My Sons, and My Daughters

It was with deep and profound joy that my wife and I witnessed the graduation of our sons with graduate degrees in their respective disciplines, in the same month. While my wife and I have certainly contributed to their success, many others have entered their lives to help mold them into the men they have become; and to those influential teachers I say, as a dad, thank you.

וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת אַהֲרֹן, וּמֹשֶׁה: בְּיוֹם, דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה–בְּהַר סִינָי

“And these are the generations of Aaron and Moses, in the day the Lord spoke with Moses on Mt. Sinai” (Num. 3:1).

In the verse from Numbers above, the Torah says “these are the generations of Aaron and Moses …” yet, in Numbers 3:2, only Aaron’s sons are mentioned. The children of Moses are not mentioned. Why?

Moses was an uncle to Aaron’s sons; but the Torah also acknowledges Moses as a father to them. Moses, as the leader of Israel, and the recipient of the Word, taught the sons of Aaron, and therefore, the Talmud says in Sanhedrin 99b: “Reish Lakish said: ‘Anyone who teaches someone else’s child Torah is regarded by the Torah as though he made him.”

Moses was part of their growth, development, and ultimately, their maturity. The Lord then blesses Moses by linking him forever, in a place of prominence, to the lives of the sons of his brother.

As we all know, people’s lives do not always unfold or end as we would have hoped or prayed. For two of Aaron’s sons who learned from Moses, their lives ended suddenly and tragically; and generations later the priesthood would become corrupt. So there is an additional lesson here.

We must be mindful of what we are sowing into people, either intentionally or unintentionally. Our children often imitate us, and that, hopefully our positive attributes; but have you ever noticed that they have a way of imitating, flawlessly, the less desirable habits and attitudes of our personality? Those components of who we are that we really would like to see disappear.

As a minister I try to be mindful, especially on social media, of how my words or actions impact or influence the lives of others negatively. As amazing as it is to be included in someone’s success, it is a fearful thing to find that you may have actually influenced them negatively. Obviously, this is not a legacy we would desire to be part of.

A single post, like this one, will be read by thousands of people. If it was filled with negativity, how would that influence them today or tomorrow? And how would that negative impact affect other lives around them?

The Torah speaks of the heavy burden of relationship, especially as parents and teachers. He has given us the responsibility to form the life entrusted to us. How then should we proceed? Trust the Lord, walk in grace, and correct – in ourselves and others – that which is inconsistent with godly life.

We find beautiful examples of this in the epistles of John. John refers to his disciples as “my children.” As we read, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I Jn. 2:1).

In my own sons lives, and my sons and daughters in faith, I pray I can help them avoid the worst that life can tempt one with, while pointing the way to reconciliation when they go astray. And I pray that they can see the best in me, Him, even when the worst of me stands prominent. Mistakes, too many to count; but I pray His grace works it all together for our good (Ro. 8:28-29).

The good and the bad, this is the lesson we find in Numbers 3:1-2. This is why the Torah links Moses with Aaron and his sons. We can learn so much from a single verse that says so little. Now, let us live what we have learned; and be the godly influence He has made us to be.

Be well. Shalom.

One thought on “My Sons, and My Daughters

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s