The new parents gazed in awe at the tiny newborn.
“He’s so cute,” the young mother exclaimed joyfully.
“I think he resembles your side of the family, dear,” said Dad.
“We’ll have to do a good job raising him in order to show Hashem our appreciation for this wonderful gift.” Mom couldn’t take her eyes off the little bundle in her arms. “Look how cute he is, hugging his tight little fists against his chest.”
“That’s exactly where our job begins,” Dad said thoughtfully.
“What do you mean by that?”
“It’s a long story. Let’s get some rest and I’ll explain in the morning, when we’re refreshed,” Dad responded.
Mom was exhausted from the delivery and quickly agreed to her husband’s suggestion.
Life is a process of growth and change. The key to a successful life is transforming oneself from a taker into a giver.
Hashem made infants adorable and gave parents protective instincts to prompt adequate care for their helpless newborn. As the child grows into adulthood, responsibility for care is transferred from the parents to the child. Eventually, the young adult is expected to care for his or her offspring. The selfish, helpless tot who demanded care by crying to be made absolutely satisfied grows from a “taker” into a caregiver. One is expected to then go beyond one’s relatives to care for anyone in need. The chessed of Avraham is expected to become the rule by which one lives.
Dad’s cryptic comment was based on a sign Hashem implanted in our bodies to signify the purpose of life. A baby enters the world with clenched fists pressed against him. This signifies the “all for me” selfishness of an infant. When a person leaves the world, the corpse lies motionless with open hands, symbolizing “giving.”
If you want to be successful, you must learn to give.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
The main purpose in Hashem’s creating the world in seven days is to teach us the relevance of functioning within time. Time is the most important thing in the world. Time is everything. The nations say, “Time is money,” but time is much more than money. Time is life itself. (Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, Ascending Jacob’s Ladder, p. 9)