Caila left for 4 weeks sleep away camp on Tuesday. She took a really huge duffle bag, a backpack with games, and a container with snacks. Even though we are paying a fortune for a camp and the kids get canteen, all the kids bring extra snacks. Last year when we dropped her off the head counselor for her group suggested we quickly go to Walmart as she would feel bad being the only kid without extra snacks!
When Gavin dropped Caila at the gate the young guy collecting the luggage asked Caila where her other bag is - she said there was just the one bag. He looked shocked and then quipped “I thought only Israelis bring one bag.” Caila promptly answered him, informing him that she is indeed Israeli.
Let’s be honest: the whole camp thing is insane. The cost, the extra snacks and the never-ending packing lists. Do our kids really need so much? I ask despite also being guilty of a constant stream of Amazon deliveries with my latest must-haves.
When I was a kid, sleep-away camp was in tents and there was no laundry service, no lake, no pottery room, no craft center, no petting zoo, no rock climbing wall etc and we had the best time making lifelong friendships. I went back every year until I was a counselor.
It’s all about priorities. We should ponder the famous words in Ethics of our Fathers “Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.”
This week's Torah portion Masei, chronicles the journey of the Jewish people in the desert in incredible detail for 40 years.
There is an interesting interaction with Moses when the tribes of Gad and Reuben explain their plans to live on the other side of the Jordan River.
“We will build sheep pens for our livestock here and cities for our children.” (32:16)
“All right,” said Moses (32:24), “build towns for your children and pens for your sheep…”
Moses switched the order teaching us an important lesson about priorities. In this instance family is always the most important priority.
It’s a challenge to all of us to think of our priorities and what really counts. I bet it’s not another Amazon delivery, another vacation or a new car!