Standing Tall

Ronit Sherwin

My daughter recently began to pull herself up and stand on her own. She is very proud of herself, turning toward me to look at her and then breaking into a big smile. It is quite amazing to watch my nearly ten month old child begin her independence. And to think, we all began with the same step of standing tall.

The ability to stand on one’s own feet is a necessary skill that carries one through his/her entire life. Of course, we have family, friends and teachers that help us up when we fall time and time again. But ultimately, we need to stand on our own two feet. Standing implies pride and confidence, as well as the ability for hubris and self-satisfaction, traits that need to be kept in line to a reasonable degree. It is often the falling from one’s feet that highlights one’s humility and reminds us that we too are human, and like others, can hit road blocks and pitfalls along life’s way.


Traditional rabbinic literature even discusses the ability to stand as a trait that we human share with the angels. At the same time, we human beings also share the trait of mortality with the rest of earth’s creatures. Think about that for a moment. We can stand (angelically, at times) and accomplish and feel great pride in what we have done on our own, but ultimately, we too are finite and not too great that our lives end any differently that the rest of G-d’s creation. Hmm . . . that is a humbling thought.

But for the time being, I am rather enjoying watching my daughter pick herself up and move herself a few steps. And it is with a smile and a twinge in my heart that I also watch her fall down and discover how to pick herself up once again. That trait of getting back up will take her just as far as standing tall.


Previous Posts: 

• Life’s Expectations

• Going Home

• Living in the Middle

• Where are you?


About Ronit: Ronit Sherwin is the Executive Director of Nishmah:The St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project, which she co-founded in 2005. Ronit has served as an educator in the Jewish communal field for 14 years, teaching families, teens and adults, with a particular focus on girls and women. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Ronit received her Bachelor’s degree in Education from the Ohio State University and then later completed a Master’s in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Ronit is also the glowing mother of boy-girl twins, Natan and Batya.