Shavuot on Mommy Duty

Shavuot on Mommy Duty

The perfect Shavuot bombards me from all directions.

A 5-layer cheesecake in this magazine.
Homemade white chocolate Torah scrolls lollipops for the kiddush in that one.
And an elaborate table decorated with tropical flower arrangements in crystal goblets in yet another.

And on a spiritual level?

Fascinating classes for women around the corner from 11 PM until 3:30 AM.
And my teenage daughter debates which friend to invite to walk with her to the Western Wall at sunrise.

And then I think of what awaits me. Another year of Shavuot on mommy duty. My big kids out learning Torah and my husband teaching in a distant neighborhood. A simple Shavuot dinner with my 3 and 5-year-old. No late classes for this JewishMOM. Early to bed and early to rise with my babies.

There’s a story I heard from Rabbi Nivin which makes me feel quite at peace with my low-key Shavuot on mommy duty. So, in case you will be on mommy duty too this Shavuot, I’ll share it with you.

There once was a woman who had plans to spend a weekend at a Spirituality Convention. Meditation, inspirational classes from world-class speakers, and deep contemplation of the Divine and the ultimate purpose of life.

After months of anticipation, the weekend was right around the corner. And then, that Thursday morning, the woman’s kvetchy, high-maintenance mother called.

“Honey, this weekend I really need some company. Please come and spend the weekend with me! It’s daddy’s yahrzeit, I don’t want to be on my own!”

And at that point, Rabbi Nivin asks what would be the most spiritual way for that woman to spend her weekend… At the spirituality convention or with her decidely un-spiritual kvetch of a mother?

Doing what she wants to do or doing the right thing?

Even a JewishMOM on mommy duty can do things to have a special Shavuot.

I made a ton of canneloni (which I’ve never seen before in Israel) and I’m really excited to eat large quantities of that and I bought myself TWO sugar-free cheesecakes (on sale…).

AND I will (as Rabbi Nivin suggests) learn some of my favorite piece of Torah for a bit before I go to bed (maybe Rabbanit Yemima? Who, by the way, forbids mothers from staying up late on Shavuot lest we are monsters with our poor kids the following morning. And I will (Rabbi Nivin, again) spend a few minutes contemplating my goals and dreams for the last few months of this year.

And I already bought crepe paper to make flowers with the kids to decorate the house. And I am looking forward to hanging out with some other JewishMOMs on mommy duty at the playground on Shavuot evening and morning. And of course, I bought myself something new to wear for the Chag (Rabbanit Yemima again).

But for the most part, I will not be attending the spirituality convention this Shavuot. I will be enabling my husband to teach Torah, and my older children to learn Torah, and my small children to have a fun holiday with a well-rested, relaxed mother.

And truth is, it’s taken quite a few years, but I’m OK with that. With receiving the Torah together with my young children, hand in hand.


  1. Blessed are you!

  2. beautiful thoughts! chag samaech!

  3. A very moving article. You are so spot on. And there is more. I was a similar kind of mommy ( I hope) and it seemed at the time that it was for many years. However, now as a safta, it seems like those wonderful years just flew, and I enjoy and appreciate my Shavuot shiurim even more knowing that every stage is precious. Well done all you young moms, never forget what an important job you have. Yes, the most spiritual work of them all.

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