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Covid, Kids and the 10 Commandments

“Is there anything that you are jealous about?”

Shavuot Cheesecake

I asked this question to my young children as we sat on the couch on Shavuot morning just weeks after the pandemic had started. It was May 2020 and Shuls were closed. It was the first pandemic our generation was experiencing and it felt like the world had shut down forever.

I figured it was my responsibility to teach the 10 commandments to my children as didn’t I always lecture that the Torah must be passed down to the children by their parents. Now it was literally being handed down in my living room.

No shul. No large ice cream parties. No late night learning. No cheesecake kiddushes and wine buffets. Just me and my family sitting on the couch on Shavuot morning trying to comprehend the 10 commandments.

Yet it was surprisingly refreshing, Simple and down to earth.

The 10 commandments given by G-d to the Jewish people on Mt Sinai thousands of years ago was so real to my children. I read each one of the commandments in Hebrew from the Chumash, explained it in English and then we brainstormed what it meant to them in their lives in 2020 during Covid. And it was so relatable.

“Ema I’m really jealous that my neighbor has a pet” my four year old daughter said to me with her large blue eyes open wide. I tried to laugh, where exactly would we fit a pet in our home? “I love celebrating Shabbat” my 3 year old son shared. That touched me. I put so much effort in making Shabbat special and I was so glad it impacted him. “I believe G-d will protect us during covid" my seven year old mentioned. That was deep. The pandemic was raging in the world and wreaking havoc and my child was talking about G-d.

The 10 commandments, the Torah, the mitzvot and most of all G-d are relatable. We just need to make space for it in our living room as we sit on our couches eating cheesecake and drinking wine.

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