Sunday, May 8, 2016

What's Wrong with Mother's Day?


There are always people who complain about Mother's Day, Father's Day, Secretaries Day... You get the idea. It's a "Hallmark Holiday", why celebrate, every day should be Mother's Day etc.

The truth is yes, every day should be Mother's Day - but that isn't the case. Mother's Day is a day set aside to show our appreciation to our mothers, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Showing appreciation is a huge Jewish concept called Hakarat Hatov, recognizing the good that people (and G-d) do for us. It's very easy to get muddled in the day to day grind... we do need to take the time to recognize and see the good that is done for us. It gives us a completely different perspective on life. The world isn't that dark and scary place that it seems as we watch the news reports. We see the good done for us and innately we want to pay it back or pay it forward. The world automatically becomes a better place one person at a time.

It is custom to read a chapter of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) every Shabbat afternoon between Passover and Shavuot as preparation for receiving the Torah. This past week we read there:
Chapter 1: Mishnah 15: Shammai said: Make the study [of the Torah] a fixed habit; say little and do much; and receive everyone with a cheerful countenance.
What a succinct piece of Torah.

*Every day is so busy, it's hard to take the time to learn Torah, but we must set aside time! Even five minutes to show us what life is about, to clear the clouds away.

*As we see (all the time) there are plenty of big talkers out there - but very little getting done. It seems almost self-evident.

*Have you smiled today? At your family? At your children, at your partner? At a stranger on the street? Isn't it easier to smile at random unrelated people (unfortunately)?

I think that mothers epitomize this saying. As mothers we are always trying to improve ourselves, learning new techniques to deal with new situations arising with our children, trying to do what we say we'll do, working 24/7 with no time off, and while still exhausted - keeping cheerful and friendly to those around us (coffee helps!).

So to everyone out there who has a mother - take the time to show Hakarat Hatov to them and those who have done so much for you. Have a great day!

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