It’s the first word a baby learns to speak. It’s the kindest word in any language. It bespeaks an unconditional, unbreakable bond of love and acceptance.

It is the picture-perfect scene of a young child nestled in her mother’s arms, their breathing rising in unison, in utter surrender to the peacefulness and serenity of the moment.

It is a promise of eternal commitment and devotion.


A short word that describes an outstretched guiding hand, no matter how bleak the circumstances. A hand that applauds all achievements, big or miniscule, just as it uplifts and gives strength.

She is the heart so overflowing with pride, so bursting with love, so attached to yours that she is one with you, as if you share a single soul.


A child’s demanding, insistent word that, in her own vocabulary, says: I know you will care for me. I know you will take care of my needs. I know you will help me. I know you will be here for me. Always. Forever!

“Mommy . . .”

A set of eyes locked into yours. Eyes full of wisdom, boring into your essence. Eyes full of kindness and giving. Eyes that see more than you will ever fathom. Eyes that understand more than you will ever appreciate.

Eyes that smile, even as they cry.


The poignancy of a heartrending parting. Her heart that is shredded into a million and one pieces as she lets you make your own mistakes and suffer your own falls, allowing you to traverse your own chosen path.

G‑d as Mother is the Shechinah, the feminine presence of G‑d

She is the one who sends you on your way, celebrating your decisions even when in disagreement, knowing that your life experiences and choices will form you and make you into the special, independent you.


In the darkest period of our history, as a holocaust descended on our people, she wouldn’t abandon her child, descending into the deepest abyss with him. Never leaving him. Finding some faith or hope to encourage her child to live on, to choose life—despite its harshest reality and ruthless cruelty.


When the Kabbalists refer to G‑d as infinite and beyond, they call G‑d “He.” “He” is our Father in Heaven, directing our world. G‑d as Father is the transcendent force in our lives, the voice compelling and empowering us to go beyond the here and now.

But when the Kabbalists refer to G‑d as immanently here, now, in a nurturing, inner way, they say “She.” G‑d as Mother is the Shechinah, the feminine presence of G‑d. She accompanies her children along their difficult trek through exile, experiencing our pain and our tears, all the while comforting us, and never abandoning us despite our flaws or our faults.

Ultimately, of course, G‑d is absolute unity, beyond gender and categorization. “He” and “She” are but reflections of G‑d’s essence. But it is only through our contemplating the analogy of this feminine, motherly aspect of G‑d—the Shechinah—that our mortal brains can begin to appreciate any yearning or pain on the part of the infinite, transcendent G‑d.

It is the Shechinah who cries bitterly for the exile of Her children. It is She who feels the immensity of their pain.

She beckons to us, too, to experience Her pain. To feel Her intense suffering of being separated from unity, open love and oneness with Her people.

And She awakens within us a yearning for that time when we will once again be comforted, embraced and enveloped in the nurturing arms of our Mamma.