Nasso – The ‘Don’ts’ and ‘Do’s’ of Wise Parenting

Every parent knows that raising a young child requires one to emphasize boundaries and limits, for the protection of the youngster as well as for the inculcation of values. In fact there are many more ‘No – don’ts’ in early childrearing, than Yes, do’s’. Then, as the child matures into adulthood, a reversal begins to take place: many more ‘do’s’ than ‘don’ts’. Because the obvious ‘don’ts’ have now been internalized into normative behavior – fully understood. This is hinted at in our Sedra, Nasso, where the descendants of Gershon are given their workload in the Mishkan, the portable temple the Jewish people carried with them in the desert, together with the descendants of Aaron’s other son, Kehos. The name Gershon derives from the idea of being removed from something – a ‘don’t’. Whereas the name Kehos derives from the ideas of gathering together – an implication of ‘do’. Initially Gershon is mentioned ahead of Kehos and later Kehos is mentioned ahead of Gershon. This informs us that in our initial stage of life, the ‘don’ts’ dominate as a training program for young children. But then the reversal takes place and the ‘do’s of maturity take over. Wise parenting knows when to make the transition form ‘don’ts to ‘do’s’.