web analytics
August 1, 2015 / 16 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


‘And A Little Child Shall Lead Them’


Front-Page-062113

* * * * *

This year, for the first time, my husband and I decided to make our own sedarim at home. On one hand, I was saddened at the prospect of observing this pivotal ritual with no grandparents or extended family around us to share it with. On the other hand, I was excited to pave our own path and make a Seder centered on our children and their abilities and needs. I did not want my doubts and mixed emotions to rub off on our kids (who are used to being with their grandparents for the sedarim), so I tried to be positive and drum up as much excitement as possible about everything from kadesh to nirtzah, and the chance to truly make the Seder our own.

It worked. When the time finally came for setting the table (which my son was itching to do from the moment he awoke), preparing the Seder plate, and planning how to arrange and incorporate each of children’s myriad projects, the Yom Tov spirit filled our small apartment. The circle of inspiration ran from us to our kids and from them right back to us.

Today, as my kids and I came through the front door after the afternoon pickup, laden with knapsacks and jackets, my son remonstrated with me, “Mommy, you didn’t kiss the mezuzah!” “My hands were full,” I protested. “Just do this,” he said, pursing his lips and sounding a small kiss. Of course! And a little child shall lead them.

It is not our children’s job to teach us; “V’shinantam l’vanecha” is the sacred obligation of parents. But dipping into our children’s wellspring of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn furthers not only our own spiritual development but theirs as well. To succeed as parents, we need more than the right words and techniques – we need to be the kind of people, the kind of Jews, we want them to grow into. To do that, we need all the inspiration we can get. Even from our own offspring.

In a way, children personify “na’aseh v’nishma” – they do even though they don’t yet understand. They embrace mitzvos whose underpinnings and complexities are far beyond their (let alone our) ability to comprehend – tzitzis, basar v’chalav, muktzah, arbah minim. And they do so with happiness.

We adults could all use more na’aseh v’nishma in our lives. In other words, more trust that God has His reasons and that if we follow the path He laid out for us, things will work out. That does not mean a surcease of questions. Who, after all, asks more probing questions about Hashem and His ways than children? Rather, the goal is to continually renew our acceptance of Torah and our commitment to grow as we go.

And how to do that? Here again, our kids can teach us a thing or two. As much as we emphasize the value of school, they know instinctively that you learn best by doing. Books and shiurim have much to offer, but if the messages are not put into practice, they evaporate like fog. It’s like a professor of mine used to say, “Show, don’t tell.” So when I encourage my children to make berachos and they don’t hear me saying them, what are they really learning? If I cut in line or rush through bentching or speak lashon hara or disrespect Shabbos, my children will, consciously or not, disregard their formal teachings as merely heuristic constructs.

When our kids seem to be tuning out our lectures, they’re reminding us that the most powerful teaching tool we have is not our words but our actions. Our conduct is what defines us.

There is much corruption in the Orthodox Jewish world. Sex abuse scandals, embezzlement schemes, feuds and schisms between competing groups – it’s enough to make one cry out: Is this what we have to show for ourselves? But then we look at the children, at how their true, simple faith shines. No political calculations, no apologia. No constantly looking over their shoulders to take the pulse of the people. What a refreshing contrast! It’s enough to awaken the hearts of even the most disillusioned. And a little child shall lead them.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘And A Little Child Shall Lead Them’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Matt Lee of the Associated Press at the State Department press briefing.
ObameDeal Exposed: It’s not ‘Secret’ from Congress but not in Writing
Latest Indepth Stories
Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

Schwartz-073115

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

Rabbi YY Rubinstein

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Tobin-073115

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

Cavalier analogies to the Holocaust are unacceptable, but Huckabee’s analogy was very appropriate.

Pollard was a Jewish-head-on-a-pike for all American Jews to see and to learn the explicit lesson.

If the Iran deal passes, Obama’s WH becomes world’s leading financier of terrorism against Americans

More Articles from Ziona Greenwald
Front-Page-071715

Some hard-core Israelis and would-be olim believe there is no life for the Jewish people outside of Israel, period.


Numbers permeate our culture,not advanced mathematics but snapshot stats that provoke snap judgments

The Lion’s Gate takes us from the dawn of the state in 1948, through intervening battles, to the lead-up to June 1967, and finally through the harrowing six days of fighting.

Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.

Geller, a mother of five who made aliyah from Monsey last year, offers a glimpse – with lots of photos – into her busy family life.

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then children’s eyes are the window to the Almighty Himself.

It is ten o’clock in the morning. I am at a local park with my daughter. A number of children are climbing and sliding, imbibing the fresh air. In their orbit are a smaller number of women, some milling around on foot, others sitting on the benches conversing and minding strollers. Trailing my own child, I play a silent game: Who is a Mommy? Which, if any, of these women (who range from lovingly attentive to disturbingly disengaged) are the children’s mothers, and which are babysitters?

We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/and-a-little-child-shall-lead-them/2013/06/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: