My Visit to Ancient Shilo

My Visit to Ancient Shilo

I’ve been living in Israel for nearly 30 years, and my name is Chana, so I can’t really explain why it took me until today to visit the site most associated with my namesake: ancient Shilo. This is the exact place where Chana came to pray for a child, in the Holy Tabernacle, and where her prayers were finally answered. After she became a mother, Chana returned once again to the Tabernacle in Shilo with her young son, Shmuel, to dedicate him to a life of serving Hashem.

Standing there, I thought about the name Chana gave her son: Shmuel, which the Bible explains means, “I borrowed him from God.”
This curious explanation for the name hit close to home: Every mother of every child has been granted that child by Hashem as a temporary loan.
In other words, I don’t own my children. I can’t and shouldn’t control them.
My children are infinitely greater than my little plans or hopes or dreams for them.
I gave birth to my kids and I take care of them and I love them and do my best to raise them well, but they don’t belong to me any more than a leased car.
My children belong to themselves. And they belong to Hashem.
Just as Chana understood when she named her long-awaited son Shmuel.

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