Rabbanit Yemima: “I Bless You Your Family Will Not Thank You”

Rabbanit Yemima: “I Bless You Your Family Will Not Thank You”

My teacher, Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi, taught something last week that I have been quoting so often I realized I had to share it with my dear JewishMOMs as well… This was translated from Rabbanit Yemima’s “Dapei Zahav,” a free 2-page Hebrew excerpt from her class distributed weekly.

Rabbanit Yemima taught:

There are people that we never remember to thank enough: like parents, like teachers…

And in the Torah, nobody makes the effort to say “thank you” to Miriam.

All the men came to Moshe Rabenu’s funeral.

All the men, women, and children came to Aharon’s funeral.

And Miriam, nobody made the effort to come to her funeral, except for her two brothers, Moshe and Aharon.

And suddenly, the Children of Israel felt thirsty. “The well, the well disappeared! Oh no, how great she was, that all of our water here was in her merit. How did we not remember to thank her when she was alive?”

And I find myself this week blessing women all over Israel, “I bless you with all my heart that they shouldn’t thank you at home. I bless you that you should be like a chair, like a table. That you should be taken for granted.”

I’m talking about myself. If only I were a mother who is taken for granted. When I find myself at home in the evening (which hasn’t happened often over the last few years), my kids don’t know what to do with me. “Eema, are you OK? Eema, you don’t have any class tonight? Do you want us to read you a story before you go to bed, Eema? For heaven’s sake, what are we supposed to do with this woman??”…

We need to remember this, what our focus is. So we don’t get mixed up. Go out to work because your spirit needs it, and your family needs the income. And yes, a woman needs someone to say “thank you,” and at home, truly, nobody every says “thank you.” And on the other hand, at home may you be blessed to be taken for granted.

Chinuch (חינוך) comes from the same letters as Nocheach/to be present (נוכח).

May you be so present, until they truly don’t notice that you exist.

May we merit, may I merit, to be there.

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11 comments

  1. Rachel F

    Thank you for this article. I find this idea hard to appreciate. This shabbos when we were having the morning seudah, my kids (oldest is 10) were eating and the oldest child asked for a drink. I asked my oldest to please get the drinks (as they were not brought out) and this child did not want to. I was feeling resentful that I get everything ready and all they have to do is just show up and I said didn’t you NOTICE that the food was cooked and warm, the table is set etc. and all I ask is to go get drinks. And this child just simply stated, “I didn’t notice.” So I understand the idea being presented, I just think that it has to be under the right context 🙂

  2. B”H

    I think that Rabbanit Yemima Mizrahi is amazing. Perhaps I didn’t understand the point she was getting at, or perhaps we just disagree.

    I bless all of us Jewish moms that our children should learn (through our example, our husbands’ example, and everyone around them) to say please and thank you, and to NOT take us (or anyone or anything in their lives) for granted. The word ‘Jew’, ‘yehudi’, comes from the same root as ‘to be thankful’. It is in our very essence to be grateful.

    Beyond that, we should inspire and empower our children to take on more responsibilities at home so that they learn that keeping our families moving forward is a team effort. There is no mitzvah to be a dish rag or a martyr at your children’s expense. There IS a mitzvah to honor your parents. Expressing gratitude towards one’s parents is the tip of the iceberg of that very important mitzvah.

  3. I’ll be the third of the matriarchs to chip in with a comment here (see above names 😉 )

    I must agree with the above ladies- I read, re-read and re-read this little piece because it just didn’t sit well with me. I usually love Rabbanit Yemima’s gems but…I just don’t get it this time.

    I don’t WANT to be a piece of furniture in my home – I do want to be appreciated and I want my husband and children to appreciate what I do. I am not a rag and I don’t want to be treated like one. I pray that me, my husband and our children know and will know how to show hakarat hatov for every person who does good with us and most of all those closest to us….

  4. I dlnt think rabbanit yemima justifies ungratefulness she just says “may you be so much part of your home that you are part of ghe furniture! “She recognizes also a kind of failure that she is never kn her own home!
    If you feel that you are the servant you should study the shefer approach which deals in a healthy and torani way with the relation kids parents

  5. I think you missed a little of the humor in her tone. But she is also giving over a value of being present in the home. She’s blessing us to be present in the home so much that the kids will expect you to be there when they come home, just as mush as they expect the furniture to be there.

  6. It wasn’t about raising ungrateful kids, chas veshalom. It was about being such a constant in your kids lives that they expect you to always be there. That there’s a lot of values that you pass on to them just by being with them.

  7. JewishMom

    I am sure that Rabbanit Yemima would agree with your comments– of course our children should, ideally, be grateful for everything we do. But the reality is that generally children don’t express so much (or any) gratitude for the multitude of things we do for them.

    One of Rabbanit Yemima’s greatest gifts is taking our motherly fears and regrets and sources of suffering and saying, “you thought this was terrible, but in fact it’s a tremendous blessing.” That’s why I find this excerpt so powerful. When my children don’t say thank you, I could feel pain and resentment, or I could feel grateful that I’m around so much my children have the luxury of taking me for granted.

    Again, I agree with you that this is not the ideal. We should teach our children to say thank you, to have gratitude. But Rabbanit Yemima is giving what i found to be a refreshing spin on this widespread less-than-ideal reality for so many moms.

  8. Hadassah

    Her humor is tongue in cheek. I agree that she wants everyone to recognize and appreciate what we do but the reality is that we should be constant. And just as a baby doesn’t acknowledge what is done for it we don’t expect it to- our presence for our family should be something that they can rely on.

  9. Lisza Jessel

    My children thank me. My husband thanks me. Everyone appreciates me. But you don’t want the reason why. The reason why is that they lived for 5 years with no mother. When I transformed a motherless home into a functioning “motherful” home, they saw the difference in every little detail catered to. The care the concern the little things. Ok they don’t thank for everything, but in their bones they are always grateful.

    Your husband and children should never feel so grateful to have you. I too hope you are blessed to be taken for granted. That your children should feel the home runs automatically, and it all works, and you are always there like their favorite chair. They should never feel the lack in their lives that would give them the epiphany that they should appreciate you.

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