I was giving my son a bath (on Friday), preparing him to spend Shabbos with his grandparents, and as we sometimes do, we were listening to music on my phone.
Of course the channel was set to Baby Einstein (something about kids listening to music is supposed to make them smarter) - and the following song began to play:
(Hit play and continue reading... it creates a nice effect...)
and my first thought? Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves... a classic movie that we will always be grateful too for being the basis of Robin Hood Men in Tights...
Truth be told though, my son and I had a moment. Well I'm not sure he really got what was going on (he's 5 months old)... but I definitely took in the moment.
There is something unique about being a parent... there is also something unique about being a child. A broad non-specific statement of that effect can only be experienced rather then described.
Talking of having a moment (thats the segue to Torah)...
An interesting detail of Moshe's life is a often glossed over. This detail specifically speaks to missing those family moments. You see, when Moshe answered his calling to take the Jews out of Egypt, he leaves his wife and sons behind.
When Yisro is reunited after the exodus, with his son-in-law, Moshe, he reminds Moshe that he left his wife and kids (Yisro's daughter and grandchildren) behind when he left for his journey:
שמות פרשת יתרו פרק יח
ו) ויאמר אל־משה אני חתנך יתרו בא אליך ואשתך ושני בניה עמה
6: And he said to Moses, "I, Jethro, your father in law, am coming to you, and [so is] your wife and her two sons with her." (Exodus 18:6)
When Moshe had received the command to go and save the Jewish people he left the house of Yisro with his wife, Tziporah and their two sons, and begun this journey to save his people. As he was drawing close to Egypt, according to Rashi, Aharon comes to greet him and inquires on his entourage. Moshe explains that this is his family and Aharon strongly responds:
רש"י שמות פרשת יתרו פרק יח
ב) אמר לו על הראשונים אנו מצטערים ואתה בא להוסיף עליהם
אמר לה לכי אל בית אביך, נטלה שני בניה והלכה לה
"He [Aaron] retorted, “We are suffering with the first ones, and you come to add to them?”
He [Moses] said to her [Zipporah], “Go home to your father.” She took her two sons and went away" (Rashi on Exodus 18:2).
After the Exodus takes place, Moshe has not seen his family for over a year (some commentaries say he even divorced his wife after his earlier interaction with Aharon!) and Yisro informs Moshe - bring your immediate family (Tziporah and sons) to meet your new family (the Jewish people).
The Medrash Sekhel Tov (authored by R. Menachem b. R. Shlomo, who lived in Italy in the beginning of the 12th century) offers an insightful comment to this interaction:
שכל טוב (בובר) שמות פרשת יתרו פרק יח
סימן ו ו) ויאמר אל משה. על ידי שליח. ר' יהושע אומר אגרת כתב ושלח לו לאמר: אני חותנך יתרו שמתכבד בשמך: בא אליך. כלומר מבקש להיות באאצלך באהבתי אותך: ואשתך ושני בניה עמה. לפיכך באתי עמהם שאם תעשה בגיני צא לקראתי וקבליני, ואם לאו, עשה בשביל אשתך, ואם לאו, עשה בשביל בניה, דהיינו בניך, אלא אתה עסוק ללמד תורה ומצות לישראל, ואת בניך הנחת עמה והרחקתם מעליך
And he (Yisro) said to Moshe: [How was this conversation taking place?] Yisro spoke to Moshe through a messenger, R' Yehoshua says that he wrote a letter and sent it to his son in law. The letter read as follows: I am your father-in-law, Yisro, let me come to you... accept our love to become a family again... if not for me then for your wife... if not for your wife then for your sons... I am concerned for you are busy teaching Torah and Mitzvot to the Jewish people and your own sons have become estranged to you.
We are all familiar with the challenges faced by the children of clergy. Moshe himself was absent in his family while he took the Jews out of Egypt.
This short story nicely sums up some of the challenges of parenthood:
While Gov. Christie is genius in his down to earth nature in telling over this story about his family, you get the sense that there is one line that he lives his (public) family life by:
"Patrick feels like the center of the world"
In the busy lives that we live, the challenge that we face as working parents is to make our children feel like the center of our world.
The question I am left with though is how do we do that?