Read a piece on the Parsha and on current world events written by Rabbi Sholom Schapiro, the Shliach of the NY Torah Center on 5th Avenue in Manhattan.
As Jack arrives home after a long day of work, his young son asks: “Dad, how much do you earn an hour?”
Jack is annoyed at the question and responds, “what difference does it make? Go up to your room and mind your own business!”
After a few minutes, Jack regrets losing his cool, and goes to find his son. “I’m sorry, but I had a hard day at work,” he explains. “I would estimate that I earn about $100 per hour.”
His son reaches into his pocket and pulls out twenty five dollars. “I have been saving up this money for a little while, can I have you for 15 minutes?”
This week’s Torah portion, Toldot, begins with the verse, “These are the offspring of Yitzchak the son of Avraham, Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak.”
Why does the Torah repeat “Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak” after stating that Yitzchak was the son of Avraham?
The Torah is teaching us a valuable lesson. Not only was Avraham the father of Yitzchak, but he also busied himself with rearing Yitzchak.
The lesson to us is critical; it is insufficient to merely give birth to a child. Rather, a parent must be personally invested in his or her child’s upbringing. The role of a parent is to be present and available to their child throughout the years of childhood and beyond.
This can be a challenge for our generation. Even when we have free time with our children, we may become distracted by our smartphones. The parent may be physically present, but they are not emotionally present or accessible.
This is especially relevant in our current situation, when many of us are working from home. On one hand, we are attending meetings and getting work done from the comfort of our home, yet on the other hand, this can distract us from paying the proper attention to our families.
It may be difficult to manage a proper work/family balance when working from home. Still, we must stay true to our mission of investing in our children.
I once heard that a little girl had said that her greatest wish was to be a cellphone. That way her parents would always keep her close nearby and she’d be the center of their focus.
We must ask ourselves what do we cherish most, is it our phone or our child? We would not dare take out our phone if we were in an important meeting. Are our children less important to us?
Avraham became a father at the age of one hundred. Although he was old and the leader of a spiritual movement, the Torah informs us that he was still involved in his child’s upbringing.
So go ahead and help your child with their homework; study torah with him; spend quality time with her, and keep the cellphone out of sight and out of mind. The phone and everyone else can wait. Remember who our priorities are in life, and who our true offspring are.
Dedicated in loving memory of my grandfather Reb Levi Yitzchok Ben Nachum Z”L – Yharzeit 5 Kislev
Rabbi Sholom Schapiro
NY TORAH CENTER
393 Fifth Avenue, Ground Floor,
New York, NY 10016
“Let’s welcome Moshiach with acts of goodness and kindness” – The Rebbe