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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cross-Dressing with your Spouse is Confusing your Kids!

Daf Yomi Chagigah 6

The Goldzweigs were always there in shul on Shabbos morning.  Through sleet and snow, you could always count on them – shul on Shabbos was an important part of their weekly routine. 

But then something happened.  Samantha decided that she should be there at the start of the service – after all, she loved davening and didn’t want to miss a thing – and that Dave would get the kids ready and come a little later. 

Well, it worked the first couple of weeks.  But then Dave and the children started coming later and later until after a month, they simply stopped coming.

Rabbi Zaira asks: Who is required to bring a child to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festival?
Abaye responds: His mother is required to bring him to Jerusalem, for she is obligated in the mitzvah of ‘festive joy.’  From Jerusalem to the Temple, if he (is weaned and) can ascend holding his father’s hand, he is obligated to ascend.  If not, he is exempt. 

In traditional Judaism, men and women have different roles.  Both are vital to sustaining Judaism and so when women want to do the men’s roles or vice versa, the system breaks down.

To achieve any goal in life, you need two elements: passion and discipline.  You need to be excited to get up in the morning and work towards your goal, but you also need to be disciplined to ensure that you get there in a systematic fashion.  In Judaism, these two notions are called: love and fear.   If your relationship with the Almighty is only a ‘love’ relationship, then you will inevitably become lax in your spiritual service.  Along with the passion, you need the fear or discipline to make sure that you are always on target for your spiritual goals.

The role of the mother, says the Talmud, is to instill in her children the joy and love of Judaism.   She has the responsibility of the long and arduous journey of ‘bringing them to Jerusalem,’ by infusing their lives with passion for our heritage.  The father then takes the child by the hand to the Temple – bringing him to synagogue, a place of awe and reverence, where he disciplines his child to serve G-d faithfully and fearfully.

When these roles are confused, the tradition gets confounded and many children are abandoned from tradition.  The woman who insists on leaving the house at 8:45am on a Shabbos morning to get to shul for the start of the service will be very lucky if she sees hubby and kids any time that morning.   Men simply lack the necessary love and passion for our heritage that women innately have and often just can’t be bothered. 

Only once the mother has spiritually ‘weaned’ her child – she has inculcated the child with an all-embracing love for Judaism – is she ready to hand him over to the father who can discipline the child in the service of the Almighty.  Unless we imbue our children with both elements – the love and fear of G-d – we have failed to impart our heritage and it is small wonder so many of our dear kinderlach are tragically drifting away.

You and your spouse are partners in the transmission of our heritage!  Each partner brings an important element to the family and you can’t afford to ignore either aspect.  Your kids must love their Judaism!  But they must also be taught that, just like anything of value in life, spirituality requires discipline and awe.  You must both strive to imbue your kids with both love and fear.  But they need the unique ingredients that each of you brings to the family dynamic!

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