A little known rabbi named Phacesius the Pharisee, occasionally furnished facts of Pharisaic fare to his followers. Fortunately, one of those followers Gulibal had enough foresight to write down these reflections for future generations.
Although it is not certain, Gulibal believed that Phacesius played a key role in the argument when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 23.
Knowing that you desire to train your children to live well, I am passing on these five tips from Phacesius.
The most significant duty of a Pharisee parent who desires to raise little Pharisees is this simple rule: “Do as I say, not as I do.” There is no rule that carries as much power as this one. This is the seed of Phariseeism that grows into a great large tree that will carry on the traditions for generations to come.
At all costs, teach your little Pharisee this key: “Guard your public image.” What others think of him is everything. Remember that his image affects your image as his parent. I cannot repeat this concept often enough: he must always shine on the outside. Teach him to keep up his polish, to sound intelligent even when he has nothing to say, and to wear the clothes that communicate that he is better than the sin-stained public.
This third tip is a nuance of Pharisaism that many older Pharisees have not yet mastered. If you can help your little ones master this, they will stand out in any Pharisaic crowd. Here it is: “Avoid rule priorities.” Make every rule just as important as the next. Use the same punishment for everything. Show your displeasure equally whether he has spilled the milk or told a lie. Treat everything with the same severity. When he is older, he will be able to halt any discussion by introducing the most trivial rule. His focus on detail will prevent major changes from occurring in high circles of influence. This will help assure the place of Pharisees for years to come.
“Emphasize the visible; ignore the invisible.” This principle will teach your little Pharisee to think practically. If he can’t see it, if he can’t understand it, then it will not be important to him. Point out the foolishness of those who discuss abstract things like faithfulness, justice, or mercy. These are things that the prophets spoke of. Make sure he knows what happened to the prophets. He will get the point.
Teach him this platitude: “Never be caught serving.” It is totally beneath our dignity as Pharisees. People serve us; we do not serve them. Teach him to notice those who are people of influence and to get as close to them as possible. Make sure that he lets them know how important he is. That is the key to climbing the ladder of power.
Gulibal encouraged his followers to read Matthew 23 as a way to see the other side of the argument between Jesus and Phacesius. You might do well to do the same.