There is a famous verse in Mishlei, the book of Proverbs, that instructs us to “listen to the discipline of our fathers, and not to forsake the Torah of our mothers.” Clearly, the way a father teaches his children is different than the method of a mother. I want to share some insight into a mother’s Torah that highlights our strengths as women, and maybe will give us some inspiration this Shabbos.
The “discipline of our fathers” is easy to define. The father teaches a great deal to his child: what to do, what not to do. How to practice Judaism, how to understand and apply what he is learning, moral rights and wrongs. The “Torah of our mothers” is harder to define, but can be qualified as teaching us how to live.
The mother’s Torah is the soul of what we do. The way the table is set for Shabbos, the songs she sings to her children, the flavor she imparts into each holiday, these are the Torah of the mother. The emotional connection and the joy given to the performance of mitzvos are what a mother teaches her children. The warmth of Shabbos, the welcoming of the Sabbath Queen into her home, and the beauty of Shabbos are revealed by the mother. Making Judaism a vibrant, exciting, and relevant way of life is how a mother teaches Torah to her children.
A father knows much about the hows of Jewish life. His teachings are more of the intellectual-moral kind. A mother, on the other hand, passes on the way a Jewish life feels. Her Torah is the flavor and the warmth of Judaism. Her Torah is the way to live.
All of us can share the feelings of Judaism with others. If you have children, you can infuse their lives with the emotional dimension of mitzvos observance. If you do not have children, you can do this for the family members and friends in your life. The way they see you pray, the joy of welcoming in the Shabbos, the special table you set for a holiday, all make deep imprints on their hearts. Take a moment this Shabbos to show your loved ones the way a Jew lives. Light candles with a blessing for everyone in mind, serve homemade challah, set the table for dinner with your best dishes, show them the heart and soul of Jewish life. It is the best way to keep them coming back for more.
Let us use our strength as Jewish mothers to show our families how to live.
Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Join us Thursday, April 26, for another great coffee schmooze! 9 am at Starbucks on Craig and Olive