I hope everybody had a good set of yomim tovim. Ours was very nice, thank you. Busy, but nice.
My soon-to-be 11-year-old davened with me this year, as he has in the past two years for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year, however, was different. He stayed in davening the entire time, all three days. And that’s with getting up at 5:15 a.m. I was thinking about that and comparing it to me when I was his age. I remember having to go to shul even for a couple of hours was pure torture, and here he is staying in shul, in the davening for six hours each day of Rosh Hashanah and all day on Yom Kippur. Obviously, there are some “slight” differences in the way I grew up and he grew up, and I guess that is the key towards his mentality.
It always upset me when I heard secular Jewish parents get upset because their children married out. Yet, they refuse to take any responsibility for making sure that their children received a proper Jewish education in the first place. Or even more importantly, if every other mitzvah was clearly not important to the parent, why should this one mitzvah be important to the child?
Which brings us to something in this week’s parsha.
“And G-d saw all that He had made and behold it was very good” (Bereishis 1:31).
The Medresh (Bereishis Rabbah 9:5) says that the words “very good” refer to death. Which raises the obvious question: why would death be considered “very good”?
Rav Shach says that for somebody who is righteous, there is no fear of the day of death. Many people, when confronting the end of their lives, often wonder “What have I done with my life? Have I made a difference?” which often leads to depression.
However, a person who can honestly say, “I did my very best," knows that he has nothing to fear. In fact, he will be happy knowing that he did everything that he could do.
Society focuses a lot on outcome. G-d doesn’t. He asks for nothing more than that each person puts in their 100 percent. Once, my rav told me of his great-grandfather. He did not know him personally, and the only thing his mother remembers about him, was when he would come home after work, he would always be learning. So my rav asked me, “So, who do you think has a bigger portion in the Next World? Him or Rav Eliashuv? I’ll tell you who; they probably both have the same. Why? Because they both pushed themselves as far as they can go, and that’s what’s important.”
So, when it comes down to personal development or child raising, if one did his best, even if things did not work out as he hoped for, he still can be happy, because he did his job fully.
With that I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!