Here’s to the Future

man putting a box of clothes on top of a bed with striped sheets

  Psalm 8:4
Infant tongues testify to Your strength,
In spite of Your adversaries
Even thus do You silence Your enemies.

Midrash on Psalm 8:4 • derived from “The Greatest Jewish Stories Ever Told”

The mixed multitude of the people of Israel, having been liberated from that narrow place—Mitzrayim—were gathered bamidbar, in the wilderness, at the bottom of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

The Holy One wanted nothing more than to entrust these beloved people with the perfect gift, a treasure for all time—the Torah. So precious was this gift, The Holy One wanted to make sure that the Israelites would understand how important a gift this was…and use it and cherish it and live by it for all time.

So G!d asks for a surety. Their guarantee.

The people of Israel can’t imagine what they could possibly give to G!d for this most precious gift… After staying up all night long, they finally find the answer. Their only surety must be their most precious gift in this world… their children.

And at that very moment in time, G!d pours out the Torah into their little ones.

“Out of your mouths, my little ones, have I given the Torah to all the people Israel and to all the world! As they live by it, so shall you live, and as you live, so shall the world remain alive!”

Erev Shavuot

And a wise friend of mine replied: “Maybe what this all means is that our children have more faith in the future than we have.”

We’re commiserating about the back-breaking burdens of our children’s transition to adulthood.

It’s the week before Shavuot. My husband is deployed across the other side of the world. My 21-year old, Hal, decides now is the time to move into his own apartment. We’re battling every day.

I hear myself saying things like: “Right now all you have to worry about is saving money and getting yourself into a car.” “You have a roof over your head, food to eat, and transportation.” “How are you going to be able to afford the apartment, the security deposit, the utilities, the food, the car, the insurance.” “Do you know what a risk this is.” “What happens if you don’t find a full-time job or income to support this.”

And he’s looking at me like I’m his enslaver. I’m his Mitzrayim… his narrow place.

I call my parents in hysterics… like 3,000 miles away they can do something!? Actually they do. My dad calms me down… and says, “Look at this as a good thing. If he’s pushing for independence this hard then he must be ready. Pack him a sandwich!”

My friend calls it launching a child.

As a grownup I like to see all the “ducks” in order before making choices.

My order:
Get a full-time job
Save money
Get a car
Get a better year-round job
Save more money
Have the security deposit for rent
Have a “cushion” for furniture

Hal’s order:
Figure it all out later.

Invite friends to share the apartment with me. No, they don’t have jobs… yet.
Hope it works out.
Continue to borrow my mother’s car.
Take the old furniture in our house.
Why is my mom screaming at me?

And I was thinking: How profound, especially counting down to Shavuot. They say G!d sends us children to teach us the lessons that we refuse to learn as adults.

A shehecheyanu moment in time. We wouldn’t have made it to this day if it hadn’t been for that hopeful optimistic view that it will work out no matter what. We appreciate and celebrate these moments. Our people know how to embrace the unknown. Miriam took her tambourine. Nachson ben Aminadav took that first jump into the sea, which made me think that the folks who were up front journeying from Mitzrayim through bamidbar must have been in their 20s!

Because as my wise friend said: “Maybe what this all means is that our children have more faith in the future than we have.”

A truth this Erev Shavuot, I have had to relearn.

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