Firm roots, unbreakable faith

Dear parents and children,
We learn so many lessons from stories and the pictures those stories create in our memories stay with us. This story tells us of the strength of faith.
Perhaps Rabbi Akiba was talking about faith in God, but we also want our children to develop faith in themselves. This is a challenge for adults as well. Think and talk about this story.
A story is told of a young student who questions Rabbi Akiba about the nature of faith. The rabbi brings the student over to a sprout in the ground and says, “Pull it up.”
The student does so with little effort. They walk on to a sapling and again Akiba says, “Pull it up.” This takes more effort but is done. And then on to a shrub which takes all the student’s strength to uproot.
Finally, Akiba takes the student to a fully grown tree and, try as he might, the student cannot move the tree. Akiba speaks: “That is also how it is with faith.
“If the roots of our faith are deep, if our religious views are mature and developed, our faith cannot be uprooted, even by someone trying very hard to do so. Always remember that the strength of your faith first depends on the strength of its roots.”
As the school year comes to a close, we look back on how we have grown. With our little ones, it is easy to see the physical changes and even the intellectual and emotional growth can be observed.
How do we “teach” our children to have faith and how can we measure spiritual growth? Talk with your children about wonder and, most importantly, talk about God.
The ease with which young children talk will strengthen your own faith.   Our children are indeed strengthening their roots and are growing strong.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is the director of camping services at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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