“Mommy, how do you do that?”

My oldest had been holding our baby in his arms. He was doing a good job, holding him safely and securely to his chest, but the baby kept crying. I picked up our little Yosef Shalom and he immediately stopped crying. I did nothing different than my son did, so with wonder he asked me, “Mommy, how do you do that?” I explained that he didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that I’m the mommy.

How sweet it is to be a mommy, to be wanted and needed! How sweet it is to be wanted and needed!How sweet it is to be a baby in his mother’s arms, to feel protected and loved!

A few blocks away from my home, there is a street with at least five little synagogues, one right after the other. On Shabbat morning, I walk by and listen from the window to see where each one is in the morning service. I stop by one to hear the Torah reading and pray. A little boy of about five or six comes up to me and starts to make noise. I know what he’s doing: he’s trying to get my attention, and wants to see if he can bother me. But as a mother with plenty of experience with this type of thing, I continue with my praying, unfazed. When I finish, I smile at him and think of my own mischievous four-year-old.

I hear this same boy speaking with his father in French. A few minutes later, I see him twirling in circles in the aisle. He faces the back of the synagogue where I am standing, and then I hear him start to cry and scream, “Papa! Papa!” He must have gotten distracted and didn’t realize that his father was right there, a few feet in front of him. I leave my spot where I’m standing and go to him. Thank G‑d, I still remember enough of my French to tell him to turn around and look the other way. “Your Papa is there in front of you!”

He immediately calms down and stops crying. He follows my pointing finger. The boy sees his father, and the father walks up to him and embraces him. And then I start to cry. What distress a child feels to be lost or far from his parents! What panic to be far from home!

“Please G‑d,” I think to myself, “it should only be that each child feels safe and comforted by his or her mother and father.”

I start to think about what it feels like to be alone. It’s such a difficult feeling to deal with. It’s a deep aching in the heart, a longing.

How can I, a wife and mother of four, who works with many wonderful women and has many wonderful friends, thank G‑d, dare to say that at times, yes, I feel so, so alone? Because there are times when I feel like I don’t belong. There are times when I feel lost. There are times when I feel disconnected and confused.

The other day, I stepped onto the light rail and sat down. I looked around me. Even as little as five years ago, things were so different than they are now—life was more tangible, less virtual. As little as five years ago, when I rode on public transportation, I would still see people reading—books, magazines, Psalms. People looked at each other and at times even engaged in conversation. Now, only five years later, I step on the train or the bus, and each person is in his or her own world. How many people have their eyes glued to their phones? No one smiles, no one makes eye contact. Their fingers are moving, sending text messages; their ears only hear the “ding” of a new message or e‑mail. They jump at the “ding” and read about what is happening all over the world. People are so connected that they are so disconnected. And I sit on the train and I watch all this, and I feel so, so alone.

So what do I do in these moments? I close my eyes, start No one smiles, no one makes eye contactmentally listing all the things that I am grateful for, and pour my heart out to my Creator. I remind myself that He speaks any language that I do. He knows how to hold me, how to listen to me, how to comfort me. He is always with me and loves me. He’s looking at me, looking out for me. I connect to Him, knowing that this connection, which may seem “virtual,” is actually the most tangible connection that I have. It’s like the connection of a baby in her mother’s arms. G‑d is with me every day and everywhere, but this connection intensifies on Shabbat and the holy festivals.

As I shut down my computer and phones before each Shabbat and holiday begins, I disconnect to connect. Through Passover, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the connection gets stronger and stronger. And then, like a baby embraced in her mother’s arms, I sit each year for a week in the sukkah. The sukkah, which represents the divine clouds of glory, envelopes me with its simplicity. It reminds me that nothing physical in this world is permanent. The booth hugs me and holds me. The only thing I have to do here is sit and be with myself, with my family and friends. I sit and be, and I feel the Divine Presence surrounding me. I return back to the place where my Father is standing, back to His embrace. I feel comforted and safe, connected, like a baby in her mother’s arms.