Parenting is an art. Like art, parenting doesn't follow a script - it cannot follow a script. Like art, parenting cannot be mimicked or copied, for that is by definition not art. True art is natural, organic and flows from within. Yes, there are many functions of parenting which are perfunctory, but the real thing is very much dynamic and genuine.

As Rabbi Shais Taub puts it, parenting does require the perfunctory '3 P's' - 'policing, providing and protecting' - but parenting is not (only) the 3 P's. It's something far greater.

As Jews, we were blessed with seven remarkable parents: Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah. These towering figures, ancestors of the Jewish people, are the reason why we're all still here. Yet of all of them, three stand out. They are Jacob, Rachel and Leah. These last three members of that illustrious lineup are unique in the fact that their parenting took place in the most improbable of places.

Although for the past two millennia the Jewish people have been dispersed around the world, for the first two millennia of our existence living outside of the Holy Land was all but inconceivable. Starting with Abraham and Sara, the Land of Israel was simply the only place where one could be Jewish. (Only 44 percent of Judaism can be practiced outside of Israel). It is no surprise then that the founding mothers and fathers of the Jewish people spent all their formative years there (Abraham and Sara moved there when they became Jewish).

The big exceptions to this rule are Jacob, Rachel and Leah , whose stories we read in this week's Torah portion. They, unlike their predecessors (and most of their successors), spent most of their time formative years outside of Israel, raising their families in the backcountry of rural Turkey. Yet, of all the Jewish ancestors, Jacob, Rachel and Leah's parenting journey proved to be the most successful.

For Jacob, Rachel and Leah parented from within, from the heart. Raising a Jewish family in the hinterlands of Turkey demanded it - everything took effort. The result was that although challenges abounded, so did sincerity. Although dinner, and breakfast might have not been as simple to arrange as it was for their predecessors, for Jacob, Rachel and Leah every dinner was special, every breakfast meaningful. And their kids knew it.

As the Kabbalah writes, 'רחמנא לבא בעי' - G‑d wants our hearts, our sincerity. Our families and friends want it too. It's the most valuable thing us human beings have to offer. As far as parenting goes, our founding mothers and fathers taught us that more valuable than all else is conveying the feeling to our children that we truly care. For parenting really is an art.

Rabbi Avrohom