From Valley to Mountaintop, Parenting Insights from the Parasha

As very devoted parents we would love to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our children on the altar of unconditional love.

However, did we ever establish any goal plan and schedule of a structured program to follow, so we can maintain our relationships with them and keep a safe balance in achieving our target?

Indeed, each child is different and inquires a suitable approach fitting his personality and character, but the basic rules and the fundamental platform apply to all children (with no exceptions).

What does the concept of love mean for us?

A loving attitude is an expression of a focus on the needs of others (excluding the concerns of our outcomes and benefits from our personal investment).

We would like that our children develop proper skills and make academic progress, yet what we are mostly anxious for is to be able to lead them cautiously and successfully on the road from the deepest valley to the tip of the mountain, so they can enjoy the fascinating endless pleasure, and saturate their unquenchable thirst.

“Israel,” Moshe (before his passing) told the Jewish nation is different than Egypt the country of straight grounds and the area of planting fields is much more limited than the space on the mountains and valleys that cover Israel.

Farmers in Egypt exerted their legs and shoulders while walking long distances to the Nile River and carried heavy buckets of water back to their crops while in Israel the rain water come streaming down from the sky. Therefore, there was no need for this kind of torcher which the farmers in Egypt experienced.

Chassidus extends our horizons and broadens our views of the world in which we live and clarifies for us how the various physical objects and concepts are reflected in relationship to our spiritual blossoming.

Every mountain creates a valley and every valley a mountain. We see this concept when, for example, we seal a stamp on a wax sheet. If the seal letters stand out as a hill, they will make a deep impression in the wax, as a shape of a valley. The opposite also holds true.

Hashem’s concealment as a valley in heaven and the separation of the spark from his essence (as a indented seal) is meant to create our thirst to thrive with a longing elevation, like a mountain in order to be attached.

Can we create such rich sensations in our children’s hearts and souls? Can we introduce to them a standard where they play the role of the land of Israel?

In Hebrew The word “ארץ” (land) reflects eagerness, yearning, elevation, as fire and “רצון” (will) and “רץ” meaning “running”. When one has a strong will, he runs excitedly to achieve his wish.

How can we kindle the flame of our wishes, goals and values which we acknowledge in our children’s hearts, so they too should be racing to this, as if it was their own dream of life?

If we can only provide them with their necessary needs and keep rewarding them for each additional accomplishment that they invested in effort and labor, we will earn their trust.

Is trust love or respect and fear?

Love is more comfortable than respect and fear. When one fears, he is not allowed to carry out some of his greatest desires and it leads him to a harsh and demanding level of nullification, where it seems to reflect the concept of ’valley’ reflection.

At a young age, a child’s soul calls for embracement of fiery warmth, affection and love. If he received the above accordingly, his feelings will rise and will turn to us in the form of a ‘mountain’.

Love, the symbol of a mountain is the cause for our fulfilling 248 commandments.

When observing them, we draw the light into the vessels of the מצווה, i.e. Hashem’s light that hides within these vessels in the form of a ‘valley’. Since it’s hidden, we therefore can’t have an overpowering sensation of it.

But when a child matures and mellows, we put our emphasis on our path of his חינוך to encourage him, strengthening the attributes of the trade of his obedience, self-control and the ability to conquer his negative characteristics.

We try to mold him into a role of a ‘valley’ which expresses nullification.

When a Jew reaches this high standard, his” valley” attitude is the source of his energy and strength for a stage of מסירות נפש not to transgress any of the forbidden commandments.

This step grants him ’mountains’ of the Shechina which cannot enter any vessel because it is limitless, bright and glory and it embraces him, protecting him from any unpredictable negative factors.

In the same sense, when a person fulfills the 365 prohibitions, which expresses nullification (’valley’), one receives an intense G-d’ly energy (in contrast to fulfillment of 248 commandments [‘mountain’] but it is concealed and does not impact the person).

We may experience this opportunity on a daily basis at the peak of our prayer when we recite שמונה עשרה.

We stand straight upright as Angels with our feet close to each other, demonstrating the fact that we are not ready to move on for our own needs. We whisper and do not move and or bow down, as a sign of complete state of nullification.

While love and warmth are the sources to kindle the flame of our ’mountain’s’ actions, the ‘valley’ represents the element of water. Water, the opposite of fire, descends form, above to below, signifying nullification [this is why the libations of water and not wine, was poured on the Altar].

When will we finally merit to taste the delight of the ‘reviving water’?

When will Hashem pour on us his glory from the peak of the ‘mountain’ [הר ההר] where our awakening cannot lift us up there, on our own? – (ע”פ לקוטי תורה פ’ עקב. אור התורה פ’ עקב ע’ תרל)  הוגה ע”י הרב מיכאל זליגסון.

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