Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Protecting Your Children -- Serve HaShem With Joy

I heard a cute story on a recording of a lecture by R' Yisroel Belsky this morning.  I also heard a horrifying story.  There was also a story that initially shocked me, then saddened me.

Here's the cute story: When R' Belsky was six or so, his mother showed him a cartoon from the Saturday Evening Post with two children each holding a large cluster of grapes.  One child was beaming with joy, the other crying and whining to his mother: "He... he... he got 23 grapes and I ONLY GOT 22! "  His mother intent, obviously, was to show how ridiculous it is to cry or to even notice such and "inequity" when you are yourself holding a fortune.  The obviousness of that message is clear to R' Belsky now, but the six year old edition was struck by the tragedy of the horrible injustice.

The moral: You can't affect how your children will process information.  The same input data will be understood completely differently by a child than an adult.  In fact, I heard R' Noach Weinberg (another recording, sigh) say we all understand the tragedy of even a precocious five year old who acts and thinks the same way when he is 10; it is the same tragedy if even a brilliant 65 year old thinks and acts the same when he is 70.  Life is growth and change; you can't and shouldn't expect your children to understand things they way you do.

Here's the horrifying story: a pre-1A/nursery school/preschool/whatever the current term in vogue for that setting was getting ready for their play Shabbos celebration.  The Shabbos Abba/Tati/Daddy and Ima/Mommy were chosen.  The Shabbos Abba stood up to make kiddush, then sat down, but his head in his hands, and cried "Oy... what a week I've had..."

The moral: children certainly do pick up on feelings and emotions.  They are affected deeply by them because they don't have the context of living experiences to put them into perspective.  R' Belsky quoted R' Moshe's famous vort to say that the reason we lost so many children last century was because of one simple statement, "ס'איז שווער צו זייַן אַ איד"/It's hard to be a Jew.  Children from a very young age pick up on our attitudes and feelings; both positive and negative.

Shocking story: R' Belsky's father had the zchus to daven with the Chafeitz Chaim for two years.  That's not the shocking part.  Here's the shocking part: that minyan struggled to get 10 each day.  Why?  The Chafeitz Chaim tended to daven slowly, so the minyan took at least five minutes longer than the other minyanim in town.  Why "at least"?  Sometimes the Chafeitz Chaim would speak for five or 10 minutes after davening.  People were busy!  Who has time to spend and extra five or even 15 minutes at shul in the morning!

Isn't that shocking?  A short video that includes a few seconds of the Chafeitz Chaim just walking was recently discovered and went viral.  People around the world have rushed to their computers just to see the face of the holy Chafeitz Chaim for a few seconds.  Imagine having he opportunity to hear him speak?  And to daven with him?  Yet, we are also still busy and often not looking to be able to daven with R' Fuerst and the many other chashuv rabbanim in our city.

R' Belsky grew up in a house filled with the joy of being Jewish with a father who modeled the behavior of looking for the best way to infuse his own life with spirituality and R' Belsky has grown into one of our g'dolei ha'dohr.  Just saying.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…