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Burdensome love!

Thursday, 4 November, 2021 - 11:24 pm

For the past few months my vision has been struggling, especially while I enjoy my ninety minutes or so of Torah study in the wee hours of the morning. Last week, I visited the local eye doctor and was expecting to hear that my vision deteriorated, instead the doctor shared with me that my current glasses were way stronger than they should’ve been, and it resulted with my eyes engaging in a battle with my glasses, hurting my vision. I got my new glasses yesterday and it seems to be working already.

In this week’s Torah portion, Toldos, we read about Esau and Jacob, beloved twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, each of whom chartered a different path for themselves and their descendants. Jacob and Esau couldn’t be different, yet Isaac saw the best in each of them, seeking to bless them each with a good and productive life and tried, to the best of his patriarchal ability, to be there for them as they traversed the journey of life. It’s not easy to be a parent, certainly not of such distinct children as Esau and Jacob, but it’s a gift to work with them individually, allowing them to be themselves, without overburdening them with the need to be carbon copies of us, their parents. Like my glasses saga, more isn't always better. 

We are told that “the kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways”. I find myself at times expecting my children to be me; to love Torah like I do, to enjoy socializing like I do, to be a foodie like I am and to be organized like I am. It’s unfair for them to have to live in the shadow of my unrealistic expectations. I need to learn from Isaac to see each of my children for their uniqueness, their strengths, their special personality, and appreciate their way of seeing the world. We can hope and pray for their spiritual and physical wellbeing, but we can’t dump our hopes on them, because that’s not parenting, just unhealthy parental projection.

If Isaac can cherish Esau, we can all cherish our kids!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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