Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

19 Iyar 5763 - May 21, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family


Dear Editor,

I want to respond to an article that appeared in the FAMILY SECTION some weeks ago by Rabbi Zobin, "The Feat of Walking" (P' Truma). In it, it was claimed that not crawling can cause difficulties in learning to read.

As the grandmother of a ten-month-old child who stands but never crawled, as well as a teacher of English in a school for Special Education, I took a special interest in this article.

I spoke to many women, some whose children didn't crawl. Some also said, "I never crawled." No one agreed with the idea expressed in the article, and I can say with authority that most children who arrive in Special Ed. classes unable to read either in Hebrew or English simply haven't been taught properly.

We are all familiar with R' Preida's experience in teaching a student 400 times till he mastered the subject. And then there is Mishlei: "Educate the youth according to his way." And finally, from R' E. Tauber's Tape #1457, his admonishment to keep secular thinking out of our midst, for even one drop is poison.

I cannot imagine that Jewish mothers for thousands of years went into a panic if their child didn't crawl, and I see no reason to put fear into young mothers today because this, by itself, will hurt their children's development.

Marjorie Ahuvi, Bat Yam


It was not R' Zobin who stated the above, but myself, who added the editorial comment in brackets, from a reliable source. Having raised a brood ba'h, I dutifully went to Tipat Chalav child health centers and was very impressed by most of what I heard by the professionals. Not all. A physiotherapist by the name of Dorit Gil, I believe, told me this, and she has since, become a major authority on child development to the point that her book has become a manual on the subject.

According to her, and documented others, a child who does not crawl will not necessarily develop difficulty with reading, but certainly is missing out on a very important stage in hand-eye coordination development, while one who does have difficulty reading MAY, in all likelihood, have missed out on it since there is a definite, proven correlation.

So one must not panic if the baby is not crawling, but on the other hand, one must not encourage a baby to sit and stand when he is not ready for it! To wit: infant `walkers' which were once so popular are now anathema.

If you will recall the period when `patterning' was considered the cure-all for brain damaged children, it was then believed that creating the pattern of crawling in these children's brain would provide the needed transitional step for them to progress onward in every area, since it was so vital.

I have been a spectator of therapeutic exercise classes (Uri Michaeli) for learning disabled children and have seen the instructor very often have the children simply CRAWL, backwards and forwards, to create these vital brain patterns.


From D. Shain:

From my experience with a large family and many blessed simchas, boruch Hashem, I'd like to add some tips:

Our grandchildren were simply thrilled to get their peckele, long before the adults actually sat down to eat. It consisted of rolls with cold cuts, sometimes actually prepared at the event (usually a bris). Add a bag of potato chips and a drink -- mammash heaven. In our case, we informed the parents in advance, as well as the caterer, that children up to ten would not be getting a place setting, and this saved considerable money.


At each catered event, we had the hostess stipulate in advance that the leftover food be packed to be taken. The caterer does not usually mind doing this, but there should be someone on hand - preferably not the hostess herself, who has more important things to do - to see to this towards the end and to ascertain that there are containers for the food.

There is usually some macher in the family perfectly suited for this supervisory kind of job. Leftovers can come in very handy for sheva brochos, for the young couple itself to have in their fridge, for subsequent festive meals for the bar mitzva family, like the seuda with the boy's friends etc. and for easier meals later on.


We found it very appreciated by the various groups who found table cards ready for them. Abroad, it is customary for each person to be assigned a table. In Israel, seating is completely informal, which, as Mrs. Hall pointed out, has its pros and cons.

However, if you have family and friends coming from out of town, they will certainly appreciate finding a table marked: Haifa, or Tzefat etc. If the mother is part of a staff, or volunteers in some organization, her colleagues will be happy to sit at a table marked: YATED STAFF, TEACHERS AND STAFF, BIKUR CHOLIM ORGANIZATION or FRIENDS OF THE KALLA, COUSINS FROM THE COHEN/LEVI SIDE etc.

Someone from the family suited for the job can supervise politely, from time to time, that these designations are being honored. Of course, someone will have to prepare these TABLE SIGNS in advance. They can even be hand made on white cardboard or bristol etc., folded in half to stand, and have a cute designation like "YELADUDES - COHEN" for a children's table, and a picture. It might be a good idea to bring some blank ones with a magic marker for impromptu table signs, as the need arises!


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