It was a rainy Sunday afternoon, during the Three Weeks.
“Can we go bike-riding?” my kids begged.
No, it’s raining.
“Can we go to the park?”
No, it’s raining.
“Can we do sidewalk chalk?”
Not if you want what you’re drawing to last more than two seconds. Kids, it’s raining!!
Then my daughter jumped up. “I know what we can do! Let’s listen to my camp CD!”
Once again I shook my head. “I’m sorry, sweetie, but we can’t do that either.”
“Why not?” my daughter pouted. “That’s an indoor activity!”
“Because it’s during the Three Weeks now, and we’re not allowed to listen to music.”
That’s when I realized I had the perfect “teaching moment” on my hands. I got down the book What Are We Waiting For? and had the kids sit next to me on the couch.
“Kids,” I told them. “Do you want to know why we’re not allowed to listen to music or go to a chasunah during the Three Weeks? And soon the Nine Days will be starting, and we won’t be allowed to go swimming, either—and then it will be Tishah B’Av, which is the saddest day of the whole year. Do you want to know why we’re so sad at this time? Listen to this story and you’ll understand…”
As I began to read this beautiful new book to my kids, you could hear a pin drop. The vivid and imaginative storyline, the dramatic illustrations, the powerful message…it all combined to form an exquisite picture in their little heads, one that I could almost see developing. And while chinuch is never a quick-fix thing, when I finished reading that book, I could tell that the lesson brought out in it—what Klal Yisrael mourns for on Tishah B’Av, and why we yearn for Mashiach to come—definitely made an impression on my children.
And really, wasn’t that the whole point?
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