When is enough? In my Meditation/Torah class yesterday, we discussed when G-d told the Israelites that they had brought enough gifts to the Temple. How can bringing gifts be too much? At what point, do we need to tell ourselves to stop giving so that we can recognize and acknowledge the beauty in our work?
There are great pressures that we place on ourselves or that society places on us. In addition, we often place great pressure on others to do for us, make us happy and fix our lives. We have to find the strength to tell ourselves that it is enough and the courage to tell others to stop. We need to appreciate the work that is done and to accept it as complete so that we can move onto the next task.
As I listened in class to those around me, I realized that so many of us just keep going every day and the days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and so on. We have so many distractions in our lives - school, work, cell phones, computers, television around the clock, music whenever you want, and information overload everywhere you look.
When I look back at my childhood, I had so much more quiet time than my children have today. Cable didn't arrive until junior and senior high and it was mostly movies. I had more freedom than my children. And now, I work hard to give my children opportunities for quietness so their imaginations can be nurtured. I find ways to teach them that projects have a beginning, middle and end. I try to find the balance in teaching them that when project is done to the best of their time and ability and if the grade is not an “A,” what could they have done better?
I want to teach my kids to be competitive, to work hard, and to feel confident in their work. In doing so, they can find the right moment to stop, appreciate the work they have done well and to know what is necessary and expected for the next project.
For me, I want to take from this Torah portion the lesson of finding ways to stop the everydayness that is our life and see the beauty in what we accomplish as a family. Work is tangible, we set goals, we complete projects and we get paid. Family life is not tangible, lessons that I teach my children today may not show up for 2-3 years or more. I want to make the most out of vacations and time spent together outside of our daily routine. Those moments will help enrich our daily lives and our wholeness as a family.