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No, I'm Not Supermom

Do you ever look at another mom and marvel at how incredible she is? Do you wonder at the superpower that allows her to calmly take care of everyone and everything? I have an admission to make to you. I am not Supermom. You may have noticed that I haven’t written an article in the last few weeks, the weeks immediately surrounding the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover). I chose to host a beautiful festive holiday for family and friends even though that meant that I had no time or energy left to write the posts I love sharing with you. I couldn’t be a mom during Passover and also write about being a mom. I reached my limit. I am no Supermom, but I know I’m not alone.  It’s tempting to think that some moms out there do it all. It’s easy for us to look at others and imagine that they are coping with motherhood and accomplishing so much more than we are, but the truth is that none of us have superpowers. We are all limited in what we can do because we are all finite humans. We aren’t expected to accomplish monumental feats and skillfully keep all of life’s juggling balls balanced in midair at all times. God wants us to do our best as limited, finite people, not superheroes.

Similarly, this week’s Torah reading, Parshas Kedoshim (Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27), directs us to attain holiness, but not the holiness of angels, rather the messy, tumultuous holiness of human beings. “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, You shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) What comes to mind when you think of a holy person? Perhaps someone meditating on a remote mountaintop or a person praying in solitude in the woods? Is there a moment in your life when you felt holiness? Most likely, that holy moment was one of privacy, a peaceful time of quiet serenity. Yet that is not at all what the Torah (Five Books of Moses) asks of us. 

Although we may think that the path to holiness lies in solitude, the directive to be holy was given en masse, “to all the congregation of the children of Israel”.  Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1593) teaches that this mitzvah (commandment) was taught to the entire community together because God doesn’t desire us to be holy while apart from one another, but rather to strive for holiness while living together and interacting with each other. 

A father who has been asked the same question for the sixth time in two minutes may feel that he is lacking patience. A mother whose teenager relentlessly pushes every button may feel sudden anger. The parent who races from sunup to sundown wonders where his peaceful, calm nature has fled. Parents courageously coping with the challenges of family life day in and day out may feel less refined, even less holy than they did before having children, but that is only because we misunderstand the nature of holiness. Holiness isn’t the one time you achieve clarity and spiritual vision. Holiness lies in the myriad of times you struggle to bite your tongue when irritated, greet another with a smile even though you feel sad, choose to live with faith over fear, and speak calmly even when feeling anxious. We achieve holiness in the midst of our busy families and communities, not apart from them and not despite them. It’s easy to be patient, calm, joyous, faithful, serene, and holy before we have children, but those qualities can not be fully developed in solitude.

God doesn’t ask us to be holy on a mountaintop in peaceful isolation. He asks us to engage with each other yet still strive for holiness. He asks us to raise families, live in communities, and use the challenges inherent in family and social relationships to attain holiness. We won’t get it right all the time. We’re not Supermom or Superdad, simply human beings striving to grow within our full and busy lives, which is the true path to holiness.

This week’s article is dedicated to the memory of Mark Mordechai Peretz, 51. When Mark heard of the Hamas invasion on October 7, he raced in his car to try to save his daughter Maya who was at the Supernova music festival. Mark was murdered by Hamas terrorists. Maya survived and shared about her father, “He’s a person who has taken care of his family his whole life, his mother, his brothers, his cousins — anyone with a problem calls my dad first because he’s someone who knows how to solve everything,” I’m not just saying that — he didn’t just go out that morning to save me for no reason, that’s who he is, a person who saves everyone around him… My father was a protective man, he and my mother Nirit enveloped us our whole lives. Dad always took care of the three of us, we’d never return home to an empty house, he and Mom would always wait up for us. We would go to him with every problem or difficulty.

May Hashem avenge his death and give comfort to his family and all of Israel.


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