Photo Credit: Jodie Maoz

In the middle of our Purim seudah a few years ago, a Fedex truck pulled up outside our home. The poor delivery guy didn’t know what to make of what he saw, but he handed the package to someone before making a hasty retreat.

I was handed the package which contained a special shalach manos from a regular listener of my Torah Anytime lectures, with an enclosed note of appreciation. It was not only touching but also very encouraging. I feel fortunate to post divrei Torah each week. However, it was extra special to receive such a sentiment of appreciation.


On March 24, 2016, the Chicago Tribune published an article entitled “Parents are bursting with pride; kids aren’t hearing it,” authored by Heide Stevens. Stevens notes that although the vast majority of parents say they’re proud of their children, that message isn’t being adequately conveyed to their children.

She notes that we shouldn’t assume our kids know we’re proud of them, especially when our children enter the “higher-conflict ages” of pre-adolescence and adolescence.

Stevens reminds us that our children benefit from process-oriented praise, rather than outcome-oriented praise; in other words, to highlight the effort, rather than the results. When we praise our children for insignificant things it’s meaningless and they learn to ignore it.

So why are we guilty of not conveying our deep feelings to the ones we love the most and spend the most time with? Perhaps it’s exactly that; we neglect to express our feelings, because we always can. The problem is that when we always can we often never do!

The Arizal famously explained that the word “Pesach” is a contraction of two words “Peh Sach” – a soft mouth. One of the greatest challenges of exile is the inability to express oneself. A lowly slave has no rights to be heard and cannot assert himself. An important component of redemption is the ability to recognize one’s internal value and the feeling that what one says or does matters.

Thus, at the Seder we ‘open our mouths’ and let the words flow ceaselessly – words of praise, words of prayer, words of gratitude, and words of hope. For over two centuries we were muted by persecution and brutal servitude. Conversely, on the night of redemption we utilize our freedom of expression and in doing so demonstrate the extent of our freedom.

On the night, and holiday, when we celebrate our ability to express our deepest thoughts and feelings, and we give a voice to all our pent-up emotions, we must not forget to express our deepest feelings to those who mean the most to us.

As we sit at the Seder and try to control ourselves from becoming annoyed by the endemic whining, kvetching, and often quarreling, we need to take a moment to step back and appreciate all of our blessings. But beyond that, we must express it! If we are blessed with children, a spouse, siblings, parents, or grandparents, it is a holiday dedicated to saying the things we never say, or don’t say enough. We must tell our children how proud we are of their real accomplishments, we have to tell our spouses how much we appreciate them, and we have to thank our parents and grandparents for all they have done for us.

Such expression deepens our appreciation for each other, and further connects us to each other so that we can continue to appreciate the blessings Hashem bestows upon us constantly.


Previous articleIndia Police Arrest 2 Jewish Women for Tearing Down Pro-Hamas Poster
Next articleRet. IAF Commander Warns Iran Has Declared War on Israel
Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, is a popular speaker and author as well as a rebbe in Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, NJ. He has recently begun seeing clients in private practice as part of the Rockland CBT group. For appointments and speaking engagements, contact 914-295-0115 or [email protected]. Archives of his writings can be found at