Raising Children: The Hardest Job of All….

August 27, 2018 at 2:59 AM , , ,

“…So we cried out to Hashem, G-d of our fathers, and G-d heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression…” –  (Devarim 26:7)

וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה’ אֱלֹקֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ וַיִּשְׁמַע ה’ אֶת קֹלֵנוּ וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ – דברים כו, ז

Our toil – these are the sons, as it is written “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive (Shemos 1:22)”. —Sifrei

As part of offering the Bikkurim, we recount and give thanks for G-d’s kindnesses that have brought us to this day. We mention in particular that He heard our voices and saved us from the “affliction, toil, and oppression” in Egypt. According to the Sifrei, the words “our toil” allude to the Egyptian persecution of the children in particular, and the Sifrei provides a source showing that there was a particular decree against the children of Bnei Yisrael.

Interestingly though, the Sifrei provides no proof to demonstrate why the words “our toil” allude to our children – because such proof is entirely superfluous! The Sifrei considers it the most obvious and self-evident truth that raising children to grow on the proper path takes hard work. It requires not only “effort”, but such efforts that the Torah itself deems “toil – difficult labor”.

The above is true not only of raising one’s own physical children, but also of educating and nurturing students, which are referred to by the Torah as one’s children (see Devarim 6:7, Rashi). Whether your children or your students, you have not fulfilled your basic and obvious duties as an educator if you have not invested yourself to a point that can rightfully be called “toil”.

-Likutei Sichos, vol. 1, pp. 113-114


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