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Worthy guarantors

Friday, 12 February, 2010 - 10:25 am

Dear Friends,

Last Shabbat morning as I walked to shul, as usual, only this time on my own and I'm waiting at the pedestrians cross walk, I was attacked by a cyclist with an unexpected question:

"Where are the children?" he asked.

When I smiled at his comment, his face remained serious, as if to say, "I'm asking you a serious question"...

I started thinking about the reason I didn't take Rivky and Leibel with me that morning. They actually wanted to come, but Chani (and Mussi and Rochel) was away for the weekend,  they went to sleep late, and they seemed a bit tired in the morning, so I left them with a babysitter.

Giving it another moment of thought, I realized, that I didn't take them to shul because I was too tired to deal with children who were a bit tired and may kvetch a little on the way back from shul (after all it is over 2 KM). But was this enough of a reason to leave them home, when they asked to join?

When we began the Torah reading, Parashat Yitro, discussing revelation on mount Sinai and the giving of the Torah, I knew the answer. Our sages tell us that when G-d gave the children of Israel the Torah, he asked them for a guarantor to ensure that they will keep the laws. G-d rejected the forefathers and the profits as guarantors; only when we offered the children, He accepted: "They are truly worthy guarantors".

And there I was, leaving my kids at home so that I could have a peaceful walk?!

After Mr. Gross, who gives goodies to the kids in shul every morning, asked me as well why I didn't bring them, I promised myself, bli neder, from now on if my children want to come to shul - I shall take them. After all, G-d needs to know that our guarantors are still here! 

Comments on: Worthy guarantors

Fiona Prince wrote...


I enjoy reading your stories and thinking about the questions you ask. Your questions always come from your personal experiences, and because I know you, they are more meaningful for me. I can hear your voice and imagine your expression; it's almost as good as speaking to you in-person.

Almost as good...but not as good.

I suppose the purpose of this post is really to let you know how much I appreciate your leadership and your ability to reach out and share what you know and what you're learning with all of us; regardless of our age, gender, level of observance, profession, and participation in the Jewish community.

Thank you for your wisdom,
Please give Chani, Mussi, Rivky, Leibel, Mendel and Rochel a hug from me.

See you in shul,


David wrote...

Dear Rabbi

Thank you for your thoughtful stories. I read what you have to say and it causes me to stop and think. It is always as if I am present hearing what you are explaining and it is compelling.

Wishing you and family members a Good Shabbat,