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On this past Mother’s Day, my thoughts were with all the agunahs and Single Moms who are raising their children while dealing with ex-husbands who have abandoned their own by not paying child support, yeshiva tuition and other financial needs of their children.
To these Moms everywhere: Bear in mind that our former marriages were not mistakes – they had a noble purpose: to bring precious neshamos into the world!
These children, Hashem’s miracles, have a virtuous mission in this world. And while it is tempting to resent our exes, we have at least, with Hashem’s help, had children from them. Even though it is a constant struggle to provide for their basic needs, let’s withhold the self-pity and view our offspring as a gift rather than a burden chas v’shalom.
Let the good moments our children provide us with wash over us: an A+ grade once in a while; a pretty picture made especially for you, Mom; the small gift they lovingly present you with; a kiss, a hug, a tender moment; a smile and the simple thank you in a show of sincere appreciation for something nice you’ve given or done for them.
These are the instances to focus on. And so, in reality, Every Day is Mother’s Day. Let us dwell on these priceless moments during frustrating times as Single Moms.
Also, to those of us who have lost our own Moms – instead of experiencing sadness, let’s recall all that our Moms have taught us and shared with us… that have made us the Moms we are today!
But, alas, I do have one message for the Ex Husbands/Deadbeat Dads: Remember when you once loved your wives enough to want to bring a child into the world? Why not work on vanquishing your ill feelings toward your ex, the mother of your child(ren)? Just think of the gift Hashem gave you in bestowing upon you the capacity to produce a child, to make this world a better place.
Help him/her achieve that special goal by living up to your responsibility. Follow the Ethics of Our Fathers (Pirkei Avos) that you learn every Shabbos afternoon during this season – by providing for your child’s needs. Don’t allow your loved ones to suffer for no reason!
A concerned and loving Single Mom
Dear Loving Single Mom,
Though your sensibly voiced sentiments arrived on the heels of the officially declared secular holiday of Mother’s Day, which has come and gone for this calendar year, this is as appropriate a time as any to take your poignant words to heart. For, Baruch Hashem, Mother’s Day for us is indeed every day. (At the top of the list of exalted mitzvos we are commanded to observe is the one that calls upon us to respect and honor our parents.)
Your letter also serves to remind us that in our society today single mothers who often fill the role of both mom and dad run many households. What better time than now (when we’ve turned a new page in the Book of Life and hope to have begun the new year with a clean slate) to remember the Single Mom and alleviate her loneliness by inviting her with her children to luxuriate in the warmth of our brightly lit sukkah, to share in the togetherness of our family seudah.
When a guest appeared at the home of a feeble and ailing R. Chaim Ozer on the holiday of Sukkos, the rebbe expressed his regrets at not being able to join his visitor in the sukkah. To the surprise of his guest, it wasn’t long before R. Chaim Ozer entered the sukkah, despite his earlier assertion.
The rebbe explained that though his debilitating physical state exempted him from the mitzvah of sukkah, he was not absolved of heeding the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim. And to properly fulfill the mitzvah, he was obliged to see to his visitor’s comfort and ample accommodation – making it necessary for him to access the sukkah.
How great is the mitzvah of hachnosas orchim! What a meritorious way to begin the New Year! How apropos to show our gratitude to Hashem by displaying the midos of concern, caring and compassion – precisely which we pray and hope for from Him! May our good deeds stand us in good stead.
A G’mar Tov and a happy Sukkos holiday to one and all!