13 Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Soferim 18Minor Tractate
On the day when R. Eleazar b. ‘Azariah was appointed head of the academy, he began his discourse by saying: Ye are standing this day all of you … your little ones, your wives, the men came to listen, the women came to receive a reward for their journey, but why did the little ones come? That a reward may be given to those who bring them. From this the young daughters of Israel learnt the practice of coming to the Synagogue so that a reward may be granted to those who bring them while they would [in due course] also receive their reward. In childhood one is subject neither to reward nor punishment.
Notes and References
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