chiddush logo

Body Language of Love: Hugging and Kissing Our Children.

Written by שי טחן, 2/1/2024


Body Language of Love: Hugging and Kissing Our Children.

The Torah verses convey profound messages that we can insightfully extract for our daily lives. Rabbi Shay Tahan, the Rosh Kollel of Shaarei Ezra in Brooklyn, NY, graciously opens the gates to understand them.

"ויהי בימים ההם ויגדל משה ויצא אל אחיו וירא בסבלתם" (שמות ב,יא).

וירא בסבלתם- נתן עיניו ולבו להיות מצר עליהם (רש״י).

There are numerous ways to express love to someone close, such as your child or grandchild. One way is to express love through gift-giving, as demonstrated by Yaakov when he gave Yosef the ketonet pasim as an expression of his love. In our Torah portion (Shemot), we discover one method of expressing love and care, while in the preceding Torah portion (Vayechi), we were introduced to a different approach.

Young Moshe departs from his palace to the field and witnesses the enslavement of the nation. Instead of turning a blind eye to their suffering, he takes decisive action. Rashi notes that Moshe "puts his eyes and heart to it". This phrase suggests that he not only cared about them in his heart but also expressed his concern through his gaze—a form of communication where one conveys care through their eyes. When dealing with a whole nation, physical gestures like hugs might not be feasible or appropriate. Therefore, Moshe expresses his compassion through his eyes, using a facial expression that radiates affection and warmth, conveying his deep care for the people he witnessed suffering.

However, among family members, such as one's children and grandchildren, the most powerful way to express love is through hugging and kissing. When Yaakov Avinu prepares to bless his grandchildren before his passing, he seeks to convey his profound love for them. Due to Yaakov's blindness at that stage of his life, expressing love through eye contact was not possible. Similarly, he couldn't bestow gifts as another means of expressing affection. Consequently, he turns to Yosef and requests him to bring the grandchildren close for the blessing. As Menashe and Ephraim are brought, Yaakov embraces them, hugging and kissing them for an extended period, as he wouldn't let go. The testimony to this is that the verse mentions Yosef physically having to remove them from Yaakov's lap.

Hugging is a powerful form of nonverbal communication that expresses love, affection, and emotional connection. The body language associated with hugging conveys several key messages:

1. Warmth and Affection: A hug involves a sense of affection. It's a way of expressing care and love without the need for words.

2. Comfort and Support: A hug provides comfort and support, especially during difficult or emotional times. The act of embracing someone can be reassuring and make them feel safe and protected.

3. Bonding and Connection: Hugging fosters a sense of bonding and connection between individuals. It creates closeness that reinforces emotional ties and strengthens relationships.

4. Nonverbal Communication: Hugs can convey emotions that may be challenging to express verbally. They are a nonverbal way of saying, "I care about you," "You're important to me," or "I'm here for you."

Moreover, hugs serve as a genuine expression of emotions. While words can be insincere and gifts may be given without true sentiment, hugging and kissing someone you don't have genuine affection for is challenging. In the interaction between Yaakov and Esav, where Esav hugs and kisses Yaakov, Rashi notes that although Esav typically harbors animosity towards Yaakov, in that specific moment, he displayed genuine affection. This aligns with our understanding that hugs are typically sincere and reflect the true sentiments of the moment.

Even when Lavan hugged Yaakov with the intention of searching for hidden gold and jewelry, the act itself was executed with a form of affection. However, this affection was directed not towards Yaakov but towards the valuable items. In essence, Lavan's hugs were more of an expression of attachment to the jewelry rather than genuine affection for Yaakov.

As mentioned, it's plausible that given Yaakov's advanced age and limited abilities at that point in his life, he had only one means to convey his love to them. Being nearly blind, he couldn't gaze at them with the needed expression of love. Furthermore, he couldn't offer them material gifts, as being the children of the king, they likely possessed everything. The unique and irreplaceable love of a grandfather is a gift that only a parent or grandparent can give, unlike any other. Recognizing this, Yaakov sought to ensure that his grandchildren received a generous portion of that love before his passing. Similarly to the situation with Moshe, when the nation was in a state of distress, having the king's son from the palace comforting them was invaluable. They undoubtedly felt supported by his genuine care.

In our modern era, we can draw parallels to this message, especially during challenging times. Numerous world leaders have demonstrated their support for the Jewish nation in various events. Whether by visiting Israel to express solidarity or participating in events like the Israel Rally in Washington, where many official leaders showed their support, such gestures should not be taken lightly. This backing has uplifted many during times of crisis.

To dedicate this Chiddush (Free!) Leiluy Nishmas,Refuah Sheleimah, Hatzlacha, click here
Agree? Disagree? Want to add anything? Comment on the chiddush!
Discussions - Answers and Comments (0)
This chiddush has not been commented on yet