Shabbat Shalom: One of the Greatest Acts

Apr 11, 2024 | Article

By: Julie Lieber
Chief Jewish Life and Engagement Officer

Bringing children into this world is arguably one of the greatest and most God-like acts that we do on this earth. Anyone who has been a part of this miraculous act or has been involved in raising and educating children knows that this is both a rewarding and tremendously challenging task. Bringing life into the world is only the first step. Over the next many years, the hard work continues – where parents, teachers and community all come together in this process of raising these human beings to live and thrive in their environments.

This week’s Torah portion Tazria, begins with an unusual set of laws centered on childbirth. We are told that when a woman gives birth, she is considered ritually impure and is not able to enter the sanctuary or participate in worship in this holy space for a set time. How do we understand this? Why during ancient Temple times would our tradition preclude a woman after childbirth from entering this primary religious space? At first glance, this law seems exclusionary, but a different perspective on this law is shared by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Z”L.

“It is as if God were saying to the mother: I exempt you from coming before Me in the place of holiness because you are fully engaged in one of the holiest acts of all, nurturing and caring for your child. Childbirth exempts the new mother from attendance at the Temple because her bedside replicates the experience of the Temple. She now knows what it is for love to beget life, and, in the midst of mortality, to be touched by an intimation of immortality.”

This Shabbat, let us keep in mind all of those who have played this divine role in our lives and who are involved in this holy work for our community.

Please email Julie Lieber at with questions or comments.