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You are browsing the archive for torah MOMentary.

Jun 20 2014

Take a Deep Breath And Don’t Throw Your Kids in a Canyon

By at 10:04 am

grand-canyon

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Korah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

This week’s torah portion, Korah, really resonated with me. Basically, Korah, a Levite, was tired, hungry, and generally pissed about wandering through the dessert. He gathered together a few buddies (who were presumably also hungry and in desperate need of a shower) and they threw a collective tantrum at Moses–something along the lines of “Who died and made you God?!?”

Moses responded by falling on his face. Traditional commentators praise him for this, noting that rather than reacting by yelling something back (possibly along the lines of “God did, you giant douche! And he’s not even dead! So suck it!”), he took the time to reflect and collect himself. I love that idea, although I also like to think that Moses was feeling the same way I often do when the girls are whining at the end of a long day, when I barely have the energy to stand, much less engage with the latest round of whatever they’re all worked up about.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 13 2014

Battling The “What-Ifs” of Life

By at 10:14 am

momentary-adina

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Shlah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

As a kid, my parents affectionately referred to me as the “Queen of the What-Ifs.” I could what-if with the best of them. New experience? Bring on the what-ifs. What if I don’t make friends? What if I don’t like it there? What if I don’t pass that test, get accepted into that school, find my way?

My folks would jockey with me as much as possible, and often, they’d try and help me live with the uncertainty. Not an easy feat. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 6 2014

Even God Had His Bad Parenting Days

By at 2:13 pm

toddler-feet

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat B’ha’alotkha. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I recently read something I loved in a book about Buddhism and parenting:

Impermanence, the fact that all things change, can be a mother’s best friend.  Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2014

Blessing My Daughter on Friday Night

By at 9:55 am

shabbat-candles

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Naso. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

I can still remember the tingly feeling of holiness that went through me when the rabbi blessed me at my bat mitzvah as a pipe organ played minor chords, and a choir in robes sang solemnly. (In retrospect, I wonder if all huge Reform congregations in 1990 borrowed a lot from Christian worship. I’m pretty sure mine did.)

The pipe organ was a new twist, but the blessing was ancient. Rabbis all over the world have been blessing their communities with three simple lines from this week’s Torah portion, Naso, for thousands of years. That suburban Reform rabbi was continuing the tradition of the priests of Biblical Israel, reciting the words God gave for blessing the people of Israel:

May God bless you and keep you.
May God shine God’s face on you and give you grace.
May God give favor to you and grant you peace. Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2014

I Can’t Stop The Earth From Drowning, But I Can Save My Own Sanity

By at 12:44 pm

flooding

This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat B’hukotai. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Among the mind-blowing things I have learned from my first two years of motherhood is what it means to care about someone else’s existence as much as my own, to the point where their pain literally becomes mine.

It’s not that I didn’t care about anyone before…just that I had more boundaries. Of course when someone is suffering–someone I love or just know or even someone on the news or in a movie–I feel terrible for them. I cry. I ache for them. When my daughter is hurting, though, I find that it literally hurts me too–emotionally rather than physically, but it hurts. Read the rest of this entry →

May 9 2014

It’s Suddenly Clear That My Girls Have a Mind of Their Own

By at 12:16 pm

girl-waffles

This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat B’har. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

“Strawberries are yucky.”

“I don’t WANT to sleep in a crib.”

Doc McStuffins is my favorite.

“I don’t like spring time. I just like summer.” Read the rest of this entry →

May 2 2014

It’s Impossible to be Both a Parent & Perfectionist

By at 12:01 pm

messy-home

This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Emor. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Being a perfectionist is supposed to make you miserable. But to be honest, I always found it sort of fun–until I became a mother.

As the parent of a small human, though, perfectionism is out the window, along with every other fantasy of control over life.

I’m not even talking about the big, agonizing stuff. I’m talking about my living room. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 25 2014

It’s Hard to Honor Your Mother & Father When You’re in the Terrible Twos

By at 9:41 am

kedoshim

This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Kedoshim. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

This week Sylvie turned 2. On her birthday, she woke up, talked to herself for a while, then called out “Mama, mama!”

I went to pick her up from her crib and as soon as she saw me she stood up and screamed, for the first time ever: “Go away, mama!”

Terrible twos, right on schedule. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 11 2014

Your Toddler’s Just Not That Into You

By at 9:50 am

Your Toddler's Just Not That Into You

This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Ahare Mot. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

This week’s portion is roughly halfway through the Torah. Here’s what I’ve noticed after writing about parenting for half a year: it’s hard to find the middle ground.

To acknowledge the miraculousness without sentimentalizing, without glossing over the day-to-day reality.

And to acknowledge the profound daily challenges without complaining, without dwelling in negativity.

Middle ground has been in short supply around here lately, and not just because I’m pregnant with #2 and on my own hormonal roller coaster. Like one of those tantalizingly unpredictable loves of my early 20s, Sylvie, about to turn 2, vacillates between extremes:

1. Unbearable cuteness. Example: “Thank you mama, for brush my teeth!”

2. Frustrating randomness.  Example: “Orange juice please! Orange juice please! Orange juice please!” Then, when I bring her some: “No, I want apple juice!”; weeps in utter despair.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 4 2014

The Transformative Powers of Bath Time–for Mama and Child

By at 10:22 am

needs-bath

This post is part of our Torah MOMentary series. This Shabbat we read Parashat Metzora. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

Bath time. It’s so simple, yet so transformative.

Most evenings around 7 p.m., Sylvie enters the tub covered in the evidence of a day well spent. You know the look: pasta sauce in her curls, a thin layer of dried snot on her cheeks, dirt on her knees, lint between her toes, and streaks of green finger paint in random places.

Come to think of it, by the end of dinnertime she brings to mind my fashion preferences as a teenager in the 90’s. You know the look: torn jacket, messy hair, smudged eyeliner, chipped nail polish. Read the rest of this entry →

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