Home June 2013 Patriarchs

Patriarchs

Dear Hubby,

This Father’s Day I wanted to take a moment to tell you that you’re an amazing dad, a loving husband and an insignificant figure in Judaism.

Just the way I like ’em.

Every Shabbat we bless our daughters that they may be like the matriarchs, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. But we’re noticeably silent about the patriarchs.  Instead, we wish our sons to model themselves like Ephraim and Menashe, otherwise known as “Who?”

Effervescent and Mustache’s biggest contribution to Jewish life was that they lacked sibling rivalry.  That’s it.  They didn’t march the Israelites from slavery or smite any Philistines.  They just played nice and got along.

As small a role as these two had, it’s easy to see why we ask our sons to be like them and not like the patriarchs.  From Abraham to Aaron, the founders of our faith were the ancient equivalent of deadbeat dads.

Abraham is probably the most famous offender.  Having tossed one son out into the desert, he takes his other kid for a nearly homicidal nature walk.  I can only imagine the Father’s Day card Isaac gave him that year.

“Dear Dad, Here’s a new goat. Keep it handy.

‘Love’ (I guess), Isaac.”

No surprise of course that Isaac grows up to be a lousy pop himself, playing favorites until his oldest son finds so little value in his birthright that he gives it up for a bowl of soup (according to one interpretation, at least).

And so, we praise our kids by likening them to Effrontery and Munchkin.  Our patriarchs were such lousy relatives, simply acting civil toward your brother merits praise in perpetuity.

But not in my house.

Hubby, as I see you taking on some of the night shift duties with our newborn and schlepping the older kids to school, I want you to know how appreciative I am.  I couldn’t imagine parenting with anyone else – particularly not with Jacob.

“Sweetheart, I’m worried the others feel you favor Joseph, what with the fancy coat you gave him and everything.”

“Well, I do.”

“Aren’t you concerned for our other kids’ feelings?”

“Not really, no.”

I can only imagine how Michal felt when her dad, Saul, sold her to David for 200 Philistine foreskins.  (These are the days before Etsy, so we’ll never know what he did with all of them.  I’m guessing a DIY luggage set.)

There aren’t enough foreskins in the world to get you to shirk your parental duties, and I wanted you to know that I know that.

And since Hallmark has yet to make a card saying, “Happy Father’s Day to the Man Who Would Never Offer His Daughters up for Gang Rape to an Angry Mob the Way Lot Did Once,” this column will have to suffice.

So this Father’s Day, forget Nora Ephron and Menarche. When I place my hands on our kids’ heads on Shabbat, Hubby, I pray that they grow up to be just like you.

Happy Father’s Day.

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