I am going through a crisis in parenting. You watch your kids that you have invested countless hours in nurturing, consoling, educating and then as my friend Adrienne Gold said in her wisely articulated post “you suddenly become merely a consultant with a shut mouth but open wallet.” This weeks Torah Portion we read the parasha called Behalotcha, which means "and when you raise the light,’ in reference to Aaron's divine job to light the menorah daily. This raising of the lamps, according to Rashi our commentator, means 'until the flame burns independently.’ This is the role of a parent, a mentor, a friend. To kindle the soul of another until it stands on its own.
Judaism teaches us that a person is called a parent not merely by biological or adoptive status, but by the 'raising of a soul.’
I recall the moments after we receive our diagnosis on the 3rd day of Caila’s life that she had Down syndrome. My world came crashing down. How was I going to be hostess extraordinaire or continue my passion for travel? I was not yet on the cover of Forbes or Fortune and I was freaked out by what it meant for Cailaיs siblings or my marriage.
I then recalled the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks “We achieve greatness when we pass our value onto the next generation.” In that moment I had absolute clarity about our purpose as parents and the life we would choose and the message we would share about Caila.
As Adrienne says, “it’s our job to be 'worthy of emulating.’”
To all of us as parents, friends, mentors, aunts or uncles let’s raise our own internal light so that we achieve our own greatness.
Photo credit: Laura Ben-David/LBD Creative