web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Choices


Family-logo

Share Button

In most homes, as women prepare to join the Seder (hopefully, somewhat rested), the anticipatory anxiety associated with the “P” word (pre-Pesach angst) is no longer. The cleaning, preparations, shopping and cooking are now a thing of the past. And finally, the Hagaddah’s legacy of yetzias Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) takes front stage.

When we think about the Israelite women in Egypt, the one phrase that stands out is quoted by the Talmud: “B’schar nashim tzidkoniyos shehayu b’oso hador nigalu Yisrael m’Mitzrayim — In the merit of the righteous women who were in that generation, Israel was redeemed from Egypt (Sotah 11b).” This expression reflects their character traits, devotion and commitment to Hashem and their people. The bottom line, it is about the choices they made.

What specific choices were thrust upon these women? And in what areas did they exemplify their righteousness?

According to the commentaries, one of the ways the Egyptians attempted to control the fertility rate of the Jewish people was to remove the men from their homes and house them in the fields. Their obvious reason was a fiscally rational one: Minimize the travel time for the slaves and you’ve created a longer workday. A secondary result, however, was that husbands and wives were not spending time together. To the women this was unacceptable. So, late at night, they risked their lives to go out to the fields and be with their husbands. And when Hashem saw their good intentions, He began to help them in small ways. When they drew water from the well, Hashem caused fish to breed in the cisterns. The women brought two pots to the field, one for cooking the fish and one for washing their husbands. While tending to their husbands, they spoke gently with inspiring words and offered strength and hope: “We won’t be slaves forever; we have Hashem’s promise.” Their encouraging words were backed by a purpose of the highest caliber. They chose to build the nation at this challenging juncture, in spite of their physical fatigue and emotional despair.

Then there were Yocheved and her daughter, Miriam (heads of the midwives guild), who were instructed by Pharaoh to kill the male babies even before they were born. Not only did they disobey the command, they further risked their lives by providing care for some of the babies and their families. And although Pharaoh was enraged by their disobedience and wanted revenge, Hashem intervened and they stayed safe.

A logical question begs asking: From what source did these women draw their strength to make such choices?

The Me’am Loez offers this explanation: “Vatirenah hameyaldos es ha-Elokim — The midwives feared G-d (Shemos 1:17).” Yocheved and Miriam risked their lives to save the unborn children, although halacha did not obligate them to. The choice they made was l’fnim meshuras hadin (beyond the requirement of the law). And that inner strength came from emulating the actions of their ancestor, Avraham Avinu. When Hashem instructed Avraham to bring his son, Yitzchak, as a sacrifice, Avraham did not question Hashem’s command; nor did he request clarification. He carried out Hashem’s will out of love and reached the pinnacle of his spirituality. And that inner strength for self-sacrifice became embedded in our spiritual DNA as a gift and as a legacy. It is that which allowed Yocheved and Miriam to stand up to Pharaoh, and it is that which potentially strengthens us to make choices that may, at times, seem daunting.

I wonder…While Pharaoh’s approach reflected an external threat to the nation, in preparing for the Seder, maybe one of our goals is to stand up to a different type of danger. I refer to an internal threat that sometimes hinders our family relationships: the words we speak and the choices we make.

Parents, who are disappointed or frustrated with their teenager’s behavior, dress or lifestyle choices, may come to the Seder harboring ill feelings toward that particular child. And when criticism, put downs, yelling and other negative behaviors become the focus, the purpose of the night often becomes compromised and so does the relationship.

We recite a passage in the Haggadah inviting strangers who are hungry to join us in eating (“kol dichfin yesei v’yechol”). Perhaps we can extend the meaning of the paragraph by viewing the child in his current lifestyle as a “stranger” to his family’s values. We can then choose to invite him into our hearts – with love, compassion and acceptance. Perhaps then the stranger within him may diminish its hold on his neshama.

To my readership, May Hashem give strength to you where it is needed, and may you enjoy a Chag Kosher V’sameach.

Debbie Brown is a certified life coach specializing in parent coaching, and is an NLP Master Practitioner. She is available for private, confidential phone coaching sessions as well as lectures and group workshops. For further information or to express feelings regarding the Parental Perspective topic, Debbie may be contacted at lovetoughcoach@aol.com.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Choices”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Who will he take to the dance?
It’s Prom Time, and Abbas Must Choose a Dance Partner – Israel or Hamas
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Debbie Brown
Family-logo

Having parented a struggling adolescent for several years, Yael was expecting that life would be different for her now twenty-year old son. She was, and still is, an excellent student, diligently applying the tools she has been gaining in our coaching sessions. Harmony and peace has returned to her home, and the relationship (with her son) she was working on mending has become a reality. Admittedly, she attributes the restored relationship to a parenting methodology she has undertaken — the love-tough approach.

Family-logo

Toxic Language Tishrei — and the yom tov pattern returns! Of which pattern am I speaking, you ask? If we were to identify the main aspects of each of the holidays during this month, generally speaking, and in rather simplistic behavioral terms, the pattern of the night and following day might look something along the […]

Recently, I asked a family friend, a financial advisor, to share with me his perspective on the importance of rapport in the world of sales. In a general way, I knew that successful salespeople maintain good rapport with their clients. And so I was curious. Was the need for developing rapport in business any different than doing so in a parent-child relationship? To that end, I posed the following questions: “How do you establish rapport with a new client? And what do you believe is a key issue to creating rapport?

A political figure refuses to comment on a current news story in which he is involved.. In the hope of avoiding a scuffle with her parents, a teenager, who has broken curfew, quietly opens up the front door. As she makes a mad dash to her room, she tries to avoid being noticed and questioned. In both situations, a lack of communication may be perceived as failure on the part of the individual to take responsibility for his/her actions, and/or an admission of guilt. In such cases when the person does not say yes, the message being conveyed to others can be perceived as noby default, and vice versa.

The Meaning of The Communication Is The Response It Elicits

In most homes, as women prepare to join the Seder (hopefully, somewhat rested), the anticipatory anxiety associated with the “P” word (pre-Pesach angst) is no longer. The cleaning, preparations, shopping and cooking are now a thing of the past. And finally, the Hagaddah’s legacy of yetzias Mitzrayim (exodus from Egypt) takes front stage.

What does it mean to be validated? In what areas of life can one expect to be validated? What attitude, behaviors or actions convey a message (or feeling) to someone that s/he is being validated? How does one validate, or invalidate? What benefits are there to validating and being validated – in the short term as well as long term?

In the first two parts of this four-part series, we discussed the need to validate someone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. Utilizing a Rabbinic illustration, we presented the story of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai when he sat shivah for his son. The focus was on his receiving consolation: why he received comfort from his one student, Rav Elazer ben Aruch, and not from his other four students. Now let us move to a Biblical backdrop as we continue.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/choices/2010/03/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: