The Importance of Sharing Religious Rituals in the Home for Jewish Families
The home is central to Judaism as it is the setting in which a husband
and wife mature together and where children are taught about their
religion through example and direct instruction. Both Orthodox and
Liberal Jews will share rituals as a family at home but will not share
the same attitudes and degree of discipline. This can lead to
Sharing rituals in the home can bring a family closer together because
they are spending time together and are unified by their faith. The
Shabbat meal can bring the family together because the family are
sharing the ...view middle of the document...
This may be brought about by some family members, especially
children and teenagers, not wanting to follow the Shabbat laws if they
feel excluded from their friends. They may also resent the
repetitiveness of the celebrating Shabbat every week. If the mother in
a Jewish family grew to resent having to make such extensive
preparations every week, this too could cause tension.
Sharing this type of family ritual could become monotonous if
performed weekly and I think I would come to feel anger towards my
parents if they made me take part every week and stopped me from going
out. On the other hand, spending time with your family may mean that
you would get on better together and as I grew older I might come to
appreciate their discipline towards these religious rituals.
At Pesach, when Jews celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, the escape from
slavery and the goodness of God for providing for them, all the family
help with the preparations. The family remove all the chamez (leavened
bread) from the house and make it into a game by hiding the pieces of
bread. They also prepare the food for the Sedar meal and clean the
house. During the Sedar meal, questions such as "Why is tonight
different from all other nights?" are answered and everyone is
encourage to ask or help answer them. At Sukkot families may build and
decorate a Sukkah and during Hanukkah families exchange gifts and
light the menorah.
I think festival activities like these would be fun and there is no
element of monotony as they take place only once a year. Even the
seemingly less enjoyable rituals like preparing food and cleaning
bring the family together, in the same way some families all help to
cook the roast dinner at Christmas. At festivals the excitement of the
forthcoming celebrations would probably dispel any tensions. By
including all the family in the preparations for the festival, younger
children will learn about their faith and this can bring about a sense
However, sharing festivals as a family could bring tensions because
children may have to take time during off school during festivals and
if their friends don't this may lead to them feeling isolated. Also,
high expectations of the day, if not fulfilled, might lead to
disappointment, especially in younger children.
I think it would be easier to spend time with your family during
festivals than it is to at Shabbat because festivals seem more
enjoyable and take place only once a year, making them seem less
repetitive. Even if you didn't enjoy the shared activities of some
festivals, you might just join in because it is only once a year and
you didn't want to cause arguments. I think that the benefits of
spending time with your family, such as feeling closer to them and the
sense of belonging, outweigh the difficulties.
Brit Milah, the...