Yehuda was pleading before the ruler of Egypt (Parasha Vayigash). Tzafenat Paneach (who was actually Yehuda’s Brother Yosef) wanted to take Yehuda’s brother, Binyamin, as a slave. Yehuda, son of Leah, was ready to give his life in this world and the next to save his brother from same father – Yaakov / Jacob – but another mother – Rachel. He told the ruler – you cannot take my brother. If you do so his elderly father will be brought down to the grave – he says:
And now, when I come to your servant, my father, and the lad is not with us; . (Bereshit 44:30)
The Torah tells you the essence of all. Here the Torah teaches the definition of Love. The text says in Hebrew “Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho” – “and his soul is connected with his soul.” Targum Yonathan (the Aramaic translation of the Torah) translates Keshura – bound or connected as haviva – beloved. Meaning he translates that “And His Soul is Beloved like His Soul”
Thus Love is equated to connection.
Rabbi Nechemia Grama spoke about the subject of Connecting with children entitled – Ve Nafsho Keshura BeNafsho.
He asked for a one word definition of love. The response was “Connection.” He made a distinction between fulfilling a child’s physical needs – and the child’s soul’s needs.
He asked children What is the difference between their mother and their live in cleaning lady?
One child said “The cleaning lady gets paid to clean the house. My mother doesn’t”
Another “You can fire the cleaning lady – you can’t fire my mother.”
The point is that – children need to feel the relationship.
If a child that thinks his mother is an alternate cleaning lady – it may mean that his mother (or father) may be lacking in the connection department. A child should know and feel that their parents love them.
When we make a physical connection between objects there are two parts. When we connect with another person – what are we connecting with? We are connecting one soul with another soul.
One Question he asked was “Why does a child do nothing significant in the first 5 years of life?” You feed them, you carry them, you play with them – but they accomplish little or nothing. He explained that one reason is to give a parent opportunities to connect with the child those 5 years.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe says a 3 month child can distinguish between a smiling look and angry look. Who knows what is more important to a child – is it the food that you give to them or the orat hapanim (illumination of the face) – connection that you give to them. it is clear a child that grows without the orot hapanim – is like a plant without sunlight.
Is Connection more important than food?
He told a story of children survivors after Holocaust. In the freedom camps there were many starving children standing on a long line. One American soldier was giving out chocolate to children. Kids waited patiently in line for their portion of chocolate.
Another soldier saw a kid passing, called him over to him and gave them a hug. The entire line of children went off the chocolate line and went on the hugging line.
How to connect
The rabbi mentioned that it is not the activity that causes connection. There are some activities that are more apt to cause connections – but it is not the activity – it is the interaction. Thus any activity can be used to create a connection.
He mentioned that a woman used to put the coat on her child just like she would put it on a coat rack. Then she started using the opportunity to connect with her child.
A person can be surrounded by people but still feel lonely or empty. The lack of connection causes loneliness or emptiness.
Certain problems can be caused by this lack of connection. He mentioned fear, lack of self esteem, lack of self-value, lack of sense of security, lack of calmness, and other concerns.
A child that is connected will want to be an eved hashem / Servant of G-d. How do we develop a ratzon / will to be an eved hashem? Rabbi Chaim Friedlander explains how to achieve it – Only if we can make a kesher hanafshi / Soul Connection. The kesher hanafshi with rebbi – will make a person want to learn. The parent who has a connection – the child will naturally want to make parent happy.