June 18, 2024
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When You Push, You Push Away

Reviewing: “Handle with Love: The Path to Joyful Jewish Parenting” by Devorah Eisenbach. Tfutza Publications. Distributed by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Raising my double handful of kids in the high-pressured environment we live in was exhausting me. Then I read Rebbetzin Devorah Eisenbach’s enchanting book, “Handle with Love: The Path to Joyful Jewish Parenting,”and felt some of the burden lift. It relieved me of some of the burden of thinking that every child’s every action was a reflection on my parenting. My favorite story, “When you push, you push away,” could easily have been the title of the book as far as I’m concerned. Rebbetzin Eisenbach writes:

“I was at my wits’ end with a child who was constantly late: for school, for shul, and even for family trips. Neither rewards nor threats seemed to help. Out of desperation, I consulted the famed Yerushalmi dayan, Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fisher, who was known for solving unsolvable problems. Rabbi Fisher listened to me carefully and patiently and told me gently, “When you push, you push away.”

“Handle with Love” is raising my focus from where I’ve been stuck, in the gritty details of making sure everyone is doing everything the way I think they should do it. It’s teaching me to step back and focus instead on creating an atmosphere that lets my kids rise to the occasion. And they’re doing it! I’m having a lot more fun with them and getting way more nachas, and they’re calmer and happier and growing in ways I never expected them to.

If you feel like you’re drowning in all your responsibilities as a mother, I can’t recommend “Handle with Love” highly enough. It’s a lifesaver, and a pleasure to read too.

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