I know what it’s like to come into the Torah and for everyone to act like there’s nothing wrong in their families. I’ve got to tell you, men, there aren’t any “Leave it to Beaver” families, even on Shabbat. We put on this self-pious attitude in our congregations, talk real sweet to our wives and make sure the children are doing fine. All the while, back at home we’re yelling and ordering everyone around all the time.
We have this natural tendency toward a fatal attraction. We think it’s all about “me” as fathers, when it’s really all about “us.” When I travel and go on the road, it torments me to leave my family behind because I want my children with me. I love my children, yet what I’ve found is that often when you feel torn inside, you will, unfortunately, be prone to snapping at those you care most about. Now, I’ve got some news for you. If you snap too many times, you’ll end up like Moses did out in the wilderness.
Men, I know the pressure you are under. Pressure to succeed; pressure to become a person you’ve never been before; pressure to produce for your family; pressure when your wife walks by that mink fur coat that you want so much to give her, but can’t; pressure of trying to pay all the bills. Trust me, I know. I have six children!
I know what it’s like to walk in the Torah and hear everyone saying, “You’re not going to accomplish this.” Then there are those who come against you and accuse you of promoting legalism. I’ve even have people tell me that I shouldn’t be studying Torah at all. No matter how right these people think they are, the bottom line is that they are wrong!
If you sincerely practice the Shabbat, the cornerstone place of peace for your family, and you’re praying Proverbs 31 and Psalm 1, doing the basic things in the Torah – even if at times it doesn’t seem like a big deal – things will begin to come in line.
We don’t need “Leave it to Beaver” families, we need real families that are walking out to the best of their ability the statutes, commands and principles that God placed in the Torah. When you love your wife and family, when you pray for them, when you follow the instructions of the Torah, you will build credibility for yourself in their eyes. Every time your children are around, grab them and give them a hug, and ask them how they are doing. Your fatal attraction will diminish and the true attraction of God and family will be strengthened.
Internationally acclaimed Bible teacher, author, conference and motivational speaker, lecturer, educator, business consultant and Spirit-filled minister, Rabbi Ralph Messer is the President and Founder of Simchat Torah Beit Midrash® (STBM)―a congregation and a Torah school based in Colorado.