Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In Honor of my Racheli

This is my Racheli. She loves dragonflies and the color green, she loves music and to dance. She is a wonderful cook and can run a house. She is a poet and a tender heart. She is my right hand and personal assistant. She loves
G-d and His Holy Torah. She is my hero, the 'wind beneath my wings'.


Today is the 12th of Av and my oldest daughter Racheli turns 18 on the Hebrew calendar. On the regular calendar she has been 18 for over a week and a half. She is "chai" now, the numerical equivalent to the number 18 in Hebrew. 18=Chai=life.

Here is something interesting I found:

"The main thing that we can learn from 18, Chai, is the fulfillment of Torah and commandments (mitzvot), as in the verse, "V'chai bahem," "and you should live by them (mitzvot)." ... 18 (also) corresponds to the power of ratzon, ("will"), in the soul... The commandments of the Torah are the will of G-d. When a person performs a commandment, he gives G-d, as it were, nachat ruach, "pleasure," in that he performed G-d's will. Ratzon ("will") corresponds to Arich, which is also Arichut Yamim, ("long life"). This of course, corresponds to chai, 18. The long life alluded to here is in the merit of the commandments that the person performs."

It is amazing to think about this. When you become 18 you have life, a life to follow G-d, to walk in Torah. Not that you didn't prior to that but it is another level, deeper. You can do more and draw closer to Him. Eighteen is an age where you begin to really think about the future. College, family, spouses, travel, children, all seem to loom in the horizon. It is both an exciting and frightening point in life. It really is the beginning of adulthood. We do not hold by the "you are 18 now, go live your life" mentality, regardless of what the law or society says. Eighteen does not give you the magical right to run amuck or do whatever you feel like. I mean at my 30 something age I do not even have that right, do you? What is all this touted 'independence' anyway? But 18 does mean more responsibility, more expected, just like at any age. I remember when my Yaqov turned 18. I asked him what it meant to him. He told me he gets to vote now so there is responsibility in that. He can do more things without needing me to sign for it (ie. bank accounts). That made him more accountable, without the luxury of leaning on or waiting for Mama to get to it. I really enjoyed his answers. It didn't mean to him that he had to run and get his own place. It did not mean he had carte blanche to do as he pleased. It just meant he was growing up and with that came more responsibility.

As I look at my Racheli, I see such a beautiful woman in front on me. I see someone who always tries her best and always wants to please me. I see a woman who loves her G-d and wants to learn Torah. Last evening we were talking and she shared with me how so much makes sense to her now. Things I told her about friends and friendships, about clothing and modesty, about loving G-d and living a life of holiness. I felt humbled by what she shared with me and again wonder how I merited to have such a child. I am truly blessed.

"...our daughters are like cornerstones, crafted in palatial form...Praiseworthy is the people for whom this is so, praiseworthy is the people whose G-d is HaShem."

Psalm 144:12b, 15