Raising Religious & Resilient Children – Part 8

In raising a family, we find that the more one brings Hashem into daily life, the deeper the connection you will develop. Two thoughts reflect this idea.

One is the explanation for the shortest line of the prayer Avinu Malkeinu where we ask Hashem to inscribe us in the book of merits. Rabbi Salomon explains that we are really asking to be inscribed in the book of opportunities to do mitzvot. We ask Hashem, “If you have a mitzvah that needs to get done, please give it to me.”

This interpretation highlights our belief that it is a privilege to do mitzvoth, not a burden. When we are presented with an opportunity to serve Hashem, we should seize to the moment and be grateful. Mitzvot are not a checklist; they are precious opportunities for growth.

A practical application of this idea is training children to always carry extra school supplies so if a fellow student in their class is missing something, your child will provide it. In this way, children learn to feel the joy and fulfillment in giving.

The second idea is quoted by Rabbi Mordechai Gifter (a”h). He writes that when the Torah describes Hagar’s banishment from Avraham Avinu’s home, it states that she wandered lost in the desert. Rashi Ha’kadosh (a”h) notes that this refers to the fact that she returned to her idolatrous ways. The question is: where exactly is that alluded to in the text? The Torah informs us that she was lost, not that she returned to idolatry.

Rabbi Gifter explains that the fact that Hagar felt that she was lost was an indication that she departed from the teachings of Avraham. A Jew who truly believes and has faith, should never feel lost, because he is exactly where Hashem wants him to be. Therefore, the fact that the Torah goes out of its way to inform us that Hagar was lost demonstrates a spiritual decline. Hagar lost the true perspective on life.

Read Part 9 For More Insights