What is the best way for a woman to feel good while dealing with the pressures of childrearing and housework?
Now, that’s an important question because a great deal of time and effort are invested in that and it pays to utilize them. First and foremost: To do whatever you do and say, “I’m doing it for the service of Hashem.” That sounds queer because people never thought of that. As you pick up a squalling baby, say, “I’m doing it because Hashem says, ואהבת לרעך כמוך – I love my fellow man.” The baby is also your fellowman, after all. “It’s my fellowman, this baby, and I want to help him.” That’s a mitzvas asei. The little fellowman is sad; he’s distressed and he’s shrieking and you try to calm him – ואהבת לרעך כמוך. Think about that.
When you’re handing out food to your family sitting at the table – they say, “Ma, give us some bread”, and you think: “נותן לחם לכל בשר כי לעולם חסדו, I am a shaliach of Hashem.” Your daughter wants a piece of bread: “Here’s your slice of bread,” and you’re whispering to yourself, “Hashem is giving you the bread.” When you’re baking, you’re thinking: נותן לחם לכל בשר. When you’re doing anything in the kitchen, preparing food, so you’re imitating the middah of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. What’s His middah? What’s Hakodosh Baruch Hu doing? יושב וזן – He’s sitting and feeding the world, מקרני ראמים עד ביצי כינים – from the biggest animal to the smallest insects. Hashem is feeding the world and He is the model for all the mothers who stand and labor in the kitchen; they’re feeding their little world! That’s how a person should think.
Whatever you do in the house; even when you’re washing diapers, it’s l’sheim shamayim. You’re serving Hakodosh Boruch Hu. And therefore a woman, if she has the right preparation, with a little thought, she can transform all these menial tasks that a gentile girl can also do, and she transforms them into avodas Hashem. And let me tell you, it’s no less than a kohen in the Beis Hamikdash. Anybody who serves Hakodosh Boruch Hu with a lev shaleim, לעשות רצונו ולעבדו בלבב שלם – to serve Him with a whole heart, למען לא ניגע לריק – in order that the labor shouldn’t be in vain, ולא נלד לבהלה, and so that we shouldn’t be producing for no purpose, is like a kohen doing the avodah in the Beis Hamikdash. It’s a pity to “waste” our lives in taking care of children, and in cleaning the house when we could have done the same work as people who are working in the Beis Hamikdash – you’re being meshameish like Levi’im who are sweeping up in the azarah. You’re serving Hakadosh Baruch Hu and everything is transformed into gold, whereas otherwise it remains nothing but tin – a waste of opportunity and a lost life.
TAPE # 467