VA-YERA — We, as parents, tell our children never to lie. However, as adults we most probably tell white lies fairly often. “How do I look in this dress?” a wife asks her husband as they walk into a party. Is that the moment the husband should tell the absolute truth and say– “darling, I hate to tell you, but that dress makes you look fat”? Or should the husband say, “Beautiful– that color brings out your eyes”. Ethically, are there ever times to lie? Yes. When the truth will hurt someone’s feelings for no good reason. When a...Read More
VA-YERA — We use words to express so many different things: from basic things like “I’m hungry” to deeper things like “I love you.” Words have power to do good, but it is easy to forget how much harm we can do with them. We often think that our words cannot be hurtful if the person we are speaking about is not around. But with the prevalence of e-mail, texting, and twitter, seldom do our words end when we first express them. It is safe to assume that any words we say will be heard again. In this week’s...Read More
VA-YERA — Hospitality is a powerful way to model kindness. Opening one’s home to others is a way for people to share with one another the uniqueness of who they are and the blessings they have. Abraham in our Torah portion shows what an essential value hospitality is in the Bible. Even though he is in the midst of a conversation with God, he surprisingly interrupts it to welcome three strangers he sees from afar. He begs them to stay awhile and have a morsel of bread and some water. Meanwhile, he and Sarah prepare a sumptuous meal for...Read More
LECH LECHA — As parents, we are often handling disputes between our children. Isn’t it amazing how each child thinks he or she is justified, correct, and not at fault? Because fighting within a family is very common, our efforts have to focus everyone on the importance of living in peace. Disagreements will happen, and we may feel very justified in our positions, but that doesn’t mean that acrimony must prevail. In this week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, Abraham feels forced to asks his nephew Lot to part ways. Lot had accompanied Abraham through many of his travels, but...Read More
LECH LECHA — Jealousy rears its ugly head when we’re least expecting it. We may feel jealous of our friend’s summer vacation plans, our brother’s charisma and charm, or our colleague’s corner office. We may be envious of people we love and people we don’t even know. We might resent a model’s shiny hair, thin waist and radiant smile, or a singer’s ability to hit an F-sharp. However, envy fogs our ability to think straight and make good choices. In this week’s Torah reading, Lech Lecha, Sarah was jealous of her maid Hagar. Hagar easily became pregnant while Sarah struggled to conceive. Resentment of Hagar’s good fortune caused Sarah to...Read More
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