by Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback


A chapter closed for me this week: my oldest daughter went away to college. Jacqueline and I are happy for her and we’re excited to hear about her studies, her new friends, and all of her adventures. But, of course, we are sad, too. She is far away from us and we won’t see her nearly as often as we’d like.

We walk by her room and we feel her absence. We long to hear her voice as she enters the house after school, the sound of her footsteps in the evening as she walks down the hall towards our bedroom to tell us goodnight. It’s only been a few days and we already miss her – terribly. Our hearts are at once full and a little bit broken.

This week’s Torah portion includes the perfect verse for a moment like this. We are told in Parashat Ki Tavo that if we walk in God’s ways and observe God’s instructions, we will be blessed when we go out and when we come in:

“Blessed shall you be in your comings and blessed shall you be in your goings (בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה בְּבֹאֶךָ וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה בְּצֵאתֶךָ׃).” (Deuteronomy 28:6)

There are so many moments in our lives which are blessed. Some of them are sweet and some of them are bittersweet. Sometimes we feel the blessings in our going out and sometimes in our coming in. Sometimes we feel the blessings in our laughter and sometimes in our tears. When a child you longed for, cared for, and loved every single day since she came into this world spreads her wings and flies away, it is a blessing, albeit a painful one. I give thanks for the gift of a new chapter and for the reminder from our tradition that, in the going out as well, there is blessing to be found.