Rebecca Masinter

Parshas Eikev - Meaningful Mothering

Why is changing diapers meaningful? What's inspiring about playing Candyland three times in a row?  Many mothers, swimming in summer activities, are questioning the value of their daily activities as they hang up the wet bathing suits one more time. Fortunately, Parshas Eikev comes at just the right time to remind us of a central mitzvah. Twice in this Parshah Moshe tells us לָלֶ֤כֶת בְּכׇל־דְּרָכָיו֙, we must walk in the ways of Hashem.  Be like Hashem!  How can a human being possibly be similar to Hashem? Rashi solves the riddle by teaching that just as He is merciful, we should be merciful, as He acts with kindness, we should act with kindness.  We are able to walk in the ways of Hashem by bestowing kindness on other people. 


At every moment of every day, Hashem grants goodness to us. He gifts us with life, food, clothes, family, resources, and strength. While every human has the ability and mandate to similarly grant goodness to others, parents are in a unique position to give kindness, life, food, clothes, and so much more all day long, just as Hashem does. 


Motherhood doesn’t come with a great salary or prestige.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that other people are doing vitally important things or that the important things we do are few and far between. Parshas Eikev reminds us that each dish we wash, each shoelace we tie, each story we read has infinite value.  “Laleches b’chol drachav”.  When we smile at a child and lift his spirits, we are being like Hashem. At every moment of the day, we’re not “just mothers”, we're living a life reflecting Hashem.