Bye, Bye Baby

Just over a week ago, Susan and I were blessed by the arrival of a new granddaughter. Along with her parents, we, her siblings and cousins are excited to welcome her. At the same time, we know many couples of ‘grandparent-age’  who have no grandchildren and, at the moment, see none on the horizon. 

Many of these folks chose to delay marriage and limit the size of their own families wanting to be able to nurture their careers, provide their children with “extras” and save for future college expenses. They encouraged their own children, both sons and daughters, to establish their careers, sample a variety of romantic relationships and enjoy the early years of adulthood before getting married and starting a family. Quite a few of them are still waiting for their now thirties-something children to begin thinking of marriage and children. Some of them have been informed that building a family   isn’t part of their children’s vision and even marriage may or may not happen.  

What seemed like a prudent and good idea for how to organize a family is now causing disappointment and pain. They are facing a yearning for grandchildren, or in some cases great-grandchildren, whom they assumed would naturally come along. They failed to recognize that building a legacy of generations is not an automatic  default condition. 

In the Book of Ruth, Naomi advises her widowed daughter-in-law to get to know a local nobleman by the name of Boaz with an eye to marriage. 

…get dressed and go down to the threshing floor…when he lies down…
you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down…
(Ruth 3:3-4)

Now I must explain that one of the marvelous methods encrypted into Scripture for decoding ancient Jewish wisdom is what, in Hebrew, is known as k’ree and k’tiv.  These two terms mean ‘the way the word is pronounced’ and ‘the way the word is spelled” respectively. K’ree and k’tiv words appear throughout the Bible and our job is to merge the two meanings thereby exposed in the text.

One of the most famous examples of k’ree and k’tiv is found in the above verses from Ruth.

In the k’ree version, the verse reads simply as I translated it.  However, as the words are actually spelled in the original Hebrew text, in the k’tiv version, Naomi indicates that she, rather than Ruth, would really be the one getting dressed and going down to meet Boaz at the threshing floor.

What can this mean?  Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that although Naomi was advising Ruth how to bring about a union, she herself would also be there in spirit, in order to assist the process that would bring her progeny. Ruth and Boaz joining in marriage would impact more than just  the two principals 

In a Biblical framework, having children is not just  a personal choice for only the couple to make. It serves the family and community, linking the past to the future. The more mature Naomi understood the blessing of children, and so she yearned for a child far more than the younger Ruth did. Indeed, it was through this adventure that Naomi attained immortality, becoming a grandmother and ancestor to King David, bringing hope not only to her own family but also to the larger world.

If you enjoy going behind the scenes and having access to ancient Jewish wisdom such as this teaching, be sure to pick up a Thought Tools Set while it is on sale. Get three years worth of inspiring messages to spur your own growth and to share with family and friends.

10 thoughts on “Bye, Bye Baby”

  1. Dear Rabbi and Susan,
    I do have grandchildren but I have never seen them, nor have I seen my two sons in over 30 years. They have rejected me after so many years of their mothers “indoctrination” and didn’t want to hear my “side of the story”. However I do retain some faith that in the Lord’s plan somehow, somewhere, I will see them. Even if it’s after this life.

    1. Brian, we pray that your sons’ hearts soften and that your grandchildren seek you out when they are older.

  2. So true about modern culture. What could I say about this when I send this to my children so they would’t take offense. Or do I just do it?

  3. Thank you Rabbi ~
    Both my son’s are not married and I have not been blessed with grandchildren. Being a female and carrying another human makes us more relational.
    Mazel tov!

  4. Connie Sylvester

    Thank you so much for sharing! I love your thought tools! I love the study of Hebrew ( which was conceived in me from hearing you on a program explaining “in the beginning “ & the Yud. Opened my eyes more fully to how all life matters to Yahweh! ).

  5. Well done sir. Since we don’t know what a day will bring, and little hearts can move big hearts, by seeing them grow, we can plant the seed for greater productivity within ourselves as well.
    A good gleaning too.

  6. this is the story of my life, no grandchildren to continue our family. One child does not want children, the other is not married or thinking of it. They do not understand the importance of having descendants. They will be the last ones carrying their father’s name. My pain is incredible.

    1. Hi Mimi,

      My heart goes out to you, and may the God of Israel turn your sorrows into true joy-He can turn their hearts—as “its Written, nothing is impossible for the Lord.”

      Lots of love,

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