By Tal Nitzan
Illustrated by: LiorKatzir
Most people are glad to return home at day’s end, even if their home is far from being a splendid palace. This story is a love-song to all the little things that make us who we are, and to everything that surrounds us – so familiar and well-beloved.
Who is Rich? The ONE who is happy with what they have (AVOT 4:1)
This Mishnah from “The Wisdom of the Sages” teaches us that human happiness may be measured not in costly possessions, status, or money – but in the capacity to be grateful for and rejoice in what we have. Just like all of us, the girl in this poem is not perfect. She has a bulbous nose, a squeaky voice, even a messy room – yet she’s happy and “rich,” because she loves and accepts herself for who she is.
Activities to Do Together at Home
Spend some time looking at the illustrations together and recalling all the things that the girl in the poem loves. Ask your children what they love “the most in the world.”
Did anything in the illustrations make you laugh? In the poem, the girl drew a lion that came out looking more like a rabbit, so she called it her “rabbitlion.” You and your children could draw some imaginary animals and invent made-up names for them.
Accepting oneself does not mean having no aspiration to improve. Have a conversation with your children about the things in our lives that we need to learn to accept, and contrast those with the things that we could strive to change. Brainstorm together about something that you all would like to improve, and about ways to achieve that goal.
Explain to your children the meaning of “Who is rich? The person who is happy with what they have,” and discuss what it signifies to each of you. Ask your children: who is rich in their eyes? What makes each member of the family happy? And what makes us, taken together as a family, happy?
You might start a new family tradition, using bedtime to recall the good things that happened today, and the good people that we love. Each family member might say two good things that happened to them today, and mention someone or something that they especially cherish.