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A Paean to the Power of Dance

A Paean to the Power of Dance

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I made my way to the Western Wall (Kotel) with my daughter and two of my sons. My eldest daughter sat with my baby, my 5-year-old and a bag of Bamba, giving me a chance to pray the afternoon services calmly by the wall. I prayed slowly alongside with theI watched him dance, appreciating his spirit others praying the afternoon prayer. Finished, I turned my head and glanced over to the men’s section as I heard a large group of men begin to sing. I saw them form a circle as they started to dance.

I called over to my 5-year-old: “Asher, come look. They’re dancing!”

I prepared my arms to lift him up to see, but instead, my agile son jumped up onto the partition. (Knowing him, this didn’t surprise me one bit.) I heard a few gasps from the women next to me. I turned to them smiling: “Don’t worry. He’s an expert at this!”

“Mommy, I’m going to do one round.”

He then jumped down (with grace, of course) and broke into the circle of dancing men. I watched him as he danced, admiring his strong sense of self and sweet inhibition, appreciating his spirit. I looked over at my daughter lovingly holding my baby on her lap then back at my son dancing (backwards no less, but no one seemed to care) in a circle of men united in song, dance and love of G‑d, His people and His Torah. My heart swelled with happiness and gratitude for this beautiful moment, and I started to open my lips in prayer.

This son of mine, thank G‑d, he is full of life, full of laughter and full of play. When I go to the park, he’s the child hanging from the trees, swinging on the monkey bars, jumping from a flying swing. I am forever telling him to “Come down. I know that you can do it, but you’re making Mommy nervous.” I am forever praying, “Please, watch over him. He is Your child after all! Dear G‑d, don’t let him fall!”

He comes home from preschool. (There, the teacher gives me wonderful reports; in class, he participates, is a model student and is well-behaved.) I brace himself for his whirlwind of energy, and as much as I can, I let him be him. Six hours later, I kiss his forehand—or at least try to—as he does somersaults and gymnastics even in his bed. I walk out of the room and within two minutes, my little acrobat is fast asleep, exhausted from his twirling and jumping, climbing and swinging. I, too, am exhausted and wish that I could, at 7 o’clock, crawl into bed myself.

Once again, watching my Asher dance, once again my lips opened in prayer, as they always seem to be doing, but this time it wasn’t a request for protection or safety. This time, I simply poured my heart out to my Creator for help in guiding me on how to cultivate and channel into goodness the beautiful energy and power of this child. I prayed for flexibility and creativity and tools for encouraging him—and that I, nor anyone else, should ever be an impediment to him or, G‑d forbid, crush his spirit. I prayed that he should always be full of life and laughter, of sweet innocence, and that he should use this to serve our Creator.

My little boy did his one round and then ran back to me, jumping over the partition with the same ease as he did before. I I prayed for flexibility and creativity embraced him, thankful that I was able to let go and enjoy the spontaneity of the moment. And, all of sudden, I realized that the tools that I prayed for I actually have—every woman has—but we sometimes fail to see it, and therefore make use of them.

G‑d created woman with a special organ: the womb. In Hebrew the word, rechem, is related to the word “mercy” or “compassion” (rechamim). This makes sense, as the womb is the organ that has the potential to house and nurture a baby.

The womb is also incredibly flexible; it expands and contracts like no other organ. What does this say about the nature of a woman? We have an incredible force—if we could only tap into it and were made aware of it—to be flexible, compassionate, nurturing, merciful, creative. We have the inherent potential to see the unique beauty and light in each child’s (or adult’s) soul, and with a lot of prayer and help from Above, we can help that light shine even brighter.

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Sarah K NYC September 21, 2016

Yashar Koach! Love your articles Elana Mizrahi! Reply

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