When outsiders peek into the world of Torah observance, they
often see a long list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” To those who try to immerse
themselves in the system, details that can seem persnickety instead reveal how
to live successfully. The rules we try our best to follow align our actions
with God’s deep understanding of human nature.
An opportunity that the Torah urges us to grab is that of
comforting mourners during the seven days following a close relative’s burial.
One of the seemingly nit-picking suggestions given for visiting the mourner is
not to bring along babies or small children. (I am making a broad statement
here and am not intending anything I say as explicit Torah guidance to an
individual in a specific situation.) What can we learn from this advice?
People sometimes mistakenly believe that the purpose of the
visit is to distract the mourner from his or her loss. This is incorrect. The
days of mourning are uniquely meant as a time to focus on the loss and as a
transition period towards living in one’s new reality, a reality that no longer
includes the deceased. We don’t want young children in that milieu precisely
because they are often an endearing distraction from reality. When a babbling cherub waves her hands and
generously distribute smiles, few people can look away or think of other
I pity those who associate newborns and infants only with
crying and diaper changes. Few things induce as much optimism or energy as a
new life. Fixating on the exhausting and demanding aspects of children (as real as they are) is
similar to someone who finally achieves a life-long dream of becoming a pilot
but quickly forgets the thrill and instead complains about the paperwork that
needs filing after every trip.
Yet that fixation on the negatives of raising children is
exactly what motivates many of those who are concerned about America’s
Baby Bust, or the demographic crisis facing many other countries.
Academics recognize the very real economic, cultural and military problems
facing countries whose birth rates plummet. They look at decreasing fertility
and put forward proposals to combat the trend. But their proposals miss the
point. They routinely suggest increased day care slots and government subsidies
for childcare, or they want government to force companies to add paternity
leave and guarantee women extended time off. However, this is similar to
providing stickers for our disgruntled pilot or promising him extra time off
for every form he files. He needs a rekindling of his excitement about flying,
not enhancements of his paperwork duties.
There are practical and rational reasons to avoid marriage,
to delay childbearing and to restrict family size. Those reasons cannot be countered by
practical and rational policies. They can only be countered by a belief that
marriage is desirable and that having children is one of life’s greatest
blessings. As societies become less faith-based, individuals see only the
sacrifices necessary to rear children and materialistic strategies cannot defeat
that point of view.
Children bring joy, optimism and animation not only to a
mourner’s home but also to nations. That is precisely why they are discouraged
from the first location and necessary in the second. God, in His wisdom, understood that without
marriage and children nations will slide into poverty and decay. Take Him out
of the equation for long enough and eventually even intellectuals understand
that we are heading towards trouble.
3 thoughts on “Here’s to the Future, Baby!”
the only time it is inappropriate to bring small children or babies is when the parent is mourning the loss of a small child or infant….
Those of us who have been blessed with eyes of faith behold the wonder in all facets of God’s marvelous creation. It is God’s love that we share in common when we rejoice in cooperating with Him in raising our children.
“To love is to take delight in the happiness of another, or, what amounts to the same thing, it is to account another’s happiness one’s own.”
— Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716)
Philosopher and mathematician
When faith in God becomes extinguished as has been the case especially with post-war European countries like Germany, people’s love turns cold and they lose interest in God’s gracious and marvelous plan of partnering with him in the creation of children. Instead, the secularized see little ones as competitors for perceived dwindling resources. The post-war European generation’s focus has become self-preservation. As fear replaces faith, people are compelled to keep their incomes and anticipated pensions all to themselves.
Not surprisingly, the “America’s baby bust” analysis does not look at “red state” vs. “blue state” America. If we sliced the statistics that way, the numbers would expose blue counties in America as having a significantly lower replacement rate than the red counties. America’s blue counties and states are clearly more European-like socialist in their politics and as Rabbi Daniel Lapin has said, politics is nothing less than the practical application of our values system. Our values system is a direct reflection of our faith in the true God and his Torah, or lack thereof.
“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere” – G.K. Chesterton
Red county and state folks draw the line between themselves and Planned Parenthood. New York City, on the other hand, is home to some of Planned Parenthood’s most profitable “clinics”.
In Germany alone, more than 400 Roman Catholic churches and more than 100 Protestant churches have been closed since 2000. At least 277 Protestant churches have been either sold or demolished since 1990, this according to the Evangelical Church in Germany. Another 700 Roman Catholic churches are slated to be closed over the next several years.
By contrast, Germany now has more than 200 purpose-built mosques (including more than 40 so-called mega-mosques which can accommodate 1,000 or more worshippers) with another 128 mosques currently under construction, this according to Zentralinstutut Islam-Archiv, a Muslim organization based in Germany.
Islam is quickly filling the human void across Europe. Now at five percent of Germany’s population, Muslim fertility is way above replacement rate, at a number more than twice the highest Western rate. Ironically, we are seeing the greatest benefactor of post-war European tolerance (read political correctness) to be the most intolerant of cultures. We won’t read about this, however, in any of the main stream media outlet. Free speech represents the greatest of threats to the tyrant.
“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns; why should we let them have ideas.” – Josef Stalin
Perhaps you are familiar with post-nine-eleven minted term “Islamophobia”? If not, let me assure you that we are being conditioned to believe that it represents a felony thought crime. No career minded journalist who needs his job dares run afoul that law.
“Tolerance is an important Western value. However, as the philosopher Karl Popper noted, “Unlimited tolerance leads to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
— Geert Wilders, Dutch politician – from his 2012 book Marked For Death
Two weeks ago today, January 30, 2013 marked the 80th anniversary of Marshall Hindenburg’s appointment of that personification of evil as Chancellor of Germany. Thank God that there followed heroes who He had raised up to come to the rescue of Western civilization.
Unsettling demographic statistics would indicate that storm clouds are once again gathering on the horizon. Who is God raising up stand for the Truth in the twenty-first century?
Jennie Jerome Churchill passed away in 1921, but her son went on to save Western civilization during the 1940s, at least according to William Manchester, one of Sir Winston Churchill’s greatest biographers.
The future of liberty depends upon our first raising ourselves, and then our children to understand and respect the Torah.
Your last paragraph was the kicker, Mrs. Lapin. You have succinctly stated the horrible conundrum facing young married adults…horrible, that it, until we plug in God. The naysayers are out there. They would preach the likelihood that earth’s petroleum will run out, that the sun will burn out, that dire famine will strike, or that a huge asteroid will strike the earth and cause the equivalent of a nuclear winter. Nowadays, most likely they will scream how man-made Global Warming will ruin our habitat for future generations, regardless of the telling truth that humanity has been performing routine direct measurement of climate for less than 140 years.
So what is the good of having children? In the face of all the dire prophecy we had two loving little daughters. My eldest daughter brought two loving little daughters into the world. Their mother and father adore them and the light shines in their little eyes. They worship their father with all their heart, just as it should be. Yet still their father hearkens altogether too much to the naysayers, how hopeless life is today, and that Big Government will FIX everything. Perhaps we can get him to hearken to God instead, and to hope.
Thanks to the both of you for Ancient Jewish Wisdom!
Comments are closed.