The Adult We’ve Become

Not long ago, I was sent a picture of myself at a very young age. As it was just before Yom Kippur, I began to wonder about the person in that picture — what would he think of the adult he had become?

When we are young we have aspirations and assumptions about life. Some are confirmed, some denied and still others hang uncertainly just before us in the path of life. But it is worthwhile to think back on what we believed about ourselves when we began.

The child, wrote Wordsworth, is father to the man. We grow out of what we have been, and the buds are still visible in the branches. The Torah provides many examples: Moses is saved in a basket — “tevah” — the same word used for Noah’s Ark, and he ends up saving his people, just as the word foreshadows. We first encounter David as a young shepherd, leading the flock as later he will lead Israel.

We examine our childhood psychologically, but we should also think of it spiritually. What sort of people did we admire? Did we become that sort of person? If not, there is still time to make the child we were happy with the adult we have become.

Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe. His latest book, “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press), has recently been published.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.