one doesn't have the garment, there is no requirement! Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 15 footnote 8) quotes the Bach s.v. katan that since the custom is that everyone wears tzitzit, one is obligated in chinuch of this custom as well.
see Children and Kedusha of Tzitzis by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky
- Shaare Teshuva 17:2, Aruch HaShulchan 17:5, Kitzur Shela (cited in Shu"t Lev Chaim 1:101)
- Bach 16 s.v. umah shekasiv rabbaynu, Shu"t Yechave Daat 4:2, Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinuch Katan pg. 29, Shu"T Lev Chaim 1:101
Shu"t Ohr Letzion 2:2:7 (pg. 30) says that the age is around 5
- Magen Avraham 16:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano 9:2. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe Y.D. 3:52:2) says that for a child above the age of nine, one should be sure that the talit katan is the proper size
- Mishna Berura 17:9 based on Pri Megadim in Siman 16, and Derech Hachaim.
Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe Y.D. 3:52:2) says that for a child above the age of nine, one should be sure that the talit katan is the proper size. see there where he gives a rationale for those who are not strict to get a garment that is big enough for the child and ties it to a more general disagreement about whether the mitzva of chinuch for mitzvot requires that we teach the child to perform the mitzva fully
- Mishna Berura 17:9 based on Pri Megadim in Siman 16 and Derech Hachaim, Shu"t Shevet Halevi 3:6 see Halichot Shlomo pg. 26 in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who says that you do not need to rebuke those who allow their children to recite a beracha on a garment that isn't the requisite size
- Rambam Hilchot Tefillin 4:13 and Shulchan Aruch 37:3, based on Sukkah 42a and Arachin 2b, writes that when a child can treat his tefillin properly, his father should buy him a pair of tefillin. It would seem to be addressing an under-bar-mitzvah-age boy, and this is indeed the understanding of the overwhelming majority of the early commentators. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 37:3) follows this opinion and rules that a minor who can follow the halachot of tefillin should be given a pair.
Although the Rama 37:3 cites the approach of the Baal Haitur that there is no chinuch when it comes to tefillin, and the gemara refers to a child at the age of 13 or above, the Mishna Berura 37:12 writes that the common practice nowadays is to begin wearing them 2 or 3 months earlier. The Bach OC 37 questions why the Rama would follow the approach of the Baal Haitur against the approach of the majority
Chacham Ovadia Yosef (Yabea Omer OC 6:3 and Yechave Daat 2:4) writes that the practice among Sepharadim is certainly to begin putting them on at some point before the age of 13
- See Yechave Daat 2:4 for a variety of Minhagim. see also Ten Minute Halacha: How Long before Bar Mitzvah to Put on Tefillin and Chinuch for the Mitzva of Tefillin at greater length both by Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, and Halachically Speaking Vol 13 Issue 2
- Magen Avraham 37:4, Shulchan Aruch Harav 37:3, Mishna Berura 37:12, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 10:24.
- Shu"t Yabea Omer OC 6:3, Shu"t Yechave Daat 2:4, Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinuch Katan pg. 40. see footnote there on pg. 44 where he writes that one should not allow a child to begin at the age of 9-10 because it is unlikely he will be able to treat them properly by keeping his body clean
- Yalkut Yosef Dinei Netilat Yadayim, Birkat Hamazon, Brachot, Mincha and Arvit page 13-14 based on the Yerushalmi in Megilla 2:5 that chinuch of children applies to rabbinic laws as cited in Netilat Yadayim for a Meal.
An important lesson about chinuch in general can be learned from a story about trying to teach one’s son to wash before eating. It talks about a little kid who did not wash before eating bread. This infuriated his dad so he went to get something to hit him with. When he wound up to hit his son, his wife immediately stopped him and reminded him that he does not wash before eating bread either, thus he should be the one that is hit. The lesson is that if you want to successfully teach your children mitzvot, you have to take ownership and do the mitzvah as well. "חינוך לדורות - חינוך במעשים." <http://raktora.50webs.com/hinuh1.htm>.
- הרב אבישלום מונייצר שליטא. "ילדים כהלכה." ילדים כהלכה.
- הרב אדיר הכהן שליט"א. " חינוך לנטילת ידים לילדים." חינוך לנטילת ידים לילדים.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 14), Shulchan Aruch haRav 4:2.
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 20:25 say that the obligation for children to wash begins at the age of chinuch as for other mitzvot which is approximately 5 or 6.
- Mishna Brura 4:10 says that one should be careful with young children, and doesn't clarify if this is only once they reach the age of chinuch (he only says they should be careful because they touch food)
- Shulchan Aruch haRav 4:2 says one should be careful starting after the brit milah to wash his son's hands. The Kaf Hachayim 4:23 and Ben Ish Chai (Toldot #10) say that even a newborn's hands should be washed by their parents.
- The Chazon Ish (cited by Daat Noteh p. 141, Dirshu 4:23) is strict as long as the baby is old enough to touch something. See further Rabbi Neustadt at torah.org
- Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer 7:2:10 says there is no obligation before the age of chinuch, but to get the child into a good habit, it is advisable to wash his hands even before the age of chinuch. However, do not put pressure on the child, but do it pleasantly as there is no issue if they touch food. Similarly, Halichos Bas Yisroel perek 1 footnote 22 quotes in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein that although it is not required, it is a good idea to wash the hands of your children even before the age of chinuch. Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinuch Katan pg. 23 agrees that it is a good idea to begin before the age of chinuch to raise the children with purity.
- Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky in Emet LeYacov 4:10 says that it begins when a child is old enough to say amen to a bracha or recite a pasuk in Torah.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 15), Chinuch Yisroel page 63, Yalkut Yosef Dinei Chinuch Katan pg. 25
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 15), Chinuch Yisroel page 63
Shu"t Tzitz Eliezer 7:2:4 says one can still learn with a child who touches their scalp or shoes.
- Rabbi Shraga Simmons
- Chagigah 3a
- Mishnah Berurah 98:3 who quotes the Shla Hakadosh:
- Mishna Berura 96:4
- The Shulchan Aruch (OC 689:1-3)
- Rama O.C. 98:1 quotes Shut Binyamin Zev 163 that explains the reason is, so that one realizes that there is no love like the love one has for Hashem. See Sefer Chasidim 255 Rav Ovadya Yosef (Shut Yichaveh Daas 4:12) says that this applies to both young and old children and even to other people. However, he says that the custom to kiss a rav or father on the hand is definitely permitted. He explains that they are different as there is a mitzvah to honor them, so giving them honor is a form of honoring Hashem.
- Rav Michel Sherkin (Meged Givot Olam Chelek 1 page 92) says Rav Moshe Feinstein felt that this prohibition is limited to the time of tefillah (as discussed by the Gra O.C. 98:1 by the fact that the Rama has this halcha in Hilchot Tefillah, not Hilchot Bet Hakneset).
- Rav Hershel Schachter quoted by his son https://www.yutorah.org/sidebar/lecture.cfm/802649/rabbi-shay-schachter/kissing-our-children-in-shul/ at 2:20
- Rabbi Dovid Ostroff, The Shabbos Weekly. See M.B. 269:1
- Rabbi Dovid Ostroff, The Shabbos Weekly
- M.B. 269:1
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurebach as cited in Rabbi Dovid Ostroff, The Shabbos Weekly
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 58)
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 58) quoting from Sefer Chinuch Yisroel page 99. Rav Cohen says that we have an obligation of chinuch even for bdieved situations. Our children have to know what to do when they grow up and this situation occurs.
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 55)
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 56)
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (Children in Halacha page 56) quoting from Aruch HaShulchan 263:7
- Shabbat 121a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 343:1
- Shemot 20:10, Mechilta there, Ramban Sefer Hamitzvot shoresh 14, Rashba Shabbat 153a, Mishkenot Yakov OC 118, Shaar Hatziyun 334:54
- Turei Zahav as cited in A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot: A Halachic Guide By: Samuel Singer
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 343:1, A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot: A Halachic Guide By: Samuel Singer
- Yevamot 114a, A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot: A Halachic Guide By: Samuel Singer
- Rama O.C. 343:1. A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mitzvot: A Halachic Guide By: Samuel Singer
- Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 472:15. Shulchan Aruch Harav 472:25
- The Laws of Pesach on www.neveh.org
- Gemara sukkah 42a
- "Sukkot." A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mizvot. Hoboken: Ketav House, 1991.53. Print.
- "Sukkot." A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mizvot. Hoboken: Ketav House, 1991.59. Print.
- "Sukkot." A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mizvot. Hoboken: Ketav House, 1991. 53 . Print.
- "Sukkot." A Parent's Guide to Teaching Children Mizvot. Hoboken: Ketav House, 1991. 61-63. Print.
- Rav Nevinsal (B'Yitzchak Yikare 550:1) comments that the minhag ashkenaz is for a boy to fast 3 times prior to his bar mitzvah, though he doesn't know the basis for this minhag.
- The Gemara Shabbat 119a quotes Reish Lakish as saying that the world stands on the merit of the children's torah study. Furthermore, says the Gemara, a city which doesn't have its children studying Torah is going to be destroyed.
- Rambam in his introduction to Perek Chelek elaborates on how a child should be given sweets to encourage him to learn, as he gets older he should be given bigger prizes until eventually he will appreciate the value of the Torah itself and be motivated to learn it for no other reason
- Gitin 7a
- Rav Wolbe in Biyan Uzeriya Bechinuch. Rav Kook in Ayn Ayah Brachot 7a:70
- The Rambam Machalot Asurot 17:27 holds that it is forbidden to feed a child something forbidden (safinan byadayim) whether that prohibition is from the Torah or rabbinic. The Rashba responsa 1:92 argues that it is permitted as long as it is only rabbinic yet he cautioned that he didn't rule like that in practice. Ran Yoma 1a quotes the Rashba. The Shulchan Aruch 343:1 holds like the Rambam.
- Chelkat Yakov YD 1:16 is lenient to permit a baby to drink milk after eating meat since it is only a minhag and since a minhag is based on a vow it a child's vows aren't effective. However, he limits this leniency to this context and only permits in conjunction with the fact that a baby is considered like a choleh shein bo sakana if they need to drink milk for health. Yabia Omer YD 1:4 is lenient after an hour but adds that perhaps there's no prohibition of feeding a child something forbidden if it is only an external prohibition (gavra) and not a prohibition of the food itself (chefsa). See Ritva b"m 70a s.v. amar rav anan for a proof.
- Shem Aryeh EH 95 writes that there's no issue with feeding a child below chinuch something (latfiso byadayim) that is only a chumra and not even a rabbinic prohibition. He is writing about not eating dried fruits on Pesach which was a certain minhag. The Sdei Chemed Chametz Umatzah 6:6 quotes it regarding Kitniyot. Siach Yitzchak responsa 210 agrees. Yechave Daat 1:9 agrees. He quotes Kol Mevaser 778, Agudat Ezov 12 who also agree that there's no prohibition of feeding a child something that's only a minhag. Agudat Ezov is lenient even with bishul akum. Sdei Chemed Asifat Zekenim Bishul Goyim 15 quotes that.
- Rav Nissim Karelitz in Chut Shani Shabbat v. 4 p. 287 writes that it is permitted to put a diaper on a baby that is going to change colors when the baby goes to the bathroom and it isn't considered causing your baby to do a melacha of coloring on Shabbat. The reason is that when the diaper is put on there's no change and when the baby goes to the bathroom he is mitasek and there's no issue of causing your child to do a melacha as a mitasek.
- Mishna Brurah on 340:3 writes that it is permitted to give your child a cookie with letters on it even though for an adult it is forbidden to eat it since it will erase the letters. Chut Shani Shabbat v. 4 p. 293 explains that it is permitted since erasing the letters is at worst derabbanan and also some poskim permit it altogether. Also, there's no problem of causing your child to do something forbidden if it is a pesik reisha unless the child realizes that he's doing it for the benefit of the child.