Balancing Motherhood with Prophecy…

September 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM

“…..But Chana did not go up, for she said to her husband: “Until the child is weaned, then I shall bring him…..” (Shmuel I 1:22)

״….וחנה לא עלתה כי אמרה לאישה עד יגמלהנער והבאתיו….״ – שמואל א׳ א,כב

Rosh Hashana

Chana was one of seven women in the Tanach to whom G-d gave the power of prophecy. In the Haftorah of Rosh Hashana we read how after years of childlessness she prayed and begged G-d to grant her a son, vowing to devote him to G-d’s service. She subsequently gave birth to Shmuel, but until Shmuel grew old enough to be brought to the Mishkan to fulfill that vow, Chana declined to join her husband’s yearly pilgrimage to the House of G-d.

The Talmud (Chagigah 2a) describes the awesome experience of being in the Temple during the holidays: “Just as G-d comes to see (the attendees), so He comes to be seen”. That means that to varying degrees, G-d would be “seen” – sensed and perceived, by all in attendance at the Mishkan. Surely for a prophetess, this was definitely an opportunity not to be missed! In addition, going to the Mishkan would also enhance the education Chana could ultimately provide her child.

Now, Chanah’s husband Elkanah was a wealthy man, as described in the Midrash, and certainly had the means to bring along help to assist Chanah with her son’s care during the trip. Alternatively, if she was concerned about the toll that the journey would take on such a young child, she could have hired someone to look after young Shmuel at home while she traveled.

Yet, Chana refused.

Chana insisted that her child would gain most by being cared for and raised by his own mother. This, argued Chana, even outweighed the benefits that she would have from experiencing G-dly visions – as only a prophetess can – in the Temple!

We read this story on Rosh Hashana to serve as an example for all times. Despite all the worldly or spiritual pursuits that one may have, a Jewish woman’s principle ambition must be to raise and tend to her own family, as only a mother can.

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—Sichos Kodesh 5734, 6 Tishrei, pp. 25-29





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