Teaching your children to swim

Teaching your children to swim:

The Talmud[1] records an opinion that states a father is obligated to teach his son how to swim. The reason recorded in the Talmud[2] for this is because on this matter “his life is dependent”. This means that since it is possible that if one does not know to swim that he will drown, such as in the event of shipwreck, therefore the father is obligated to teach him to swim to prevent Sakana/danger.[3] The Rambam, Shulchan Aruch and all later Poskim however omit this ruling of the Talmud. Some Poskim[4] explain the reason for this is omission is because we do not rule like this opinion in the Gemara, but rather like the first opinion in the Gemara ibid which omits this obligation. [In conclusion, due to the lack of ruling in the Shulchan Aruch and Poskim, although teaching children to swim has Talmudic reference, it is not legally binding on the father. Nonetheless, as is the case with all matters of education, it is a moral duty of the parents to educate their children to avoid dangerous situations, and hence just as parents must teach their children how to cross the street, despite its lack of mention in Poskim, similarly they must teach their children how to swim if they will be around water. Perhaps this is included in the negative command of “Lo Saamod Al Dam Reiacha.”]


[1] Kiddushin 29a

[2] Kiddushin 30b

[3] Rashi Kiddushin 29a

[4] Binyan Tziyon 125

About The Author

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.