My Top 10 Favorite Inspirational Ideas from the Jewish Mom Conference

This past week I attended the AMAZING annual “Binyan Shalem” conference- attended by over 5000 Jewish mommies from all over Israel who gather together to learn how to be better and more inspired Jewish moms. I LOVE “BINYAN SHALEM!” It is like a full-body 48-hour immersion in a Mommy PeptalkJ What could possibly be better;)

I have SO much to tell you- I learned so many new inspiring ideas there, but it’s so hard to figure out where to start and what to focus on… So I’ve decided to present you with my Top Ten Favorite Ideas from Binyan Shalem:

1. “To merit happiness is harder and tougher than any other kind of work. Happiness in spite of everything!” – Rebbe Nachman from Breslov
There were great rabbis during the Holocaust who went around the concentration camps with shining smiles on their faces- providing inspiration and joy for all of the broken prisoners, “in spite of everything”! Our inevitable disappointments and frustrations and hardships don’t have to determine our level of happiness. WE do!

2. “Every physical task of a mother is in fact Divine service.” – The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Where is the spirituality in changing diapers, vacuuming sand-filled carpets, and frying omelettes for your children who have just returned from summer camp rioting from hunger? A mom could easily become upset that she is wasting her life on lowly physical matters. But this Chassidic saying reminds us that taking care of the physical needs of others, including our children and husbands, is one of the highest forms of Divine service. Hey, I LOVE THIS QUOTE!

3.“It is forbidden to grow old.” Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
It is a mother’s gift and responsibility to experience the world with the enthusiasm of a child, but with the wisdom and insight of a grownup. This combination enables us to point out the awe-inspiring beauty of the thumbnail-sized orange and yellow flower poking up by the side of your front stairs, and to feel the wonder of the scrawled, crumpled crayon drawing of the Temple your 4-year-old just brought home from nursery school. We have the power through this perpetual wonder and youngness to grant our children one of life’s greatest gifts and joys- heartfelt gratitude!

4. The physical aspects of maintaining our families- an orderly home, clean children, meals served on time, for example, are the vessels necessary to enable G-d’s abundance and the glow of the Divine Presence to light up our homes. But we shouldn’t go overboard. When we become overly focused on maintaining the physical vessel, the resulting stress and anger constrict the vessel and drive the Divine abundance away from our homes. – Tali Spiegel

5. “It is so important as a mother to see your home with ‘spiritual vision.’ The other day my mother-in-law arrived, and I was so distressed when I noticed that the windows were covered with my childrens’ greasy fingerprints. But then I looked out that same window, and saw the view of Jerusalem in the distance, and remembered that as a mother in Israel I am fulfilling the dream of countless generations, and my distress was replaced with gratitude and wonder. That is the responsibility of every mother- to re-see our lives in a new and different way, through spiritual eyes.” -Tali Spiegel

6. “Every child born is an additional sign of the faith G-d has in [every parent] when He deposits His most precious possession, a creation from the Treasury of Souls, in the parent’s hands to care for and educate.” Rabbi Shimshon Raphael Hirsch. G-d believes in you! He gave you His most treasured creation, a Jewish soul, to raise and love.

7. And on the same note: “Overly high self esteem is very bad, but low self esteem is far worse.” Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. (These two quotations are the subject of this week’s Mommy Peptalk “Jewish Mom, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!)

8. “The central way we educate our children is by way of personal example. But this is extremely difficult, since we can fool everybody else in the world, except our children to whom we are completely transparent. Our children see who we REALLY are. Therefore, it is crucial that we continue to find time, despite our hectic mothering lives, to learn Torah and grow religiously.” Rabbanit Bruria ben Shachar

9. “A person is whole in his mind and personal characteristics only when his spirit is happy…because happiness of spirit widens the mind and lifts up the heart in fear of G-d.” Harav Kook, Ain Aya. In his class, Rabbi Mishael Rubin talked about the tendency of women to become overly self-critical, overly serious, and overly HEAVY. OY VEY! It is crucial, therefore, that every mother find a corner of enjoyment in her life. A dance class, a ceramics workshop, water aerobics- whatever you love, whatever enables you to feel joy in your life and in fulfilling your myriad motherhood responsibilities. Because we cannot serve G-d when we are sad!

10. “The key way to educate our children to become better people is to identify and encourage the characteristic (midah) behind our children’s good deeds.” -Rabbi Yona Goodman. Let’s say, for example, that your child just shared his precious twizzlers with his younger sister. Instead of saying “That is so nice that you gave her some twizzlers!” take advantage of this educational opportunity! Say instead, “I see that you are a child who really knows how to share. Just like it says in the Torah, ‘Love Your Neighbor as Yourself’.” This encouragement of the characteristics (midot) behind good deeds can have a powerful transformative effect on our children!

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One comment

  1. Ohhhh, I want to attend such a conference. Thanks for the tidbits!

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