We have finished siman 2, in which the Chayei Adam listed some examples of the proper age to begin chinuch in specific mitzvos. We have discussed the example of lulav, and have begun discussing talmud torah. Yesterday, we learned about using maaser money for talmud torah, and the difference between talmud torah which is a chiyuv, and talmud torah which is not. Today, we will discuss the usage of maaser for teaching one’s daughter.
Regarding the usage of maaser money for teaching one’s daughter, there is no chiyuv of talmud torah on a daughter, so, arguably, maybe one could use maaser money for all talmud torah-related expenses. We need to clarify the concept of talmud torah for a girl, and how to understand the Gemara which discourages teaching women Torah shebaal peh.
There are three components of Torah which a woman needs to be taught.
- The first are the halachos relevant to her which she will need to know as an adult. This includes all mitzvos that she is mechuyav in, and mitzvos which women usually accept to do even though they are patur (e.g., shofar lulav, etc.)
- The second is the Torah shebaal peh that she needs to know and internalize in order to withstand the challenges of the generation and fight against being swept up by society. This part of Torah is what we may call yirah, kedusha or mussar; i.e., the inspiration behind the mitzvos. (This chiyuv applies to sons as well.)
- The third component, similar to the second, is the Torah shebichsav necessary in order to have an understanding of why they are doing what they do, because we live in a society where we need to understand why we do things in order to do them. (Just to clarify, the gemara never discouraged teaching girls Torah shebichsav)
Thus, practically, there is a tremendous amount which a woman should be taught. If we apply Rav Moshe’s argument, that they must legally be in school (until age 18 in Maryland), and if they would not be in a Jewish school they would end up in public school, we would conclude that there is a chiyuv to send them to a Jewish school, because a public school would create the opposite effect of imbuing the values of torah and mitzvos and fostering their observance. Since there is a chiyuv to send them to a Jewish school, one would not be allowed to use maaser money for the expenses incurred.
One could argue that at the point in which they are no longer legally obligated to remain in school, Rav Moshe’s argument would no longer apply and one could use maaser money. However, if they still need to remain in school in order to keep gaining practical Torah knowledge and yirah and mussar to fight against the challenges of the generation, remaining in school would be a chiyuv until they no longer need that education, and one would still be unable to use maaser money until they have reached that point.
Sending one’s daughter to school is a chiyuv, and remains a chiyuv until she is no longer longer legally obligated to remain in school, and until she has gained sufficient practical Torah knowledge to know how to live as a Jew, and she has absorbed sufficient yirah and mussar to fight against the challenges of the generation. After she has reached these goals, one could use maaser money to fund her education.