12 Shvat 5781 / Monday, January 25, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
 
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The Best Job on Earth    

The Best Job on Earth



I always thought I would go back to work after I had a baby. No, even more than that: I always assumed I would want to go back to work after I had a baby...

 



I always thought I would go back to work after I had a baby. No, even more than that: I always assumed I would want to go back to work after I had a baby.
 
I have always been “The Sophisticate” (to fully understand this reference, you absolutely must read Rabbi Shalom Arush’s incredible book B’Gan HaChochma – available in Hebrew, and with Hashem’s help, soon to be available in English – right here at www.breslev.co.il). I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern California, with all the additional hoopla – Phi Beta Kappa, Special Achievement Awards, you name it. I had so many cords and paraphernalia around my neck, I can't hope to remember what they all meant (although I think I did tag them all appropriately after graduation so I wouldn’t need to remember – more on what motherhood has done to my incredibly organized lifestyle G-d willing in future articles).
 
For as long as I can remember, people always told me that someone like me would never be happy being home with a baby. “You’re too sophisticated to be a stay at home mom” – surely, I will be so bored by all the feedings, and baby talk, and baby books, and everything. I will need to have “outside stimulation” to work and be with adults, and be able to have a “sophisticated” conversation instead of just babble. I will need the freedom and independence of working, and a much deserved break from the baby. I'm so smart, why should I waste it staying home! Really, a woman could go crazy being in the house all day! Certainly, I will be flying out the door to go to work after three months home on maternity leave!
 
And of course, I believed them.
 
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
 
Being home with my baby has proven to be the greatest joy of my life. Baby babble and all, it is also the most challenging job I've ever had – and by far the most rewarding. Being a mother has enabled me to flex emuna muscles that would have remained atrophied working behind some desk, where the stakes only go as far as making sure you keep your job – as opposed to having a life-long impact on this tiny, miniature person in the making.
 
Now that my little man is six months old, my husband and I were discussing work options that I could look into starting after Passover. It suddenly dawned on me – even though I absolutely loved the work I was doing before, I don’t want to go back to work! Why would I ever want to leave the most incredible job ever? I get the most tangible benefits of any job I've ever worked, right there in watching my little man grow and develop every day. I don’t have to wonder about how my job is benefiting the world, and trying to find meaning in the monotony. Even more, who on earth would I possibly entrust with raising my child, and being there for him in his formative moments, if not myself? To my baby, I am absolutely irreplaceable! Now that is job stability right there.
 
What I realized during our discussion is that the Western world has turned the reality of being a mother on its head. Modern culture does not give credence to the feminine art of being a wife and mother, and instead, values the male external achievements of money and prestige. Just think about the negative connotations that your mind conjures up in the word “housewife.” Personally, I think of some miserable 1950’s wife in an apron, constantly running at her husband’s beck and call. Instead, it gives value to the “corporate mom” who manages to run her home, be the perfect soccer mom, and hold down a plush job at the office to boot.
 
Nothing can be farther from the truth. In Hebrew, the word for a wife and mother is akeret habayit. The root is the same as the word ikkar – which means “essential” or “foremost.”  Hence, she is the essence of the home. She is the vortex around which everything else spins. She is the CEO of the home, and she is the crucial determining factor in her home’s long term outlook and potential. Judaism teaches that every person is an olam katan – a miniature world. Hence, her work is literally shaping worlds, and affecting generations to come! What could be more important than that?! Can booking a new client or finishing a big project possibly hope to touch its heels?
 
Even more, what other job is there in the entire world that only I can do, if not being a mother to my own flesh and blood? Is this not the definition of my tikkun – my personal mission in life – that Hashem put me on this earth to do? Did Hashem put me on this earth to write online help? If the woman is the akeret habayit, but she’s away at the office – then all that’s left at home is a big gaping hole. It’s inevitable that one day, it’s going to collapse in on itself. Why would I choose to do that to my family, if not because I believe my own role as a mother doesn’t have intrinsic worth, while having a fancy job title or illustrious career does?
 
This is what Rabbi Shalom Arush refers to in his book Women’s Wisdom – The Garden of Peace for Women. Many women have expressed their frustration to me regarding this section in the book. Rabbi Arush is not saying that women should not work, period. His own wife, Rabbanit Arush, works – wow does she work! She is like a superhuman doing incredible work for the Yeshiva, Chut Shel Chessed! Hashem should continue to give her strength and success! Rabbi Arush is saying that a woman must learn the value in her special role of being a mother, wife and running the household, and not willingly choose to give it up for some cheap job title or the money to buy yet another luxury or fad item that isn’t really needed. Don’t give up your real job that only you can do, a job with important and long-term ramifications, unless you really, really have to!
 
So now, when friends inevitably ask me: “You still haven’t gone back to work yet?” I'm very happy to answer that Baruch Hashem, Hashem has given me the free gift of being able to keep the best job on earth: Being an akeret habayit.

 
***
Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel. 


Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel's English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: rachel.avrahami@breslev.co.il.

 

 





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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  1.
  for everyone?
YY4/25/2012 6:16:14 AM
     
 
  2.
  Very nice post- interested in taking this a little further
Tzipporah4/23/2012 8:40:16 PM
     
 
  3.
  Mazal tov on starting your family!
Chava G.4/22/2012 10:54:17 AM
     
 

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