Something Cool I Learned on Shavuot
Didya ever notice that being a mom and a Jew is incredibly time consuming?
How many hours a day do I spend caring for my kids and keeping this home functioning?
How many hours a week do I spend doing Jewish stuff–and in particular, getting ready for Shabbat, and/or, depending on the time of year, getting ready for the next Jewish holiday?
Sometimes I think about all the time being a mom and a Jew requires, and I feel all inspired and gushy JewishMOM about it. And sometimes (especially in Tishrei, Kislev, Adar, Nissan, Sivan, and summer vacation) I can get kind of grumbly and martyr-y about it.
On Shavuot night, as you know, I was on mommy duty. But I did manage to sneak in some Netivot Shalom with 2 neighbors who are Nachlaot expats like me. We only read, like, three lines, and for the rest of the time we discussed what we had learned and sang nigunim and ate cashews and dates.
But among those three lines we read, Hashem whispered in my ear the answer to my grumbling…
The Netivot Shalom writes that just as the Jewish people prepared themselves to receive the Torah, so too in all holy matters we must prepare a vessel to hold within it the light of holiness.
And then he explains:
‘אם האדם מצדו יגע בעבודה, הרי זו עצם הכלי המחזיק בתוכו את ברכת ה
“If a person works hard, this is the vessel which holds within it Hashem’s blessing.”
I recently learned that in all spiritual matters, there must be preparation.
There must be hard work.
We can’t just have Shabbat Kodesh, we must MAKE Shabbat Kodesh.
We can’t just have Shavuot, CHag Matan Torah, we have to clean and cook and get ourselves and the kids dressed up and spread out a white table cloth and MAKE it happen.
And it’s the same as a mother. We can’t just have a child, we MUST run the marathon of pregnancy, birth, babyhood, childhood, teenage-hood, and beyond.
And that hard work itself is necessary. Cause like a flame needs a candle, holiness needs hard labor– its vessel.
And through our hard work, the vessel that holds all of that light in our hearts and in our homes, is born.