Sibling Rivalry: Consulting with your Angels

It is on this Shabbat that we begin the cycle of the Torah reading again. The Torah starts with the story of Creation. When G-d made the Heaven and the Earth, the waters and all the creatures in them, he consulted with the angels. “Let us make man….”

Now, this might seem a bit strange. G-d did not consult with the angels before making anything else (well… that may be because the angels did not exist yet until G-d made them) but still, why would a being as powerful as G-d need to consult with lower beings, angels, before creating anything? Isn’t G-d will the highest authority in the universe? If so, what does the opinion of a few angels count?

Rashi, the famed Jewish scholar, comments on this issue and says that it is a wise king or ruler who consults with those beneath him before making a decision. He may have already made up his mind, nevertheless, discussing plans with underlings make them feel more empowered and promotes peace.

Is there a new baby in your life? If so, mazel tov, and if you are concerned about impending sibling rivalry, take a lesson from the Creation story. The angels were the first sentient beings G-d created which were capable of reason. Then G-d created man. Naturally, the angels were jealous. So what did G-d do? He consulted with them. This doesn’t mean consulting with your child before having a new baby, but it does mean that it is a good idea to involve the older sibling in the life of the new baby, even if you have already made up your mind about what the baby needs.

Your three year old complains “That baby keeps crying!” Ask your child, “Why is he crying? Is he hungry? Could you give me his bottle? Does he need a pacifier?” Children love to feel needed, especially when there is a new baby around, just as the angels needed to feel important when the new children, Adam and Chava, were created. A parent need not surrender one iota of authority by empowering a child, and since we are not G-d, the child might even come up with a better solution than the one we had planned!

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