Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Torah Connection - Baha'alotkha

This week, the sacred tasks are handed to the various sub-groups of priests, the first post-exodus Passover is celebrated, and life settles into something of a routine for the traveling former slaves.  Alas, boredom leads to whining, and whining - as we all know - leads to parental fatigue:
10 Moses heard the people weeping, every clan apart, each person at the entrance of his tent. The Lord was very angry, and Moses was distressed. 11 And Moses said to the Lord, "Why have You dealt ill with Your servant, and why have I not enjoyed Your favor, that You have laid the burden of all this people upon me? 12 Did I conceive all this people, did I bear them, that You should say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries an infant,' to the land that You have promised on oath to their fathers? 13 Where am I to get meat to give to all this people, when they whine before me and say, 'Give us meat to eat!' 14 I cannot carry all this people by myself, for it is too much for me. 15 If You would deal thus with me, kill me rather, I beg You, and let me see no more of my wretchedness!"

Moses is likening himself to an adoptive parent!  And he is resenting the peoples' growing pains.And G*d responds,
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Gather for Me seventy of Israel's elders of whom you have experience as elders and officers of the people, and bring them to the Tent of Meeting and let them take their place there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will draw upon the spirit that is on you and put it upon them; they shall share the burden of the people with you, and you shall not bear it alone.
Wow - the solution to parental fatigue is - community!  Who'd'a thunk?
He continues:
18 And say to the people: Purify yourselves for tomorrow and you shall eat meat, for you have kept whining before the Lord and saying, 'If only we had meat to eat! Indeed, we were better off in Egypt!' The Lord will give you meat and you shall eat. 19 You shall eat not one day, not two, not even five days or ten or twenty, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you. For you have rejected the Lord who is among you, by whining before Him and saying, 'Oh, why did we ever leave Egypt!'"
The answer to the whining is to provide such plenty that plates are turned back.  How similar to stories of adopted children, who typically hoard both food and possessions until they are secure in the knowledge that their new family will continue to provide, and that food will always be available.

The title of this parsha - "Baha'alotkha" - literally means "as you raise up".  In context it refers to the ceremonial lamps, but this seems like good advice for "raising up" children, as well.

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