What The Talmud Teaching About Swimming

What The Talmud Teaching About Swimming

There are some great mass participation swims in Israel including the Sea of Galilee event, one of the world’s top 100 open water swims, as well as specialty marathon swims such as the 3 Seas In 3 Days event.

In reading Jeremy Epstein’s blog, there seems to be a practical reason for the popularity of open water swims in Israel. 

He writes, “According to the Talmud, a Jewish parent is required to teach his/her child three things (Kiddushin 29a).

1. The first is Torah (that is, the rules of the world as we understand them and wrong from right).
2. The second is to prepare them for some way to make a living so that they can support themselves and their families.
3. The third is to teach them how to swim.”

Jeremy explains, “Teaching a child to swim is a metaphor for teaching that child to be an independent being.  At each step of the process, you need to watch, but gradually allow the child to do more and more on her own. Yet, you need to stand by until you are sure she can do it for herself.  You need to push her to try something, encourage her to challenge her fears, but arm her with the common sense to not be foolhardy. You won’t be there forever, so you do a disservice by holding her the hold time, but you can’t just abdicate your responsibility, toss her in, and hope for the best.”

Wise words and an interesting perspective on teaching children (and adults who have not learned yet) how to swim.

Photo shows POW (Pool Open Water).

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