A Letter To the Yated

I have sent the following letter to the Yated:

To whom it may concern,

In the Chinuch Roundtable of 12 Kislev 5771, a panelist wrote:

[A]t the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I feel that our children must understand that we feed and clothe them and give them all the necessities of life. Therefore, monies they may earn really belong to the parents. Unfortunately, the present generation does not understand this concept. A teenager who works for a sum of money which, in the end, does not really belong to him, may find it difficult to understand that he should offer to contribute to the family budget if he is aware that his parents are struggling financially.

About two years ago, a different Roundtable panelist took exactly the opposite view, about money that the questioner’s children “have accumulated from gifts and jobs”:

[Y]ou should not feel that you have the right to the money because you take care of all your child’s needs and this is a form of payment. I am not aware of such a basis in halacha and in human behavior. The money belongs to your children and you must seek their permission to use it.

Both these confident assertions are simply wrong; the question of a father’s right to the earnings of, and gifts received by, his dependent child is the subject of considerable dispute among the Poskim, Rishonim and Aharonim. See Rema (Hoshen Mishpat 270:2), Kenesses Ha’Gedolah (ibid. Hagahos Tur 2 and Beis Yosef 5), Gilyon R. Akiva Eger (ibid.) and Aruch Ha’Shulhan (ibid. 6), and see my survey of the topic here.

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One Response to A Letter To the Yated

  1. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    Rabbi Hershel Schachter has a shiur on the tuition crisis in which he states something to the effect of:

    “Suppose the parents are unable to pay full tuition, but the child has a summer job or babysits and makes a few dollars, can the school demand some of that money for tuition? I think if they do that, they’ll either cause the child to hate our chinuch system forever, or destroy any motivation he may ever have to ever work and make money.”

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