One Mother’s Comment On “Won’t be Getting to Shul Much or at All this Rosh Hashana?”
This morning an old friend of mine with a bunch of little kids left a comment on my post “Won’t be Getting to Shul Much or at All this Rosh Hashana? Read this…”
In that post, I quoted Rabbanit Oranit Pijo who says that women don’t need to go to shul to have a meaningful Rosh Hashana, since we have an innate ability to connect with Hashem through our role preparing for the holiday in the home and caring for our children.
My friend wrote: “Sorry, sometimes my ‘innate ability to find spirituality within the physical’ disappears (goes to shul?) leaving me alone with the kids and housework..
I could relate to her question because I also used to have a hard time with this when my big kids were little, and it’s been a journey of many years and classes and books and prayer sessions to get to a point where I really don’t feel that struggle much at all anymore.
Over recent Rosh Hashanas, if, for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to make it to shul at all (except for the shofar blowing, which women are required to hear) Rosh Hashana has still felt meaningful and uplifting and real.
Yesterday I was reminded of one of the most important skills I learned to enable this shift in me.
Nights have been getting a little chilly here, so yesterday afternoon I got out the thick winter blankets and covered them up with new blanket covers and arranged them on all of my kids’ beds. As I lay them out, I thought of the dangers that fill the world, and felt a deep feeling of satisfaction that I was enabling my kids to stay warm, safe in their beds, protected from the cold. Cuddled up underneath their thick blankets scented with laundry detergent.
And that warm-blanket feeling is the feeling, I think, that Rabbanit Pijo was describing, finding spirituality within physical work.
Over the past 18 years of motherhood, I have learned, if I focus, how to feel that joy and satisfaction when I give a child a bath, or make matzah balls, or set the table for a holiday meal, etc.
It doesn’t always work. I have changed thousands of diapers and cleared millions of dishes and made countless pots of chicken soup which felt totally and completely blah.
But when I do manage to do it, when I manage to focus and feel that sweetness, that spirituality within the physical act, that feeling that I am a JewishMOM creating a Jewish home full of Hashem’s light and smile, it lifts up everything to another dimension entirely.