Divrei Hayamim I – Five: Parenting

Full disclosure: I am fully aware that the point that I’m going to attempt to make from my reading of this chapter is reaching, to say the least, and potentially flat out not in the text. But I’m going with it anyway. This chapter is talking about the genealogy of Jacob’s descendants. “And the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, for he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, but not to be reckoned in the genealogy as firstborn. Because Judah prevailed over his brothers, and the one appointed as prince was to be from him, but the birthright belonged to Joseph (Chronicles I 5:1-2).” Now, as a disclaimer, let me say that I have the best parents in the world, a fact that is exponentially true when comparing our family to the dysfunctional drama of the clan of Jacob. However, one thing that I took from these verses related to something that my parents always said to my siblings and I – that they parent every child differently. Whenever one of us would be upset about a perceived privilege that another one had, or a lack of total equality, they would simply and straightforwardly tell us that each child had and needed different things, and that their parenting would never be uniform. I feel like on some level, we’re seeing that precept in this text, with each son receiving a different portion based on their actions and subsequently what they deserved. With other patriarchs in Tanakh, we see the birthright being given to whoever ‘should’ have it, rather than who deserves it, which leads to its own strife. That’s Jacob’s story in a nutshell, so maybe he did learn from that and on some level chose to parent according to his children, rather than a system.

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