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Creating a  Solid Yesod (Foundation) for our Children: by  Aileen Landau

05/04/2021 03:53:52 PM


This week of the Omer correlates to the Kabbalistic theme of Yesod, foundation. Yesod refers to the foundation on which the world is built. Not unlike building a house, there must be something solid as an anchor. When one builds a house, a concrete foundation must be poured. The world, when God created it, rests on Yesod, a foundation. In this case, the foundation is not concrete; in fact, it is said, “God hangs the world on nothingness.” How can that be? It is Divine will - that  thing which exists when there is nothing else. 


It is fitting that this week's theme is overlapping with Mother’s Day this year. After all, mothers can be said to be the foundation for their children. Mothers support children as they begin to create their own worlds, just as God supported the world at its creation. But at the same time, just as God lets humankind make choices, and live with the consequences, so, too must mothers (and all parents). After all, the Talmud tells us, “A father is obligated to teach his son how to swim.” This can be interpreted literally, but in a broader sense, it tells us that we must teach our children to be independent. This is one of the most difficult lessons of parenthood, in my opinion. After all, we want our children to be successful, to shine. We want them to reflect well on us, to go into the world and do great things. But it’s hard not to help along the way. The challenge is helping without taking away that sense of independence, letting them try and live with the consequences of their actions. It starts small - letting go of your child’s hands so they can take their first steps and gets bigger over time (giving them the keys to the car, for example). This, too, is in the image of what God has done for us. In the beginning, God was close by - talking to Abraham and Moses, performing miracles. Then God stepped back, speaking through prophets and still performing some miracles. Until finally stepping back and letting humankind develop resilience. It is that step that is the hardest one to take but one that we must. To circle back to yesod - if we have created a firm foundation, the house will not fall.

Saturday, July 31 2021 22 Av 5781