11 Kislev 5781 / Friday, November 27, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
 
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Happy and Proud    

Happy and Proud



Despite losing their jobs for refusing to work on the Sabbath, those dedicated Jews showed their children that they were happy and proud to observe Hashem’s laws...

 



Rebbetzen Shaindel Moscowitz, the Melitzer Rebbetzen

 
Decisions for a Lifetime, Part 7
 
I was always very aware that although I could spout principles continuously to my children they were the ones who had to put them into practice without as yet understanding the beauty of this way of life. For this reason I made sure every so often to reward them, both with praise and something they wanted in order to give them a good feeling about what they were doing.
 
When I did reward my children I explained to them why they were getting the reward. Children do not have the maturity to understand the thoughts and motivations behind our actions and I wanted them to understand why they were being rewarded; (if they were as mature as we (hopefully!) are they wouldn't need parents).
 
 
How lucky we are to be Jewish and how beautiful a life we lead as Jews was a constant theme of mine. We certainly can feel happy and proud.
 
It has been well-documented that of the Jews that came to America at the turn of the twentieth century, 98% of their children did not remain observant. This was the time when people worked a six-day week with the day off being on Sunday. Taking Shabbos off was not tolerated and people who tried to keep Shabbos found themselves out of a job on a weekly basis.
 
Most of them would come home at the end of the week and lament "ess iz schver tsu zein ah yid" – "it is difficult to be a Jew" and this turned their children off to yiddishkeit; they wanted an easy life and if it was schver tsu zein ah yid it was not for them.
 
2% of the Jews were fortunate to see their children remain frum, and that was because, even as they lost their jobs every week they showed that they were happy that they were Jews, and that it was their good fortune to have the Shabbos and the mitzvos.
 
We must teach our children that it is a privilege and an honour to be a Jew and not a sacrifice; but for privileges one must sometimes be prepared to give up things that are not beneficial to us.
 
Above all else I was never apologetic about what I wanted my children to do; I instilled in them a pride that we were different – that we were Hashem’s chosen people.
 
Chinuch of children is a full-time job from first thing in the morning over-seeing that the children wash negel vasser with mummy's loving help, till last thing at night with kri'as shema and tucking the children up securely with a a kiss and a hug. True chinuch is very costly in time, ko'ach and even money; but if you make the effort the results far outweigh the cost.
 
These descriptions are not even the tip of the iceberg of the amount of work I put into my children's chinuch. But perhaps you can begin to understand from this why being a mother is actually a full-time job. It's not enough to wash, feed and clothe your children; far more important and time-consuming is the job of raising good, upright people.
 
Don't despair if you haven't quite done all this till now because it's never too late to start; it might not be as easy to accomplish as when your children were young but it can definitely be done, with patience, perseverance, love and understanding – but above all else – without force.
 
It's not wise though to introduce too many changes at the same time. It'll be too much for you and you will not be able to keep it up, and your children will not be able to tolerate too many drastic changes all at once. It's best to take one or two points, whichever you feel are the most important and doable, and start putting them into practice. When you are used to them and feel comfortable with them you can then introduce another practice; each time you have got used to the new practice you can introduce another one and slowly but surely your home will change.
 
It will not happen immediately but b'ezras Hashem with time you will see that your children will have absorbed the new ways and act that way as well – and THIS IS CHINUCH FOR LIFE; this will be how your children will grow up and live their lives – as good, ehrliche mentschen – wonderful upright people.
 
To be continued, G-d willing.




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