The Surprise Waiting for Me at Home as told by Sivan Rahav Meir

The Surprise Waiting for Me at Home as told by Sivan Rahav Meir

Sivan Rachav Meir is an unusual Israeli celebrity– in addition to being a highly-respected and immensely popular TV news reporter she is also a religious mother of 5 young children and a Torah teacher with tens of thousands of students (her first book in English, “#Parasha” was just published last week).

Last week Sivan came to speak in my neighborhood about parenting, and I asked her special permission to share this wonderful personal story she shared with us, which went something like this. Sivan told us:

I had just finished teaching my weekly parsha class. It was 10 PM and I had told my babysitter I would be home by 10:15. But as I packed myself up to go, two girls and their mothers approached me. They told me that they were making movies for their bat mitzvah parties, and had travelled over 2 hours from the Negev to film me for their movies.

I looked at my watch, 10:05.

They hadn’t asked beforehand, but I figured they had travelled all this way…

So one of the mothers started filming and I began an impromptu blessing of the bat mitzvah girl when the girl called out “Cut!”

“This is not just any bat mitzvah movie,” she told me with directorial authority, “this movie has a theme, and the theme is happiness. So I will ask you questions about happiness and you will answer.”

I looked at my watch, it was already 10:10.

But I said, “OK,” and answered the girl’s questions, and thought of a story from the Lubavitcher Rebbe which, I thought, tied the interview up nicely.

My watch read 10:15, but there was still another girl who wanted to interview me. Her topic was leadership. So I answered her questions and flew to my car, making it home at exactly 10:30. As I walked into the door, the babysitter flew out of the house.

I walked into the house, and understood why the babysitter had run away so fast. The house was upside down. And 4/5 of my children were still wide awake.

“Eema, I’m hungry!”
“Go to bed! You can eat tomorrow!” I yelled.

“Eema, I didn’t do my homework yet.”
“Go to bed! You can finish your homework tomorrow!” I yelled.

“Eema, I haven’t prepared my backpack for tomorrow yet.”
“Go to bed! You can get your backpack ready tomorrow!” I yelled.

It took quite a bit more yelling to get everyone into bed, and as my watch turned 11, I started cleaning up the mess.

And, with a feeling of defeat, I couldn’t help thinking how easy it had been to be nice to those bat mitzvah girls and how hard it was to keep my cool with my own children.

And I was reminded, yet again, that the purpose of life is working on myself, becoming a better person, perfecting my character traits, and the place that that this happens is generally not while I’m reading a holy book or at my work in front of an audience of thousands, but rather behind my closed front door, with the people who challenge me the most and whom I love the most in the whole world.


  1. Sarah Frøseth

    Thank you for this. Really needed to hear!

  2. Oh wow does this resonate!

  3. Yup yup, agree!

  4. Thats why i stay home and rarely leave them with strangers. its always easier to give a lot of our energy to the world and to strangers than to the special neshamas that God gave us to take care of not to mention our husband! What do you think jewishmoms? How many famous teachers or devoted tzadekkes are always out giving to great causes while their family is at home waiting for her in the name of a greater cause?

  5. Well some people are better mothers and wives when they can leave the house and be with peers. I don’t think that’s fair to say. I am a stay at home mom, but I totally understand the women who aren’t.

  6. And I get flustered PLEANTY

  7. Thank you Sivan, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that. Often I am so embarrassed when I shout at my kids. I feel absolutely disappointed in myself. It somehow creates strength to know that many moms ( as much as they adore their kids) let exhaustion or stress get the better of them. Working on this is my life long journey…it’s nice to know I’m not alone:)

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