I have a handful of children at home, thank G‑d. They make messes and noise. It’s not that I particularly like messes or noise, but I look at them, and I see the mess and the noise as a blessing that comes along with healthy, growing children. There are a lot of things like messes and noise that you learn to get used to and even enjoy when you stay focused on “this is a blessing of healthy children.”

There’s one thing though that I can’t stand, and I refuse toI can’t stand when my children fight or hurt each other get used to. I can’t stand when my children fight or hurt each other. It actually pains me. When they get along, my heart swells with joy. I think that if they were to ask me for anything when they play nicely together and treat each other with respect and kindness, I would give it to them (if I could).

What just happened in our home? We joyously gave birth to a baby girl. I knew it wouldn’t be easy for my youngest child when our baby was born. Each of my children had to adjust to the transition from being the baby to becoming the “big sibling.” We try to make sure that he, along with his siblings, continue to get the same amount, if not more, attention and affection as before. We teach our children that each child is a present from G‑d, adding love and blessings to our home; they don’t take away from it.

This time, my youngest child expressed his difficulty to the situation as none had before. He started to hit the baby. It’s not that I’m shocked by his behavior. After all, he had been the baby for nearly three years, and now someone new had come into our home. And really, he himself is still a baby. But we’ve taught him, and he is old enough to know, that we don’t hit, especially not to a newborn baby!

So what do I do?

Whenever he’s gentle with her, I reward him with praise and attention. When he comes to hit the baby, I take her, get up and walk away from him, telling him, “I can’t be around you if you hit the baby. Mommy doesn’t let anyone hit.”

Believe it or not, this was more painful to him than any stern look, time-out or punishment. When I walk away, he cries and stops his bad behavior.

I absolutely adore my son. When I walk away from him, it’s not out of dislike or anger—it’s just the opposite. I walk away from him out of love. I love him. I also love and care for his sister. This is not a contradiction. I walk away, but I’m right there in the adjoining room, waiting with open arms to give him a big hug and kiss when he comes to me with remorse and the understanding that I won’t allow him to hit.

This true little story is actually a parable for the bigger, global picture.

We have a Father, and He loves us and adores us. He wants to give to us and shower us with blessing and goodness. But He does ask for something in return, and it’s for our own benefit: to be kind and respect one another. He wants us to “get along,” to have peace with one another. “The Holy One Blessed be He found no greater vessel with which to convey blessing to the Jewish people than peace.” (Uktzin 3:12)

G‑d, He’s always with us, but when the Holy Temple stood, it was as though His presence was right there, in the same room. We felt Him so close; it was so tangible. Then we, Israel, started to be unkind and harm one another.

What did He do? He “got up,” so toHe wants us to get along and have peace with one another speak, and went away from us, farther and farther. The Temple was destroyed. His revealed Presence was hidden.

Nearly 2,000 years later, the Temple has yet to be rebuilt. We cry and feel such a loss in our lives because we mistakenly feel like G‑d might not even be here. But He is! He’s just waiting for us to feel remorse—to learn that the key to receiving attention is in treating each other with love and respect. To be good to one another.

He’s waiting with open arms to hug and kiss us, and to once again reveal His Presence to us.