Three new fathers are sitting around discussing how they're going to rear their children.

"I'm going to tell him everything," says the first father. "I'm going to be there for him every step of the way. My father was one of those 'modern' parents with a 'follow your bliss' and 'don't mess with their minds' attitude. The first 25 years of my life were nothing but a series of mistakes (which was supposed to be a good thing — life's teachers and all that). Well, I made those mistakes, and learned something from some of them (mostly what not to do), so why should my son need to start all over from square one? And what's to guarantee that he won't fall off the edge before he has a chance to figure it out on his own? I'll tell him what's right and what's wrong, what works and what doesn't — that's what a father is for!"

"Not me," said father #2. "I want a son, not a puppet! I want to have brought another person into the world — not a replica of myself. If all he's going to do is be walked through life by daddy, what did my child need to be born for in the first place? I want my child to be his own person, to find his own way — even if there are blunders and painful experiences along the way. As for the possibility that he'll fail — well, that risk is there, but it's a risk that must be taken if a new human being is going to make a life for himself..."

"I'll tell him everything," said the third father. "But I won't tell him what it means. That'll be his job — working out what it means."

"You mean you'll give it to him in code? You'll tell him what to do, but he won't know what he's supposed to do until he cracks the code?"

"No, no. If I don't tell it so that he knows what to do, what's the point? That would be just like father #2, cutting his child loose in the wilderness to blunder about. I'll give him the code and the key. I'll teach him right and wrong. I'll explain to him the whys and hows of life. But I'll leave him room to grow. He'll do the right thing because I told him what to do, but he'll also sense that there's much more there — much more to understand, much more to give meaning to. He'll discover new truths, but they won't really be new, because they'd have been there all along, and they won't be new to him, either, because I'd have told them to him already, but they'll be completely new because he'll discover a new meaning, a new significance, a new way to make it work, a new pathway through life. And that pathway will be his own more than one he'd have forged on his own, because a self-made path would only be his, and this one is both his and true."

"Now that's the most convoluted speech I've ever heard," exclaimed the first father. "You're all mixed up."

"No," said the second father. "He's got it all figured out."

The third father is G‑d. And that all-mixed-up, all-figured-out document is the Torah He presented to us when He became a father at Mount Sinai.