Monday, July 27, 2009

Fully Enjoying Our Children

[a special moment]

For many people, one of their greatest sources of happiness in life is their children. Through our children, we feel that some part of us will live on after we have left this world. Through our children, we feel that we are accomplishing something truly worthwhile and important. We are creating something new and wonderful.

In reality, however, we ourselves are our most important children.

The Midrash Breishis Rabbah 30:6 (quoted by Rashi on the Torah Genesis 6:9) states “the main progeny of the righteous are their good deeds”.

The midrash is teaching us that although Noah was the ancestor of all living humans, nevertheless, his good deeds were his most important offspring.

When we merit having a child and we care for him and educate him properly and he follows the Torah’s commandments, this is certainly a huge accomplishment. We have succeeded in immensely increasing the glory of God in this world. Because of this we make a great celebration at a circumcision, bar mitzvah and wedding. Our children are very precious to us.

Sometimes, however, having children may take time. I myself waited twenty years for my first children to be born. Some people never have children at all. This can cause a great deal of anxiety.

We must always keep our priorities straight and remember – yes, children are important; however we are our most important child. Every time we observe one of God’s commandments we are increasing His glory in this world. Even if all people in the world would be descended from you, your main progeny are your good deeds.

[based on tape #105 from Rabbi Avigdor Miller obm]

1 comment:

Alex said...

From R' Twerski:

"It might be considered foolish to ask, “And what is the purpose of supporting oneself and a family?” However, it is a question which must be asked.

Rabbi Bunim of Peshis’cha said, “I see a person so totally engaged in earning a livelihood that he has little time to devote to his spiritual development. I ask him why he does not devote more time to spiritual pursuits. He says, ‘I wish I could, Rabbi. You see, I could get along with much lesser earnings. However, I must provide for my children, and that consumes virtually all my time and energy.’

“I understand that. However, when these children grow up, they undoubtedly will do the exact same thing. When asked why they neglect their spiritual development, they give the same answer: They must provide for their children. This is repeated generation after generation. Is there really an ultimate child who is the recipient of all the exertion of countless generations before him?”

Rabbi Bunim’s point is valid. Providing for the children is indeed an important goal, but it is nevertheless an intermediate goal. An ultimate goal has an end point and is not merely a link in an infinite progression."