I am grateful to be able to be home with my children. With the ever changing world, I feel that they will be better prepared to adapt as a result of the skills that they’re learning while being home under my guidance. That said, there are times when I feel like I’m not doing enough. Sometimes, I see other parents and educators who are so creative, they post pictures of all of the wonderful projects and activities that they are doing with their children and students. Sometimes I think, I’m not that creative. Then I’m reminded by my husband, parents, in-laws, and others close to me, that I am doing a great job! I shouldn’t compare myself to other parents because I have my own strengths. I also gain satisfaction in knowing that my children are learning a lot!
Throughout the book of Devarim (Deuteronomy), and in other places in the Torah, Moshe reminds B’nei Yisrael (the children of Israel) to teach their children. We know that the home is the starting point for educating children. They learn so much from watching parents, other siblings, and even other adults. My children are learning about what it means to be Jewish because we live a Jewish life. We read the Parsha (weekly Torah reading) together in Hebrew and English. We talk about what happens in each one. We say brachot (blessings over food), and the Birchat Hamazon (blessing after eating food). We say our Morning prayers together. They help me make challah, which sometimes creates a mess of flour throughout our kitchen. My children join me by the table when I light the candles before Shabbat and Yamim Tovim (holidays). They love singing “Dip The Apple In the Honey” and “Tapuchim U’dvash” as we prepare for Rosh Hashanah. All of these things are so important!
As we approach Rosh Hashanah and begin a new year in the Hebrew calendar, I’m not the only one who is feeling a bit insecure about the way things are right now. Do we wear masks or not? Are we headed for another lockdown? What will be with the health of myself and my family and friends? If we are listening to and reading the news, what can we believe? The word בִּטָחוֹן bitachon, sometimes pronounced bitochon. Bitachon means security and bitochon means faith or trust. How do cope with all this insecurity? According to Rabbi Sacks, we cope by having faith. Faith gives us the courage to live during times of uncertainty. We’ve had to deal with insecurity from the moment when Avraham and Sarah were told to leave their homeland by Hashem. Our national anthem is Hatikvah (The Hope). Even after everything that we’ve been through, we never lost hope. We have faith that Hashem is with us; is guiding us. When we are able to put our faith in Hashem, it gives us incredible strength.
This time of the year is when Hashem and faith is so close to us. In order to survive and thrive during these challenging times, we must depend on that faith in Hashem. As Isaiah says “seek G-d where He is to be found and call on Him when He’s close.”
דִּרְשׁ֥וּ יְהוָ֖ה בְּהִמָּצְא֑וֹ קְרָאֻ֖הוּ בִּֽהְיוֹת֥וֹ קָרֽוֹב (Isaiah 55:6)
My hope to you is that we all use this time, beginning wit Rosh Hashanah to renew our faith and know that Hashem is in control and will help us through these challenging times. We will come out of this stronger and ultimately more united. Shana Tovah! May we be blessed with a year of good health, peace, success in our endeavors, and good things. May Hashem continue to be with us in the year ahead.