This upcoming Sunday we are going to enjoy dining out, Bar-B-Q’s and wish each other a Happy Father’s Day. What I would like to share with you today is what the meaning of fatherhood is. There are two special stories in the Torah portion we read today. First is the story of the complainer in which our ancestors in the desert complained about the food which made G-d angry. Our father in heaven who helped us get out of Egypt, cross the sea and gave us manna from heaven, was angry because of the lack of appreciation for all the goodness that he bestowed upon us. On one hand G-d loves his creatures and he tries to fulfill their wishes and desires even to the point that we became his spoiled children. But sometimes, our father in heaven reaches the point that we were too spoiled. The second story at the end of the portion is the story of Miriam, Aaron and Moses. Miriam was speaking with Aaron about the father of the Jewish nation, Moses. Miriam said that as a shepherd, Moses’ wife Tzipora was befitting of him. But now that Moses had become the father of the Jewish nation and a great leader, he should find a wife that is more befitting to his dignity. G-d, the father in heaven, was angry and punished Miriam. G-d said to her, Moses is a role model of the nation and a role model for his family. The father is first and foremost a loyal husband and a paragon for the family so they shall follow his footsteps. Moses demonstrated faithfulness and loyalty to his immediate family as well as to his extended family, the Jewish people. How befitting are these two stories to father’s day tomorrow?
David, a member of our community used to show me in his car a picture of his wife and children. He told me, "Rabbi, I carry this picture next to the steering wheel in my car so that if I get angry while driving, I look at that picture and it is a reminder of my obligations and responsibilities to my family. So if some people make me angry while driving I can control myself and restrain my anger." David, by the way, whenever I meet him at the gym and I would see him running on the treadmill and working very hard he would say, "Rabbi, I am doing this hard exercise because my family, my wife, my children need a healthy husband, a healthy father." So my blessings and wishes to all of us for this father’s day weekend that we shall remember that there is a father in heaven that loves all his creatures and we are all created in his image and he cares for all of us. Many times people have said to me, "this man was really like my father".
My dear friends, to feel fatherhood and connected each of you can have that feeling regardless of biological ties or having your adopted children. May G-d open our eyes and hearts to recognize the important mission that we have as a father and grandfather and may the prayers and wishes that people express for that day come true from the blessings of the father in heaven. Happy Father’s day to all. Shabbat Shalom.