Rabbi Schneider and his wife were looking forward to the shiur with great anticipation. The speaker was world renowned, and although they had heard many of his recorded talks, they had never actually attended his lectures.
When their babysitter cancelled at the last moment, the day was saved by their neighbor, who recommended a substitute sitter.
When they arrived home, they were shocked to find the children awake. The younger ones were sitting on the floor, playing with sharp kitchen utensils. The babysitter was on the couch with the two older children, watching an inappropriate video on her laptop. The baby was shaking two prescription drug containers from the parents’ medicine cabinet like a rattle.
The sitter calmly rose from her position on the sofa and said, “That’s three hours. Thirty dollars, please.”
A list of what was truly due this negligent babysitter spooled through Rabbi Schneider’s mind. “Pay” was certainly not one of the items on it.
The story isn’t true. The circumstances, however, are.
Most people look at children as their own. After all, they were born into the family and remain at home for approximately 20–25 years. But offspring of Jewish parents are actually Hashem’s. Moshe Rabbeinu said: “You are sons of Hashem your G-d” (Devarim 14:1).
Chovot Halevavot, Shaar HaBechinah, points out that in nature, most creatures are somewhat independent soon after birth. The human being, however, is incapable of caring for himself and unable to leave home for more than two decades because Hashem wants the parents to have time to inculcate correct values into their children.
Children in your home don’t belong to you. As parents, people serve as babysitters for Hashem’s children. The job is the most important one a person could have.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
A person who has bitachon does not feel pain over financial losses such as not having customers for his products or being unable to collect a debt. The same holds true if he is struck by illness. He knows the Creator is more aware of what is for his ultimate good than he is himself, and hence accepts what the Alm-ghty does to him. (Chovot Halevavot, chap. 4)