Values & Ethics - Through a Jewish Lens

Discussion Topics for Tzav

HUMILITY VS INSECURITY…

TORAH PORTION: TZAV

Tzav1Humility is a difficult trait to teach and to acquire. We must understand the difference between humility and insecurity. Insecurity is the lack of confidence in our abilities. Humility is achieved when we have the confidence in ourselves along with awareness that our abilities are in fact gifts with responsibilities.

This week’s Torah portion contains a reminder to the Priests that they are there to serve with humility. Priests perform their Temple rituals in magnificent dress, but they must regularly perform very menial tasks such as cleaning the Altar in ordinary worker’s clothes. The Priests, the
most noble and sacred group in the nation, are thus constantly aware that they are to serve with humility.

There’s a perpetual tension between fostering a strong sense of self in our children and ensuring that they don’t become self-centered and egotistical. We must remember and model to our children that we are all part of a larger picture. The larger picture is our family, our community, our country, our nation, and our universe. As we grow, so should our appreciation of the vast contributions others have made to our well-being and develop our sense of awe and humility.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the difficulty and importance of developing a healthy humility.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

  • What is humility?
  • Can you be very good at something and humble at the same time?
  • Is there something very good or wrong with a High Priest taking out the garbage?
  • Can a healthy sense of humility contribute to self-confidence?

By Rabbi Moshe Becker

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.

FEELING GRATEFUL…

TORAH PORTION: TZAV

Tzav2Most of us are good at seeing flaws around us or within us. However, we may have difficulty realizing how much in our lives actually works well. Acknowledging this fact is at the heart of feeling gratitude. Gratitude is central to affirming all that we have and all that others do for us; in fact, it is central to a feeling of well-being. When feeling grateful, we are conscious of the manifold blessings in our lives.

In this week’s Torah portion the Israelites express their thanksgiving by bringing an offering to the Temple of an animal or a vegetarian option of grain. Something concrete is offered to show one’s gratitude. Gratitude, in the Torah, is an integral part of one’s spiritual life.

We too can nurture this feeling in ourselves and our children. Try stopping for a few moments each day and thinking of all the things you have for which to be grateful. When we do so, we become conscious of how much we really have in our lives and feel enriched. It is also a good habit to encourage in our children. It’s important not only to encourage them to say thank you by rote, but to help them become aware of what they have in their lives. In this way they can form a life-long habit of feeling and being grateful for the many blessings they have.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about all the blessings they have in their lives.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

  • What are things for which you feel grateful?
  • What are some ways to show gratitude?
  • How can we learn to appreciate ourselves and those around us more?

By Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.

CONSTANTLY FEEDING OUR INTERNAL SPARK…

TORAH PORTION: TZAV

tzav3Jewish learning is a continuous process of discovering the richness and relevance of our tradition.  Many people think learning can stop when school stops.  Stopping Jewish studies after 13 is all too common.

This week’s Torah portion, Tzav, instructs that a small fire must burn permanently on the Altar represent the desire within each of us to connect to something bigger and higher, just as a fire always reaches upwards.  This small flame also reminds each of us that we have a spark to learn and improve within us.  It is our responsibility to nurture our spark by feeding it through continued learning.

The smallest commitment today to Jewish learning and knowledge can feed a blaze for generations.  Our books, texts, and traditions bring new meaning to us at different stages of our life.  An easy way to re-start our Jewish journey is to visit www.myjewishlearning.com and explore its rich treasures of information.  Consider signing up for one or more of their special interest weekly emails.  Let’s show our children why exploring our traditions is important by displaying our own passion for constant learning.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about the value of being life-long learners.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

  • Did you know that the brilliance and wisdom of the Torah’s values/ethics are available to everyone, disbeliever or believer?
  • Did you know that our Torah is a great collection of wisdom that has positively affected other religions and even the founding fathers of America?
  • Did you know that Jewish wisdom is relevant to EVERONE’S life today?  (A small example is “a day of rest each week”.  Before our Torah, nobody divided time into weeks.  All time was in months based on the moon.)

By Rabbi Moshe Becker

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.