Our Children Our Teachers
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Shabbat, May 21st,
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Torah Portion: Emor
OUR CHILDREN OUR TEACHERS
Here’s a home truth: adults hold grudges and children don’t. Honestly, as a parent, how many times have you heard, “Dad I hate you, I am not speaking to you again!” And within ten minutes your defiant little darling sidles up as your best friend? Or how about this one, “Mummy, I despise you, I wish I had a different mother!” And miraculously, shortly after, hugs are on the agenda and you are the best parent on planet earth!
On the flip side, adults announce that they will not speak to another person in their world and literally 15 years later this may still be the case. Paths may cross and yet even a polite Shabbes greeting is not forthcoming. Bar and Bat mitzvahs pass by with no reconciliation. Why? Oh, because years ago there was a bitter dispute.
Intriguingly, children are often labelled as immature and adults the opposite. So why do adults hold deep grudges and children shed themselves of these feelings mere moments later?
Well here’s why:
Children choose being happy over being right, whereas adults choose to be right over being happy.
We would (often unconsciously) rather be miserable and technically correct. So I won’t speak to my uncle, so I won’t speak to my brother-in-law or cousin for a quarter of a century. G-d forbid I should say sorry or talk it through. Instead, I will be vigilant and implacable because I am right – whatever the cost!
Well, negative energy is toxic.
This time of year, we reflect on the lost lives of the 24,000 students of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud tells us that these students were too focussed on being right rather than accommodating any other views.
When Rabbi Akiva taught his students the intricacies of the Torah, each heard them in their own unique way. They insisted on forcing others to see it through their lens, their filter – hence the monumental bickering that ensued. They had lost their way.
If we broaden our minds, accommodate different views and travel down the track of heeding openness and understanding, our relationships will be fortified and our smachot will be celebrated in real harmony. You will skip in the sunshine, with a lightness of spirit you may not have felt for years.
Lets’ learn from our children and choose happiness, it may just be the smartest thing you ever do!
Rabbi Yanky Klein
This email is In Loving memory of my dear father
R’ Yerachmiel Binyamin Halevi ben R, Menachem Klein OBM