The position and authority of the Jewish father as head of the house is expressly assumed and sanctioned in Scripture as a likeness of that of the Almighty over his creatures. While the father lived, he continued to represent the whole family, the property was held in his name, and all under his control. The children and even the grandchildren continued under the roof of the father and grandfather; they labored on his account and were the most submissive of his servants. The property of the soil, the power of judgment, the civil rights belonged to the father only, and his sons were merely his instruments and assistants.

In patriarchal times, a father was master and judge in his own household, and exercised an authority almost unlimited over his family. Filial disobedience or disrespect was a high offense. The father, as head of the household had the obligation imposed upon him of bringing up his children in the fear of God, making them well acquainted with the precepts of the law, and generally acting as their instructor and guide. Filial duty and obedience to both parents were strictly enforced by Moses, and any outrage against either parent, or rebellion, was made a capital offense.

A Concerned Jewish Father (anonymous)

A Jewish father was concerned about his son who was about a year away from his Bar Mitzvah, but was sorely lacking in his knowledge of the Jewish faith. To remedy this, he sent his son to Israel to experience his heritage. A year later the young man returned home "Father, thank you for sending me to the land of our fathers," the son said. "It was wonderful and enlightening; however, I must confess that while in Israel I converted to Christianity."

"Oi vey," replied the father, "what have I done?" So, in the tradition of the patriarchs, he went to his best friend and sought his advice and solace.

"It is amazing that you should come to me," stated his friend. "I, too, sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian."

So in the tradition of the patriarchs, they went to the Rabbi. "It is amazing that you should come to me," stated the Rabbi. "I, too, sent my son to Israel and he returned a Christian. What is happening to our sons? Brothers, we must take this to the Lord," said the Rabbi.

They fell to their knees and began to wail and pour out their hearts to the Almighty. As they prayed, the clouds above opened and a mighty voice said, "Amazing that you should come to me. I, too, sent my Son to Israel.........."
[BD, 380]

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