Saturday, December 12, 2009

My remarks at last night's Shalom Zachar

Thank you, everyone, for coming to join in our Simcha. And thanks to my in-laws, for hosting this shalom zachar.

I'd like to just share a quick thought that occurred to me in the delivery room. I've always had a quirky explanation of the "punishments" dealt out to Adam, Chava, and the Nachash in parshas Bereishis. I maintain that it is no punishment at all. Rather, there is an allegorical point being made in the Gan Eden narrative. Man was *intended* to defy this first command and eat from the Etz HaDaas, and it was no magical fruit, but the very act of bechira which demonstrated that he had knowledge of Good and Evil, and could choose between them. And the punishments are not punishments per se, but rather the intended state of the world.
There are rewards in this world, as well as the next, but mankind is not supposed to just sit back and receive them. Rather, there is *supposed* to be struggle, with the world and with one's yetzer, and indeed, the reward is considered all the more valuable as a result of the effort expended to achieve it. A slightly different meaning of lefum tzaara agra. For the man, this was illustrated by the example of working to gain sustenance. For the woman, this was illustrated by the example of the pain of childbirth. Yet the payoff is worth the suffering; because in pain you bring forth *children*, and despite it all, her desire is towards her husband.

That thought was going through my mind because I noticed that in the hospital, they had two monitors running in parallel. One was the fetal heart monitor, which showed the baby's heart-beat. And the other measured the intensity of contractions. And though it wasn't intended as such, it seemed like the former was a reminder of the purpose of the latter; and why it was all worth it.

Of course, they weren't *my* contractions, so I shouldn't be the one proclaiming this. But I know that Racheli agrees with me that Baby was worth it. And to a lesser extent, the same is true about tzaar gidul banim, and the more immediate lack of sleep. And it is a good thought to keep in mind in the years ahead.

I'll close my expressing my hakaras hatov to Hashem, for giving us this wonderful gift; to my parents and Racheli’s parents, for going through their own tzaar gidul banim which got us to this point; to [Junior], for all the happiness he's given us by being our son, and for being such a good big older brother and setting an example for this latest bundle of joy. And we'd also like to express appreciation to all of you for coming to share in our joy at this latest bundle.


E-Man said...

Mazal tov, very nice insights.

Yosef Greenberg said...

Mazel tov!

May you be zocheh to raise to Torah, chupah & ma'asim tovim.

Hillel said...

Mazal tov! Well done! (though I suspect Racheli did most of the work...)

GilaB said...

Mazel tov! I will try to make it on Monday.

Natan Slifkin said...

Mazel tov, R' Josh! May you enjoy much nachas from him! Hope everyone is well.

Devorah said...

Mazel tov. I Look forward to reading the baby's comments on this blog in the near future!

yaak said...

Mazal Tov!

May he grow in Torah, Huppah and Ma'asim Tovim, and may his Berit be Bizmano.

joshwaxman said...

thanks, everyone, for the well-wishes!


IudaismRo said...

Open antisemitic attack in Moldova

An orthodox priest overthrows the Hanuka in Chisinau Moldova

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Mazal Tov!


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