[This verse and following] deals in very clear language, so we may think, with the case of a wayward and defiant son… By the time the Mishna – – the collection of oral legal tradition--was codified around 200 C.E. -- the terminus ad quem of the development-- the ethos of the community had rejected the pattern. Yet it was a given of scripture. How did the Aggadah, the ethos of the community, deal with the Halakhah? What is for us clear language is for aroused sensibility far less clear, or perhaps is far clearer than we recognize. First the word "son" is attended to. Exactly when does that term apply? Its specificity indicates exclusion. A daughter is not mentioned but only a son. Carrying the principle of exclusion further, it must mean only during the period when he is not a man, that is, when he is a child. More than that, not when he is a minor, that is, before the age of 13 years and a day, but he is not yet obligated to the commandments. Hence this commandment is effective only during the boy's puberty. It is not necessary to examine in detail the process of definition by which the limitations involved in "glutton and drunkard" are arrived at; the further requirements that both parents--as the biblical text indicates--must lodge a complaint, and must be physically capable of bringing him before the elders, nor the composition of the court, and so on. (See Mishna Sanhedrin, chap. 8, paras 1-5). All that is necessary is to indicate that Aggadah, the sense of existence, has apparently provided fertile soil in which Halakhah – – the thicket of the law, to use that admirable phrase placed in Thomas More's mouth in A Man for All Seasons--may spring up to offer a hiding place even for the wayward son.
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