A Bisl Torah

Bids for Connection

Every Thursday I take my 10 month old to a wonderful Parent n’ Me class through the Sinai Akiba Parenting Center.

Our teacher, Julia Kantor, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist engages our babies through play, story, observation and song. But at the end of every class is an opportunity for the parents to learn something new—about our children, our relationships, ourselves.

I just never expected to learn something about God as well.

Julia introduced the idea, “bids for connection.” She explained that Drs. John and Julie Gottman have studied couples’ behaviors for over thirty years, pre and post having children. The two identified that every day, couples present each other bids for connection. Be it extending a hand, an opening for conversation, or a kiss at the end of the day, partners are constantly seeking ways to connect. The Gottmans explain that there are three ways to respond to someone’s bid: Turn away, turn against, turn towards. Meaning, you may completely ignore someone’s extension, you may aggressively reject them, or alternatively, welcome their offer to connect. Julia encouraged each one of us to look for the bids of connection in our lives and determine how we approach our relationships, when we turn away and when we turn towards.

But as my mind often wanders, I couldn’t help but think about the bids of connection God constantly offers. When we see an invitation online to a Shabbat service, hear the plea of a loved one to call more often, or see a piece of litter in the street, perhaps these are merely signs from God bidding us to connect. The question becomes, how do we respond to God’s calls?

Ignore, reject or turn towards?

God asked Adam, “Ayeka?” “Where are you?” However, some of God’s calls are not as direct. God’s bidding in our lives metamorphose into different variants. A homeless woman asking for food on the corner. Our child, parent, partner or friend clamoring for a little more attention. An email or phone call asking us to become more involved, more committed.

God is asking us to listen. How will we respond to God’s bidding?

Ignore, reject or turn towards?

I wish you a Shabbat of more “turning towards”, less “turning away”, and an abundance of connection, blessing and peace.

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