Daf Yomi Kiddushin 79
Whenever Batya and I travel between Canada and the US, if one of us is not travelling we must provide a notarized letter giving permission to the other to cross the border with the kids. Most of the time we’re pretty good about remembering well in advance, but sometimes we forget. On one such occasion, Batya arrived at customs with baby Jamie-Anna in the stroller and five-year-old Joey (Sarah Joar) tagging along beside her. Just as she reaches the front of the line, she realizes she’s forgotten to prepare the letter.
“Oh no!” she thinks to herself, “Gam zu l’tovah, this too is for the good. I’m sure things will be fine.”
The customs officer asks her for the letter and she sheepishly replies that she doesn’t have one. He takes Joey’s passport, looks at her and asks, “Sarah?”
Now, here’s the problem. We don’t call her Sarah. We call her by her nickname, Joey. And even on the odd occasion she’s been addressed by her real name, all she’s ever heard is ‘Suh-ruh,’ as opposed to the officer’s southern-sounding ‘Sehh-ra!’
Batya begins to panic. She knows Joey won’t respond; she doesn’t even turn to look at the officer! It doesn’t help that Batya’s passport still has her maiden name, either. So here she is, Batya Ivry, travelling with some kids called Friedman, who don’t know their own names!
“I told him not to give them nicknames!” she mutters under her breath.
Meanwhile, Joey still hasn’t turned around. Instead, she goes all shy and starts clinging to Batya’s leg.
“Clearly this is your mommy,” says the officer, “Does your daddy know you’re going on an airplane today?”
Joey looks up and proudly answers, “Yeah! He’s coming on Sunday!”
And Batya gives a big smile.
Mishnah: If a man went overseas with his wife and then returned with his wife and children, and says, ‘This is the same wife that I left for overseas with and these are her children,’ he is not required to provide proof, neither for the wife nor for the children.
Raba bar Rav Huna taught: As long as we see that the children are attached to her.
Rashi explains: They are clinging to her.
When a child clings to a mother, that’s all the proof you need of maternity. You don’t need notarized letters. You don’t need overseas witnesses. You don’t even need a DNA test. It’s clear who the mother is, because the bond between mother and child is deeper than any physical, tangible connection. The bond is emotional, psychological, spiritual, biological.
If that’s the bond between a parent and a child, imagine the depth and strength of the bond between our Father in Heaven and His children. He loves each and every one of us with His infinite love. But what’s most striking about the bond between a parent and a child is that it’s most apparent when the child automatically clings to the parent. When that happens, there are no questions as to the nature of their relationship.
It goes without saying that the Almighty loves us, but what’s our default position? When we need to fall into the comfort zone, do we fall into our Father’s embrace? Do we cling to Him when we don’t know where else to turn?
The way to make it your default position is to cleave to our Father in Heaven through the good times and the bad. To invite Him into every facet of your life. Talk to Him constantly, not only during set prayer times. Talk to your kids and grandchildren, nephews and nieces, about Him. Let them know that Hashem cares for them and loves them deeply no matter where their religious observance may be at.
A parent never forsakes a child. A parent never stops loving a child. Mortal parents may sometimes appear to reject a child; but they’re simply trying to hide their own misgivings. G-d has no misgivings. He loves you no matter what. He loves every one of His children equally. He has no favourites. He needs no notarized letter. He will always be there for you, through thick and thin.
When you know that you can always fall into your Father’s warm embrace, nothing deters you. Nothing stops you from achieving your dreams. You’ll never hesitate to look the skeptics in the eye and declare, “Of course my Parent knows about this trip. He’s right along with me every step of the way! Even if the plane hits some turbulence along the way, I know that Father is sitting right beside me holding my hand through the storm.”
Minhag Yisrael Torah Hi – "The Jewish people's customs are like the Torah." When we pass through ‘customs,’ we get to flash our Divine NEXUS card that says we are the Almighty’s children. Every one of His children is beloved like a Sefer Torah to Him. Dad loves you more than you could ever imagine. Cling to him, don’t be shy. May you build a two-way relationship, one in which you forever appreciate and warm yourself in the embrace of His incredible love!