Maternal Impressions

[First posted on The Times of Israel:]

Ibn Ezra Genesis: Vayetze

Maternal Impressions

“The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” -Henry Ward Beecher

I recall, when we were expecting our first child, there was a popular trend of playing classical music for the embryo. The belief was that it somehow affected the unborn child, helped with its development and would make it smarter. My wife ignored the fad and listened to music she liked, which may explain why all of our children are such good dancers.

When our Patriarch Jacob wanted to affect the coloring of the livestock under his care, in order to increase the payout that his father-in-law/employer Laban was supposed to give him, Jacob strategically placed white sticks at the watering hole for the fertile animals to see.

Ibn Ezra (on Genesis 30:39) explains that what a mother sees during her pregnancy will have an affect on what the child will look like. Hence, by Jacob placing the white sticks in front of the animals, he was able to have an impact on how the new livestock turned out.

May we always gaze upon good, beautiful and healthy sights, which will hopefully have a positive affect on us and our children.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Thanksgiving,



To the Iron Dome defense system. The sight of it knocking Hamas missiles out of the sky was beautiful to behold.


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