I hate crying

Posted on January 1, 2014

I really do. I hate crying so much that I avoid dramatic movies even if they won many Oscars. I never read sad books. I avoid telling heart wrenching tales. And yet, and yet, I am still moved. There are times when I hear our Bnei Mitzvah students read their prayers or Torah verses well, I hear parents’ words to their child, or someone speaks at a funeral, that I have to look down. As I struggle to compose myself, I know that as a rabbi, it’s my job to hold things together. I am anchored by the weight of making sure our services, holidays, and life cycles are a meaningful experience for our congregants and guests. And so I just buck up. The weight of responsibility keeps me tethered to the prayers, dvar, and speeches on hand.

I am going to confess something to you. The thing I’m most afraid of during my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is not her ability to read the prayers, the aliyot she will master, the content of her dvar torah, nor the details of her party. She is studying even though I have to remind her to do so. We have a lot of work ahead with the arrangements for our out of town family and guests. Our house is an ongoing construction disaster; however, I’m not losing sleep over it. I am really worried about my ability to hold things together as the rabbi while still being a mom…..

You may not know this but many of you are my role models. You have deftly expressed your pride to your children, heartfelt words at funerals, baby namings, and weddings. I see the power of your words and tears and how they convey the love and pride you feel. You have been teaching me that if tears of love come, they only demonstrate the strength of our relationships.

For Paul and me, we both treasure our relationships with our family, friends, and community. Even now as I count my blessings in being a mother, wife, friend, and rabbi, I feel tears of gratitude.
I feel honored to be able to share our lives with you and to be part of a loving community. By the way, everyone who is a member of Temple Beth David is invited to our daughter Gabriel Myers Prunty’s Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, Feb. 15 starting at 10:30 a.m. There will be a light luncheon afterwards but we really need you to RSVP to our front office. I would feel terrible if there wasn’t enough food. Now that will really keep a Jewish mother up at night, oy vey! We know how busy everyone is and absolutely no one should feel obligated but we want you to know that you are welcome.

I really do hate crying but maybe it’s time for me to acknowledge that as much as I’m a rabbi, I’m still a parent. I feel the concern, worry, pride, and joy of any mom. Maybe instead of anchoring myself to responsibility at my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I should just focus on blessings. And if tears come, I will be grateful for an amazing daughter and son, a great family, loving friends, and wonderful community.