Mazal Tov! We just celebrated a Jewish life-cycle event this week with our son, Zalman's, 3rd birthday and ceremonial first haircut. First things first... You gotta see his fantastic video performance (and the before/after pic)!
His theme in the video is comparing his growth to that of a sapling turning into a tree... Here is another reflection on the topic.
A grown tree is so strong, that almost nothing can manipulate its direction anymore. Contrast that to a young sapling, or even a young tree. One can easily sway it from its path. Actually, most young trees, if just left alone, will naturally grow in the wrong direction, based on the soil and wind, etc.
So we simply put two strong pieces of wood on either side of the tree, and hold it tight. These posts do not sway. They are strong and stable and they enable the young tree to grow tall and straight. Later, its branches will grow. Sometimes they grow wildly! The responsible curator must thoughtfully prune the tree to keep it healthy and viable.
“Man is like the tree of the field.” All humans, but especially young children (and young adults, too…), are vulnerable to thousands of external stimuli which influence their lives. I believe it is the parents’ responsibility to be strong and stable guideposts, to sturdily hold their child as he/she grows. Later in life, a parent should not hesitate to ‘prune’ their children’s interest and involvement when they identify negative behaviors and activities.
It takes inner strength and courage to be a good parent. The children entrusted in our care are often pulling strongly away from our values to follow the current societal trends. Parents must hold strong, and not hide behind a lack of courage to assert our values and instill a love and commitment to Jewish life! Soon, they will grow "tall, strong and straight, with branches many, and a shadow great," having a positive impact on the world around them, bearing 'fruit' and good deeds for the rest of their lives.
Shabbat Shalom! Can't wait to see everyone again for Shabbat dinner tonight at 7:00 PM.
Rabbi Mendy and Sara Alevsky
Shabbat at Chabad: Friday, 2/20 - 7:00 PM at Chabad. For directions and a map click here.
Freshman Fondue: Sunday, 2/22 - Delicious and chocolaty fun for Jewish freshmen. Click here to join us.
We are posting the following by request of a Jewish grad student at Harvard:
You are invited to participate in an online study on the relationship between memory and distraction provided by the Psychology Department at Harvard University. Participation is anonymous, will take less than 20 minutes, and you will have the chance to win one of two $50 gift certificates. Please click on the following link to participate or to learn more about the study: