Posts Tagged 'eldest child'

Tu B’Av Shop

Today we celebrate Tu B’Av. About which we read:

Tu B’Av, the 15th of Av, was a joyous holiday in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem. Unmarried girls would dress in simple white clothing (so that rich could not be distinguished from poor) and go out to sing and dance in the vineyards surrounding Jerusalem to find their matches. (Ta’anit 30b-31a)

There are many ways that we distinguish ourselves from each other by our clothing. In these choices we see taste and style, but we can also see how we spend money and communicate our class. In the words of Macklemore in his hit song Thrift Shop:

They be like, ‘Oh, that Gucci- that’s hella tight.’ I’m like, “Yo- that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt’. Limited edition, let’s do some addition. Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant”

It is entertaining, feel free to watch the video:

It is absurd how much attention we give to our clothing. But not giving any thought into what we wear is also not a good thing.

This morning we sent our eldest child to overnight camp for the first time. It is interesting to reflect on the role of clothing at camp. Camp is a place where we do not all need to be the same to be equal. In camp we are all part of a big family and many of us share our clothing. And despite the fact that I spend a long time yesterday putting labels on all of his clothes, I am pretty certain that the clothing we sent with him to camp is not what will come back.

Our son does not own expensive clothing, but it was still nice to see him want to change his shirt this morning. He changed from a t-shirt to a collared shirt. He wanted to look nice for this day of meeting new people. I know that he just left, but I am already looking forward to his return. I know that he will find joy from the camp t-shirt that he will bring him back. For years to come this humble t-shirt will remind him of a place in which we was an equal as a member of a vibrant community. And he might even meet his match?

Out of Sight

In  Va’Etchanan, this week’s Torah portion we read the first paragraph of the Sh’ma -the Jewish credo. There we read:

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the door-posts of your house, and upon your gates. (Deuteronomy 6: 4- 9)

These words are familiar to many of us. We rarely stop to think about what they mean. Surely we are even less likely to stop to ask why we cover our eyes when we say the Sh’ma?

One explanation is that for the Jewish creed, there is a presumption that God has no form. It follows that our deepest faith is in something that we will never experience with our eyes. In covering our eyes it is as if we are saying, “I believe in You/you even when I do not see You/you”. To what degree is this true for us in other relationships in our lives? Do we feel like we are part of this community even when we do not see each other?

On Monday we are sending our eldest child to overnight camp for the first time. Do we trust him even when we do not have an eye on him? Do we trust the staff of the camp to take care of him? The answers are yes and yes. And further, camp is an amazing place in which he will be able to explore “these words” at all points of the day and in all media of expression. It is important  that our son has the space to explore Judaism and his role in the  community  beyond our watchful eyes. I am confident that giving him this own space at camp will ensure his commitment to the Jewish project. The only question is how he will he keep connected with his camp friends after the summer when he can no longer sees them.

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