Last week we witnessed the leader of the free world, U.S. President Joe Biden, going down on one knee in the Oval Office before Rivka Ravitz, the chief of staff of Israel’s outgoing President Reuven Rivlin. The moment was triggered when Biden was told that Ravitz was not only a highly-regarded staffer, but the mother of 12 children.

As a mother of nine, I saw so much significance in the president’s gesture.

So often, we are prepared to take risks in the hopes of greater returns. We’ll spend years in college working towards degrees that we believe will help provide better careers. We take a gamble taking out loans and accruing debt with the aspirations of striking it rich. And, yes, we even enter relationships with a wish and a prayer that they be our match made in heaven and not the contrary, G‑d forbid.

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But for some reason, the one thing in life that is practically guaranteed to give us the most joy and purpose—not to mention a legacy like nothing else quite could—comes with so many calculations and hesitations. I have yet to meet a person on their deathbed who regretted having as many children as he or she did. But I have met many who regretted not having more.

Not everyone is gifted with the ability to have children. But those of us who are fortunate enough to have a loving spouse and a fertile body are blessed with an incredible opportunity.

The Vigler family.
The Vigler family.

Can children keep you up at night? You bet they can! First as infants, then as toddlers and then, as my parents are wont to remind us, big kids can keep you tossing and turning even more! But I’d bet your bottom dollar that they don’t keep you up any more than those business affairs you’ve been working so hard on.

But tuition is so high! How can you clothe and feed so many children? The cost of having children is astronomical! True, but so is buying a house, a car and going on vacation. At the end of the day, we set our priorities and spend our hard-earned dollars on what we deem most important. I know this may sound daydreamy, but somehow, we have what we need. Who says your son will even want to go to that Ivy League university? Or better yet, he may even end up there on full scholarship. And meanwhile, you’ve been holding yourself back from amassing life’s greatest fortunes.

True, not all children give their parents nachas. And plenty of business deals go south. But as they say, if you don’t try, you’ll never know. And I can assure you that (in most scenarios), even those children that give their parents a good deal of grief still give them more pleasure than a bad business deal.

The very first commandment in the Torah is when G‑d said to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and conquer it.” The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, explains these words to mean: Conquer all the earthly concerns that talk you into not making children a priority, whether they are concerns of a difficult pregnancy, a challenging childbirth or even the cost of rearing them. It is incumbent upon us to recognize that we are not merely physical beings; rather, we are bodies of flesh housing a G‑dly soul. All of our earthly pleasures come from G‑d Himself. It is the blessing of G‑d Almighty that provides one’s wealth. The greater the vessel one makes by fulfilling the will of G‑d, the greater the expanse one makes for G‑d to fill with blessing.

Contrary to the way some may perceive it, intimacy between man and woman is G‑dly. We are created in the image of G‑d. However, in no other circumstance other than that of birthing a child are we given the gift of the capability to create as G‑d does. No matter how many times I give birth, the magnitude of the moment never fails me. I simply offer my thanks to G‑d for giving me and my husband this singular opportunity to partner with Him in this most miraculous manner, and for entrusting us with the most precious and treasured of all gifts.

And while having our very own tribe is certainly what G‑d wants, we don’t have them because we must. We have them because we can. G‑d has done kindness with us by choosing us to be the vessel of His blessings and the parents of our beautiful children. Why would I ever deny them? Every single child is wanted and loved; every single child expands our hearts in ways we never dreamed possible.

Society ought to look at mothers differently—as G‑d’s greatest partners. Then, perhaps it would be the norm to bow to them, just as President Biden did.