Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Queen Mother

Chany Rosengarten

Ayala Nivin is the mother of a double-digit family, and she nurtures her 14 children with aplomb. But it wasn’t always like that. The paradigm shift from resentful servant to dignified queen took time, thought, and a whole lot of nurturing — this time, of herself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

 When you speak to Ayala Nivin about her family, ask for her insights into raising a large, happy family, you hear many nuggets of wisdom. But one element threads itself throughout — royalty. “When there are tough moments,” says Ayala, “I try to connect with my inner sense of malchus, of royalty, and that really helps. It leads me to what I feel is the second commandment of Jewish mothers: Remember you are a queen.”

Remember you are a queen? The idea entices like jewelry in a showcase. I want that, I think with a pang. I’d love to feel like a queen.

But mothering children with their strident demands and ever-evolving needs clashes with glass slippers and tiara. As a mother of two I wonder about this mother of 14. How is Ayala a queen?

I find out soon enough, on a sultry afternoon in her house in Ashdod. As I clutch my purse and knock on the apartment door, I imagine a ruckus on the other side and promise myself to remain inconspicuous. With 14 children, five under the age of five, and a set of three-year-old twins thrown in, the house must look ... well, lived in, I assume. Eleven of those 14 are boys and I can just imagine socks strewn around the kitchen floor, and a frazzled mother picking up after them.

Ayala opens the door with a chiming hello. Her smile is deep and relaxed, her eyes nuanced and subtle. I step into an open foyer, which leads to a sun-bathed dining room, a wide staircase to the second floor, and an airy kitchen and dinette. Large windows filter in the sun and sky and lend the rooms spaciousness.

Ayala’s daughter is dropping matzoh balls into a bubbling pot of soup. Ayala laughs with her over their oversight in adding salt. She unties her apron strings and sits down with me at the dining-room table.

Ayala pours drinks. “My husband says, ‘pass me the jews.’$$SEPARATEQUOTES$$” We laugh. Her toddler settles himself on her lap. Remember, I tell myself sternly, this woman raises 14 children. But Ayala has already shattered the myth of the proverbial shmatte.

What is her secret?

“I created a motto for myself; I imagine it as my business card,” she says. It reads “Kevod Hashem alayich niglah.” Framing it into her motto has obligated her. For her, “The glory of Hashem is revealed upon you means that Hashem, who is the ultimate King, filters some of His royalty onto her. When she connects to His will, His kingship is perceived by those around her. She hopes to filter it further, so that her children are a manifestation of Hashem’s glory. 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"