Question of the Week:
I know this sounds petty but I cant stand making lunches for my
kids. Every night I am just about to fall into bed exhausted, and just
then I remember that I need to make sandwiches. I still do it, but I
cant say I do it with love. I guess I feel that much of my life is
taken up with mundane things like packing lunchboxes. Must I resign to
that fact that my life has boiled down to making tuna sandwiches?
Making tuna sandwiches is far from mundane. It is a holy activity.
With every lunchbox you pack you are performing a sacred duty, one that
dates back to the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
In ancient Israel, the Temple in Jerusalem was the focus of Jewish
spiritual life. It was the home of G-d in which the Kohanim, the
priests, and their assistants the Levites brought sacrifices, burnt
incense and spent their days meditating and singing to G-d.
This priestly tribe lived a life completely dedicated to
spirituality. They did not have jobs, did not own property, but rather
devoted themselves to studying G-ds laws and singing His praises. They
represented the entire Jewish people before G-d, and through their
service they brought down divine blessing for the entire world. To do
this, they had to be well educated in matters of the spirit and totally
focused on their mission.
But they had to eat. You cant study and pray for the world all day
on an empty stomach. And so the rest of the Israelite nation would
provide the material needs of the priestly tribe. People would bring
offerings of food and donations of money to the Temple to support the Kohanim. It was a reciprocal relationship. In return for the holy
service the Kohanim provided, their every need was looked after, and
they were free to completely focus on their spiritual tasks without
having to worry about paying the bills or doing the shopping. The
priests brought G-ds blessing to the people. The people brought them
Today we no longer have the Holy Temple, and so we do not have the
service of the Kohanim to bring us blessing. But we have a substitute
our precious children. They are our holy priests, innocent and pure
souls who go to school every day, say their prayers and study the Torah
without a worry in the world. When children sing their songs and learn
the Hebrew letters, their voices reach the highest heavens, just as the
service of the Kohanim in the Temple used to do in the days of old. And
when G-d hears their voices, so pure and sweet, He showers us with
blessings and love.
But if children are the priests serving G-d, parents are the
supporters providing their needs. When you make tuna sandwiches, you are
ensuring that your little Kohen will have the sustenance he needs to do
his work. When you stretch yourself to pay the school fees and ensure
your child has an authentic Jewish education, you are donating toward
the upkeep of the Temple, the safe and pure sanctuary in which your
childs soul can thrive. And when you give up on luxuries and personal
ambitions to be able to support your childs education, you have brought
a true sacrifice on G-ds altar.
So next time you mash the mayonnaise into the tuna and wrap up the
sandwiches for your holy little priests, remember that you are
fulfilling a sacred task, providing their needs so they can learn
carefree. As much as you are giving them, they are giving you back far