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The Power of a Child's Trust

As a tired teenager I remember wondering how I would possibly handle sleepless nights with infants once I became a mother.  The idea that I could (semi) function on months of interrupted sleep seemed impossible.Years later, after two decades of mothering, I still occasionally face parenting challenges that leave me questioning my capability and wondering how I am going to achieve the impossible. The answer lies in this week’s Torah portion, Parshas B’haaloscha (Numbers 8:1-12:16). In the wilderness the Jewish people confronted Moshe (Moses) and demanded meat. Moshe’s subsequent conversation with Hashem (God) reveals an astounding parenting truth.

Why have you afflicted your servant and why have I not found favor in your sight, that you place the burden of all the people upon me? Did I conceive this entire people or did I give birth to it, that you say to me, ‘Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father carries the sucking child, to the land which thou hast sworn to their fathers?’

Moshe’s argument is quite simply that he isn’t the nation’s mother or father and therefore can’t care for them alone. The obvious corollary is that if he had given birth to them, he would be able to acquire meat for millions of people in the wilderness! How can that be?

The Seforno (Rabbi and Torah teacher in Italy, 1475-1549) explains to us that the power of a parent lies in a child’s complete trust in his parents and that reliance itself empowers parents to fulfill that trust. Moshe was saying that if only the Jewish people trusted in him as an infant trusts its father and mother, he would be able to provide their needs, but since they don’t rely on him to the extent a child depends on its parents, he can’t care for them as a parent would.

A mother gets out of bed for the third time in one night because her baby is relying on her for nourishment and comfort. A father works late into the night because his children depend on him for their food and home. Without children depending on them, parents wouldn't have the strength, patience, courage, or fortitude to act as parents.

When a mother tells her child that she will kiss their bruise to make it feel better, she is telling the truth.  When a father tells a child not to worry because he is keeping them safe, it is true.  The Biblical parenting lesson from Parshas B’haaloscha is that our children’s reliance on us is exactly what empowers us to be able to do far more than we ever thought possible in caring for them. To the extent that our children depend on us, we can care for them.

Misguided parents sometimes feel uncomfortable with their children’s dependence on them, physically or emotionally. They may feel relieved when a child gets help from another adult or turns to a friend for solace and support rather than relying on their parents. The uncomfortable truth is that a parent can only care for a child who seeks care from that parent. Instead of bemoaning our children’s reliance on us, we should be grateful for it. When our children believe that we are the answer to their problems, we actually become empowered to provide that answer.

You may have noticed that I didn’t post an article last week. One of my beloved family members is very sick and I have been spending a significant amount of time helping my family through this challenging period. If my articles don’t appear as regularly as they did previously, you will know why.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Nurit Berger, 59. Nurit was a daughter, sister, wife, and mother to four beautiful daughters. She was brutally murdered in her home in Netiv Ha’asara on October 7 by Hamas terrorists. May her memory be for a blessing and may her family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

I develop the theme of this article theme more fully in the following video course.

I strongly recommend it for deeper understanding and practical suggestions for parents!

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23 de jun.
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Such a powerful and important message for parents to hear!


21 de jun.
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

A very beautiful and important concept.

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