Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Judaism defines motherhood differently than the rest of the world.  Judaism does not require a woman to have a child in order to be considered a mother.

Chava, the first woman, is called “em kol chai - mother of all life,” before she ever gives birth to a child. Being a mother is the ability to be other-centered, to have another at your core. This is one of the reasons why the word for “womb- rechem”, shares the root of the word “rachmanut - empathy.” I don’t just feel badly for your pain, I feel your pain. Your pain is my pain. You are a part of me.

Regarding Chava, I wonder if we could read this phrase another way. The words em kol could mean “all mother”—not “part mother,” but all mother. She is the mother of all life, and she is all mother.

There are many roles I fill, many things I enjoy doing. But for most of them, I am truly replaceable. Granted, I hope not too replaceable. But some of the things I do could most definitely be done by others, maybe even done better. And even the things I excel in, that I feel passionate about, that I focus on . . . they are only parts of me. There are many writers, many teachers, many editors. And there are many mothers. But there is no other mother to my children. Only me.

Hopefully  I will always be able to remember:  My children are my world, and I am theirs. Em kol chai.

From an article by Sara Esther Crisp,

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