web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



‘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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
EyalGiladNaftali
BREAKING: Kidnappers/Killers of Naftali, Eyal and Gilad Killed in Shootout
Latest Indepth Stories
George Bush and Barack Obama

The big service ISIS is doing the West right now is checking Iranian power, just as the Sunni rebels inside Syria are keeping the Iranian agent Hezbollah in check, and just as the PLO is keeping Hamas in check, at least to some degree.

Cannabis Greenhouse

Research shows that high doses of marijuana can produce acute psychotic reactions, lower IQ in teens

donny pic

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Jewish Holidays' Guide for the Perplexed

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

More Articles from Ziona Greenwald
Lions-Gate-062014

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.

hitler comic book

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.

When the disproportion of terrorist acts committed by Muslims – and the resulting hordes cheering the carnage on the Arab street – lead clear-minded observers to conclude that jihadism is the dominant strain in the Islamic world, we are accused of painting with an unfairly broad brush, discounting the silent (and invisible) majority of Muslims who oppose violence and crave peace.

Ever since a light bulb went off in Yasir Arafat’s head and the idea of a Palestinian people was born, Israel has become known to the world as an “occupier.”

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: