Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Tishrei 5766 - October 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

On Parenting Moshiach
by Risa Rotman

Twenty years or so ago, I was lucky to have come to Israel on a teenage tour. In the evenings they'd often start one of these open forums. They said it was to make us think. One particlar night I wasn't in a thinking mood. The idea behind the program actually had a valuable purpose but I wasn't feeling so cooperative. We were asked to write our own obituary the way we'd like to see it. Obituary? I was a teenager touring Israel. This was not my idea of fun. It seemed too macabre. I must say, that overall, I did present myself as a quite mature young lady, but I wasn't planning my death. Of course, what they really wanted us to do was to plan our life.

Not being overly rebellious, I would go along with the program in my own way. I decided to reach high. What could be higher than being the wife of Moshiach? But then I thought of Tzipora, wife of Moshe Rabbenu — The Godol Hador. It didn't sound like she had it so easy. No, if I was going to do this right, I would also have some fun. Then I thought back to a certain relative who felt she had really climbed the social ladder when her son became a doctor. I'm being totally serious when I say that every other sentence of hers was punctuated with, "My son the doctor." That gave me a great idea for writing this obituary, "I Mothered Moshiach."

I went on to write such nonsense about myself. How I had the best parenting skills, gave to my children selflessly day and night and had the finished product to prove it. Admittedly, not really participating in the program properly, I probably lost an opportunity to examine in which way I'd like my life to go. So twenty years later I began to think about parenting and Moshiach. What an awesome responsibilty it would be for the parents who would be privileged to be assigned such a task. They themselves would have to be people of such superior caliber. After all, Yishai, father of David Hamelech, was a perfect tzaddik, himself. This is something that I have absolutely no claim to.

In our mishkabobul society, one wonders how one would go raising such a child. Would any cheder, yeshiva ketana, or gedola be good enough? Not to mention friends. Would Moshiach have to grow up in a rural setting as opposed to the hustle and bustle of city life? After all, Dovid, the Ovos and Moshe Rabbenu were all shepherds. What would be the equivalent today? Certainly not a used car salesman. How could anyone in today's generation of billboards and flashing lights ensure the purity of such a lofty soul. Then, again, isn't that the task of all parents? Perhaps I have missed the point altogether. Perhaps every child should be raised as if he had the potential to be Moshiach. After all, who knows what greatness is in store for any Jew ever?

A friend recently mentioned to me that she gave birth to her second son on Tisha B'Av. Someone suggested they call him Moshiach, who, tradition has it, is born on that date. This suggester thought it would sound quite authentic as my friend's husband's name is Dovid; thus their son could be known as Moshiach Ben Dovid. My friend and her husband declined the idea. (They did give him the beautiful name of Shalom Eliyahu.)

Probably the most touching story about someone potentially parenting Moshiach happened when I was newly married and expecting our first child. Friends had just had their second child and first boy, born just after Tisha B'av was over. Everyone teased them how they had lost out. Now their son couldn't be Moshiach. At the baby's sholom zochor, the father said one of the most thought-out things I'd heard. This new father said he was glad to know that his son wouldn't be Moshiach. He didn't want to wait that long.


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