Ure’eh banim l’vanecha / shalom al yisrael. And you [will be blessed] to see your children’s children / And there will be peace for all of Israel. (Psalm 128). As the rabbis might ask: What is the relationship of the reisha (the first part of this statement) and the seifa (the second part)? What does seeing your grandchildren have to do with peace in Israel? According to Moshe Hellner, may his memory be for a blessing, when a daughter gets married her father asks himself, “Who is this guy she is marrying? How is he worthy of her?” When he sees the grandchildren before him, all is forgiven, and there is “peace in Israel.” For many people, becoming a grandparent is a high point of life, the payoff for all those years of piano lessons, trips to the orthodontist, peanut butter sandwiches, and sleepless nights. The moment when one looks upon the face of one’s grandchild is worthy of a special blessing. Several of our contributors offer their ideas.
Ritual helps us pay attention. From the joy of a recovery to the grief of a funeral, ritual helps us inhabit the breadth of human experience.
The truth is that I didn’t lose control when I became a parent. I never had control. What I had was the illusion of control, the false conviction that my blessings were earned.