We have all sorts of rules in our lives. Some rules are serious, make sense, are easy to follow, and others are more difficult to obey. They vary greatly from “don’t run into traffic” to “don’t copy a friend’s homework”. Some are more universal rules like “do not steal” and some are household rules like “trash gets taken out on Thursday night”. Some are very clear in how to obey them, such as “do not murder”, and some are more open to interpretation, such as “be kind to others”. No matter what the rules may be we can always ask ourselves: why do we choose to follow them? Is it because we are afraid of the consequences or because we believe in the rules themselves?
The question is no different in this week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai. All Israelites are instructed to follow rules for the betterment of themselves and society. It is each person’s choice to follow the rules; however, there are consequences when rules are broken.
We both break and follow many rules every day. How is it that we decide which ones fall into each category? Do you always follow the “rules” of a nutritious diet or the “laws” of recycling? Maybe you do and maybe you don’t, but is it because of your feelings about the consequences of breaking it, or the reward of following it? Ultimately, we navigate our way through many decisions each day and, no matter what our choices are, it is important
to think about why we are making them.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the importance of rules in their lives.
CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
- What are some rules that are easy to follow? Why are they easy?
- What are some rules that are harder to follow? Why are they hard?
- Do you think about the consequences when you are thinking about a rule?
- Do the consequences affect your decision as to whether you will or won’t follow the rule?
- What is an example of a rule that you follow simply because you believe in it?
Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.