RE-EH — Caring about others and giving to the needy are important lessons for children to learn. Children, however, tend to be caught up in their own worlds, with their own needs for toys and games and other material wants. Their immediate wants and needs and keeping up with their friends makes it difficult to impart a lesson to children regarding giving to others. The Torah is sensitive to the needs of those who have less than others and issues a mandate to help these persons. In this week’s Torah portion it says that we should not harden our...Read More
RE-EH — All parents try to discipline their children. They have different methods, but generally parents are trying to influence their children to be moral and to behave appropriately. Imposing any kind of discipline rests on the assumption that children have free will. They can choose what is good and reap rewards, or choose what is bad and suffer the consequences. In this week’s Torah portion, Re-eh, Moses tells his people: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse”. The people have a choice: they can obey the commandments and reap blessings, or they can fail to...Read More
VA-ETCHANAN — We often do not think of the potential consequences before we take action. Hopefully, we stop to think about the impact on our surroundings when we are making big decisions that require a lot of thought. But in the moment when we react quickly or when a decision doesn’t seem as though it has far-reaching implications, it is unlikely that we are running through all possible scenarios in our minds. So what happens when we are later faced with the consequences of those actions? In this week’s Torah portion, we see Moses dealing with the consequences of...Read More
DEVARIM — We often jump to conclusions. A child walks into a new class and quickly decides who is ‘cool’ and who is not. We may witness an interaction between spouses or a parent and child and immediately decide that someone is being abusive or disrespectful, even though we lack any knowledge of the context. Sometimes our judgment calls are on target and sometimes they aren’t. In Devarim, this week’s Torah portion, Moses recounts the instructions he gave to the first group of judges he appointed. These instructions are repeated to remind us of their importance and timelessness. Moses...Read More
MATOT/MASEI — Picture this: Mom comes home and finds broken glass in the kitchen, sticky juice and muddy footprints all over the floor, and no one in sight. Three kids and the dog are watching TV in the den. When mom comes in, everyone shouts “It wasn’t me!” and points their finger across the room. Sound familiar? It’s always easier to blame a younger sibling or the dog. It’s less scary to point your finger at someone else than to point it at yourself. Even Moses falls into this trap in this week’s Torah reading. Moses accuses Israel’s enemies...Read More
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