Mother’s Day makes me think about unconditional love. What a beautiful, selfless gift it is! In fact, I didn’t grasp the immensity of unconditional love until I gave birth to my first child – my beautiful daughter. I can truly say that that was the defining moment when I finally understood how much my parents loved me.
I realized what it meant to do everything for your children, to go without so that they would have, to give without any expectation of receiving back, and to protect and care for your children first and foremost. The maternal instinct is undeniably one of the strongest biological drives on this planet. How wonderful that we get to celebrate our mothers on their own special day each year!
The Torah recognizes the depth and extent of a mother’s love and it is woven into the fabric of our tradition and heritage. We read of Sarah, Rachel and Yocheved, to name but a few. In our morning prayers, we are reminded “Do not forsake the Torah of your mother.” Our tradition reminds us to honor our mothers, to cherish their love, to be thankful for their presence in our lives, for their selfless caring and giving, and for the greatest gift of all – that of unconditional love.
Unconditional love allows us to flourish, to spread our wings and take chances, to know that there’ll always be a soft landing, someone to catch us, to cheer us on, to lick our wounds and help us rise again, to maximize our potential, and to become the best person we could be. Mother’s Day is a perfect blend of our two cultures, our Jewish tradition and heritage and our North American contemporary lives.
Sue Penn, the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Sue is committed to providing opportunities which allow every individual to learn and engage in community.