It was my father's shloshim (the end of thirty days since he had passed away), and to mark the occasion, I had taken the day off work in order to go to the Western Wall. So why had I brought my daughter? I had even taken her out of school for the day. Too young to pray herself, it seemed like she could only be a distraction from my true purpose in making this trip. Yet as soon as she heard I was going to the Western Wall, she asked me if I would bring her with me, and something deep within had prompted me to agree.

Something deep within had prompted me to agreeNow I was having second thoughts. But it was too late. We were here. At the Western Wall, she sat next to me on a plastic chair, quietly taking in the scene, and eating her sandwiches, while I recited Tehillim (Psalms). When a spot opened up in the first row next to the wall itself, I silently motioned to her that I would be moving up to stand at the wall. "Tatte," (Yiddish for Father - a more personal form of addressing G‑d), I whispered as I pressed my lips to the cool stone. "I brought you my daughter."

It was true. This was the first time I had ever come to the Western Wall with a family member. In the past, I had only come alone. But now I had brought my daughter with me, and a deep sense of comfort welled up in me. I was honoring my father by bringing my daughter to the wall, by testifying that in his absence, our family would still continue.

The act of bringing my daughter took on a deep symbolism. I was bringing her into a relationship of prayer. I wouldn't be able to recite the entire Book of Psalms for my father, but instead, after a few more minutes of whispered prayers from my heart, I returned to my seat, picked up an additional book of Psalms for her, and together we recited one chapter for my father.

One chapter. It would have to be enough. She was too young to do more. We left, backing away slowly from the wall, knowing we would return. Together.

I thought about this experience on Shavuot night, as both of my children slept. Someday, instead of going out to learn by himself, my husband would take our son, who was now only three years old, with him. The nature of their learning would be different. More basic, less penetrating. Would my husband feel then as I had felt at the Wall, that he was no longer learning alone, that he now had an investment in the continuity of Torah?

It's a trade-off, to be sure. In order to bring our children with us into our relationship with G‑d, we have to be willing to exchange an adult form of spirituality for a more child-centered one. Keeping them up for Shabbat dinner on Friday night means exchanging a conversation of deep Torah insights for a basic Parshah review.

Sometimes parents mistakenly feel that our children are preventing them from having a deeper relationship with G‑d. Yet, it is precisely this act of allowing another human being into our personal relationship with G‑d that allows us to advance on the ladder of holiness.

Even Moses had to leave Heaven after forty days of privileged closeness, where he dwelled as a member of the heavenly court, in order to return to the Jewish nation, exchanging the opportunity of learning Torah with G‑d himself to become a teacher and leader to the Jewish People.

When we become parents, our relationship with G‑d is transformedWhen we become parents, our relationship with G‑d is transformed. It is no longer only about ourselves. It is about our children. Torah teaches us that the act of conceiving a child is an act of deep holiness. Raising a Jewish family is a further expansion and extension of this same holiness.

In choosing to bring my daughter with me to the Western Wall, I made a trade-off. I exchanged the immediate gratification of my own experience in extended solitary prayer for the delayed gratification of an investment in teaching my daughter about prayer. Instead of picking a flower – fragrant and in full bloom – I chose to plant a seed in the fertile ground of my daughter's childhood, where our shared Western Wall experience will one day find expression as her own relationship with G‑d.