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March 27, 2015

Parenting moments

by Rabbi Dovid Felt

Most of what we do as parents comes down to those few (maybe not so few) precious moments when we have an interaction with our child that will remain with them for life. If only we can plan those moments. Pesach is one such time that not only is already set in our calendar but the Torah has given as the curriculum, lesson plan and the tools to deliver a number of parenting moments. It is there for the taking.

The Torah in this weeks Parsha tells us about the fire on the Mizbeach “Aish Tamid… Lo Tichbeh” It shall be an everlasting fire… don’t extinguish it” The Kohanim were instructed to make sure the fire on the Mizbeach never went out. The Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 133) tells us that the presence of the fire was a miracle yet the kohanim were charged to add fuel so that it should not appear on the surface as one. The  Sefer HaChinuch continues to tell us that the essence of this Mitzvah is to teach us that while HKBH does many miracles for us it is done in a way to minimize them so that they should not appear as obvious miracles.

We see this idea at the splitting of the sea. While it was clear that it was one of the biggest miracles in history the Possuk (Shmos14:21)  tells us that Hashem moved the sea with a strong east wind all night. In fact there is an article I saw on the Washington Post’s website entitled “No, really: There is a scientific explanation for the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus”. Hashem purposely introduced unusually strong winds so that there should be some doubt about the incredible miracle of the splitting of the sea.  It is our job says R’ Chaim Shmulevitz to uncover the truth about HKBH’s involvement in the greatest miracle of all, the immortality of the Jewish people.

Our goal over Pesach is to help our children uncover this very truth. When we frame the Seder night as another link in the chain of the continuity of the Jewish people we set the stage for them to connect and become a part of that chain. For Jewish parents this becomes a parenting moment where we are able to give over our values and beliefs in a way that it becomes their discovery.

Felt Tips

For me one of the most poignant moments of the Seder night is during the meal when the family sits around and recounts the miracles that happened over the course of the past year. As the Haggadah tells in “Vehi Sheomdah” For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!

I will always remember how a Rebbi of mine, a Holocaust Survivor told us that at the Seder night he would dress in his labor camp work clothes and recount the miracles that happened to him during war. I always wished I could be there at his Seder table. We have a great opportunity to really make this years Seder night into a fantastic parenting moment.

Have a Chag Kosher VeSameach

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