12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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An Ode to Women    

An Ode to Women

Where do they get all their strength from? The biggest macho bodybuilder couldn't last one day doing everything that the average mom at home raising her small children does...


Basic training in the IDF taught me how to use a rifle, advanced training taught me how to use a rifle as a pillow, but none of the challenges I faced was enough to prepare me for being a Dad.  Since being married nearly three years ago I’ve mentioned to my wife dozens of times that women are tougher than men. I don’t know how you all do it.
What amazes me however is the resilience of my wife and that of women in general. Where do you all get your strength?  Sleepless nights, sick crying babies, while still managing cooking for holidays, Shabbat and looking nice.  You are all unbelievable and deserve great credit, because honestly; us guys, though we may have been in the army, we can lack the strength that you have in raising our children.
Most men can’t do a thing without first eating a decent breakfast with some coffee; telling them to do anything before that can break some of the biggest macho men. Women on the other hand, WOW.  Breakfast or not, coffee or not, you are the true commandos of life.  You care for the future and develop the souls of our most pure; our children, the future carriers of Judaism. But it’s not an easy job…
Take my sister in-law Yafit. At the age of 30, she had landed a great job amongst one of the most prestigious banks in Israel. The honor and excellent pay gave her strength and confidence, but now she is a mother of three trying to stay at home.  Instead of corporate prestige, she is up to her ears with dirty diapers, questions and dilemmas.  Dealing with sick kids, and taking her kids to the emergency room have all been part of the game.
Despite living in her beautiful apartment in Modi’in she can’t relax, and feels at times that she is trapped.  She gave up the corporate ladder for the youngsters, but was it worth it? Although she would like to have a job again, she feels so attached that she doesn’t see herself going back to work.
Life became the same old routine over and over for her.  Like many women, being a mother was drowning her of happiness, despite the great love she felt for the children.
That was until she read the Garden of Wisdom by Rabbi Shalom Arush which described Rabbi Nachman’s command: DON’T BE OLD!  It’s disease! This is in regard to the thoughts of “That’s it, I can’t change it. My life is destined to be like this always...” Even a young person in their twenties can suffer from being old.  Once we are in this mind frame, the evil inclination has taken hold and puts a person in depression. “I’ll never change... There’s no hope for me... I’m stuck... Lost for good... That’s it!”  Rav Arush says that if there’s anything that can stop a person it’s the constant dwelling on the past.
When Yafit read these words in Rabbi Arushs’ Garden of Wisdom, she knew that she needed help. She read further on to see the solution. Rabbi Nachman says that we need to say, “WAIT A MINUTE! What am I talking about? I’m doomed? Whatever! I am going to act as if I was just born today! Whatever happened previously is history and not relevant. I was born now!”
Once you do that, the evil thoughts are destroyed.  After a while your evil thoughts might come back, but so what, you now have the key: I am starting from this moment now… Done- you have disarmed the evil impulse. You are starting now. Only by starting anew can you win.
Since then she has gone on to read the Garden of Education twice cover to cover. She worried that all the stress of being a mother could affect her kids. Sometimes we do everything for our kids: cooking, laundry and baths etc. but are not truly connecting with their lives with a smile. So when she read that it is our job to work on the trait of happiness, she got a new job. When children see their parents living with a true smile it glows the little ones’ soul. Naturally they want to be like their mommy and daddy. No kid will want to keep Torah if their parents are frowning and complaining all the time.
To this day, there are still challenges for Yafit, but she is well equipped with spiritual knowledge from Rav Arush's books. It doesn’t take a lot of time, just a mere opening of the book randomly will provide gems of advice for the present moment. But the key to success in anything is to think:
I am starting from this moment now.

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