One of the most popular questions I receive is: what are the most important things to know when starting a family? There are so many answers to that question. Making berachos out loud. Treating your spouse with respect. Washing the children’s hands in the morning right away. The list can go on and on.
Looking back at the emails I’ve sent, it seems that my answers have changed slightly over the years. The general theme is the same: we need to lead by example.
I have a new favorite answer. The first thing that all parents should know is Hatzalah’s number. The amount of times we see a Hatzalah ambulance go by every day, with its sirens blaring, is staggering. Many people stop and say a kapittel of Tehillim each time. Most of us already consider it a part of life.
Until you need to call, chas v’shalom. Your son is gagging on some food. A door slammed on your daughter’s finger. One of your children got hit in the head by a hardball. I can keep going. If it’s hard for you to read, I can assure you that it’s terrifying when it happens.
Do you know Hatzalah’s number by heart? Will you forget it in an emergency? Do you have the neon stickers on every phone, and on all cellphones? Every second counts in an emergency. You’ll be desperately waiting to hear the reassuring sound of the siren that signifies help is coming.
I wasn’t asked to write this. There wasn’t even a specific event that convinced me how important Hatzalah is. I’ve called Hatzalah many times, and I always hope it’s the last time. Nevertheless, I have the stickers posted, and my kids must memorize Hatzalah’s number and our address.
There are two things every parent should do.
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.