Linda Pardes Friedburg
Linda Pardes Friedburg
Russian-speaking American Israeli Community-building Mom

Splitting the Sea – Marrying and Mothering

The Seventh Day of Passover is the day the Sea of Reeds split, and when each Jew walking through experienced an unparalleled level of spiritual revelation. Finding the right life mate is as difficult as Splitting the Sea, says the Talmud, and when it happens, we too are hopefully propelled to a new level.

My circle of single friends in their 30s includes both those who hope to marry and have children as soon as possible, and those who feel no immediate need to build family.

Many of the latter grew up in cultures that were not as child-focused as Israel, to put it mildly (i.e., post-Soviet), and in my conversations with them, I have had to formulate a cerebral response to the question, “Why bear children”?

Aside from my faith in God’s plan for this world (“be fruitful and multiply”), my pseudo-scientific analysis is that marriage and kids increase our giving quotient in life. We expend tremendous energy but also disproportionately increase the love that encompasses all of our existence.

“To those whom you give, you love.” (Rav Eliyahu Dessler, Michtav M’Eliyahu)

Raising children is also a great catalyst for improving character and human sensitivity. No one told me, for example, that the teenager who shuns hugs is actually the one who needs them, and our attention, the most. Or that older kids sometimes appreciate when you “bother” them behind their closed doors to talk for a few minutes and say goodnight.

I am so grateful that I have younger kids to make different mistakes with, and feel that I have emerged better for this journey.

I also know that my mood totally sets the tone in our house – warmth, patience, optimism and energy are contagious, but so are the opposite, heaven help us.

I definitely draw inspiration from Miriam, my Hebrew namesake. I was born this week, before the Seventh Day of Pesach, when we we read the account of her leading the women in the Song of the Sea:

“And Miriam the Prophet, Aharon’s sister, took her timbrel in her hand and went out before the women with timbrels and dancing…” (Shmot 15:20)

Kudos to Miriam and all the mothers of Israel who redeemed us from Egypt three millennia ago, and who continue to redeem little and big souls every day with their love, hard work, song, faith, and figuring things out…

To all my dear friends who are seeking or wavering, may you not only find love very soon, but also the courage to jump Nachshon-style into that Sea. May it open wide before you, with endless possibilities of joy, growth, and pure, unadulterated “naches.”

Happy Seventh Day of Pesach and Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
Linda Pardes Friedburg made Aliyah from New Jersey in 1990. She is Founding Director of Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli National Jewish Leadership Initiative for Young Russian-Speaking Israelis, is grateful for her six kids and one Belarussian husband, and still feels the need to pinch herself every time she drives up the hill to Neve Daniel, Gush Etzion, their home since 1994. www.en.shishi.co.il
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