May 29, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 29, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Parenting Consciously and Thoughtfully

In this week’s parsha, the Torah introduces the story of Avraham’s search for a wife for Yitzchak with the following pasuk: “ואברהם זקן בא בימים וה’ ברך את אברהם בכל” And Avraham was old, his days were coming, and Hashem blessed Avraham with everything [bakol].” The commentaries try to understand the Torah’s intended message in this seemingly superfluous pasuk. Rashi famously points out that the Hebrew word בכל is equivalent in gematria (numerical value) to the Hebrew word בן, “son.” Based on this equivalency, Rashi goes on to suggest that the Torah is reiterating that Hashem had finally blessed Avraham with a son who would continue his legacy. It was therefore time to find that son a wife to marry. This pasuk thus becomes a very fitting introduction to the story that follows.

Rashi’s interpretation seems to make great sense based on the context in which this sentence is found. His comment, however, raises another important question: Why doesn’t the Torah simply state explicitly that Hashem blessed Avraham with a son? Why make the point in a roundabout way, using the word בכל and then requiring an interpretation through gematria?

Perhaps we can suggest that the Torah is indirectly referring to a very important aspect of parenthood, and to the fundamental way that parents feel toward their children. Why does the Torah use the word בכל, “with everything,” to refer to Avraham’s son? Because from the perspective of Avraham, his son Yitzchak was everything to him. Yitzchak represented his future, his legacy, all his dreams and hopes.

I believe that if any of us were asked how we view our children, we would answer unequivocally that our children “are our everything”—they are the most important thing in the world to us, we would do anything for them, etc. There is an incredible bond and love that we have toward our kids that transcends everything. It is a feeling that is indescribable, yet ever present. On a deeper level, our kids also represent our future and our enduring legacy.

At the same time, this point requires us to ask ourselves a very important question. How much preparation/thought do we put into our role as parents? Most of us buy all the baby books and make plans to provide for our children from a financial and practical perspective. But being a parent is much more than that; the educational, cognitive, religious and emotional role that parents play in the lives of their children is incredibly vast. The way in which we interact with our kids on a daily basis sets the tone for whom they will become as they develop and grow into adulthood. This is a tremendous responsibility and an awesome opportunity.

And yet, on some level, when it comes to the raising of our children, we often “wing it,” assuming that we will figure things out as we go along. Given the love that we have for our kids, however, and the impact we have in their lives, this is an unfortunate mistake. It would seem obvious that we should put more thought into our parenting—that we should take a step back and truly consider the responsibility and opportunity. What are our aspirations as parents, and what can we do to achieve them? What are our hopes and dreams for our children, and how can we help them achieve them? How can we become better parents, be there more for our children physically and emotionally? How can we prepare ourselves for the daily challenges that we face each day in our parenting? For each of us, this reflection and consideration might take a different form, but it should take place nonetheless. For some, it might involve reading a book on parenting or a sefer on chinuch. For others, it might mean taking a parenting class. And, yet, for others, it might simply mean taking more time to consider decisions or actions in our parenting than we have in the past. But it is this thoughtfulness and awareness that can make all the difference.

As our parsha highlights in a very clever way, our children are everything to us—and we would do anything we could for them. Who they are and who they can become is too important for us to simply “wing it” and assume that we will “figure it out.” We need to do our best to parent thoughtfully and consciously.


Rav Yossi Goldin is the Menahel Tichon at Yeshivas Pe’er HaTorah. He can be reached at [email protected]

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles