Rav Yitzchak Arama, author of the Akeidat Yitzchak in his commentary on Sefer Bereishit writes profoundly about the two names that were given to the first woman, “isha” and “chava.” :
“Originally, Adam had called Chava "Isha", emphasizing her parity with man, i.e., Ish. After the episode with the tree of Knowledge, he called her Chava, emphasizing the female element within her, and the fact that she was the mother of all subsequent human beings. Between these two names, the two functions of woman are defined. On the one hand, as the "eshet chayil," woman of valor, she possesses all the ingredients that can raise her to the status of prophetess; on the other hand, her function is to become a mother. A woman who fails to give birth, just like a man who is sterile, has not forfeited her major function in life, as is proven from Yeshaya 56:3-5: "Let not the barren proclaim I am but a dried put tree." We hold the view that man's major function is the performance of good deeds, something quite independent of procreation. If Ya'akov had been angry at Rachel for demanding children, else her life would not be worth living, it was precisely for this reason. (Rabbi Yitzchak Arama, Akedat Yitzchak, Bereishit 9)”
The fusing of the two names of “isha” and “chava” is part and parcel of my daily existence. I am on the one hand a person with my own personal and independent goals in avodat Hashem and yet my role as a mother is both intrinsic to and definitive of my avodah in this world. The transition from ‘single’ to ‘married’ to ‘mother’ so completely transformed my relationship to Hashem and the daily nisyonot that I face that I feel that I am still ‘catching up’. I am trying my best to do my best at the hardest and yet profoundly important jobs of being a wife and mother. My middot are stretched, my creativity is called upon, and the thought of a few consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep seems light years away.
The daily questions for me now are not just how I will structure my time this year to make sure that the busyness of this world does not swallow me up or wondering if I will accomplish all that I want to during my time on this earth. Those fears do still follow me. But the questions that fill up my days and my time also sound something like this: How should I respond when my child doesn’t listen to me time and time again to fulfill a simple request, will I keep my cool and respond effectively? How do I instill within my children a holistic approach to avodat Hashem through their daily experiences? What’s the best way to get my three little boys up and out in the morning which will leave them and me with smiles on our faces as we start out the day?
These questions are not auxiliary to my relationship to Hashem but are the constant opportunities that I face that require internal work. Will I merely survive these experiences or will my family and I thrive because of them?
While the year in Nishmat was an important one for me it was a stop on the journey of life. The following years demanded of me to take the emet I had discovered and continue to discover and to translate it into the full range of life experiences. Utilizing these seemingly disparate moments and evolving roles in life for the same purpose: growth in avodat Hashem.שיעורים נוספים ניתן למצוא בקטגוריות הבאות: בראשית
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