Packing for Mitzvah

I spend all of my time thinking about sending Jewish children to Jewish summer camp. It is funny when I pause to realize that two of my own children are actually away at summer camp right now. I love that they love it. I am happy for them and I can admit that it is validating to me and my work.

Just a few weeks ago we were packing the boys up for camp. I can admit that it was difficult. There were moments that we were not our best selves. How could we figure out what to pack and what not to pack? It was really helpful to have a list; I would have been lost without it. I was thinking about that list and our packing when reading Parshat Eikev, this week’s Torah portion.

In the Third Aliyah Mosche tells the Israelites that they will inherit the Land of Israel not due to their own merits and righteousness, but because of the promise God made to the Patriarchs. In fact, Mosche reminds them of the many times they angered God while in the desert, placing special emphasis on the sin of the Golden Calf, when God would have annihilated the Israelites if not for Mosche’s successful intercession on their behalf. He also makes brief reference to the other times when the Israelites rebelled against God. And then in the Fourth Aliyah Mosche recounts how after the Golden Calf debacle, God commanded him to carve two new tablets to engrave the Ten Commandments, to replace the first set of tablets which Moses had shattered.

And there we read:

At that time the Lord said to me: ‘Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto Me into the mount; and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tables which thou didst break, and thou shalt put them in the ark.’ (Deuteronomy 10:1-2)

What can we learn from the fact that both the broken tablets and the new Tablets go into the Ark?

As a parent I know I make mistakes. I am not perfect and I thank God every day for bringing my children into my life if for nothing else so you can remind me of this fact.

Can I come to peace with the old Tablets and the New Tablets? Can I come to grips with the life I want for my kids and the lives they write for themselves.  Thank God for the packing list. They both get placed/packed in the ark. I know that my children will forge their own path and I will always be there for them. I am very excited to see where this journey leads them. I am sure when they come back from camp we will get a glimpse of what their lives will look like in the future.  Both are holy and will be packed for life. 


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