BEHAR — “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” This ditty, often recited by kids when they are called names, is designed to protect a child from the meanness of other children. But, words, truth be told, are powerful weapons. Indeed, it would be more honest to chant: “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can hurt me!” Children are especially vulnerable to the words of another. In our Torah portion this week we are enjoined “not to wrong one another”, meaning not hurt one another with words. Instead we are to consider...Read More
EMOR — Everyone gets angry at one time or another. But the difference between purposeful, productive anger and destructive anger is vast. Appropriate anger can be used to make a point passionately, but in measured terms. However, when we are out of control, anger can be counterproductive, making us incapable of communicating effectively. Furthermore, it can hurt those around us and be especially hurtful and frightening to children. In our Torah portion this week there is a story of two men fighting with one another. One is so angry that he curses the other, using God’s name in vain. ...Read More
SHEMINI — We all become rash when we are angry. We are quick to condemn others. Anger clouds our reason, and we can accuse others without thinking clearly. When we become angry we should ask ourselves: what good motivation might this person have for his or her action that I can’t see? What am I missing that this person sees? Though we may have reason to be upset, often our own reactions are clouded by emotion, blinding us from seeing the true situation before us. In this week’s parashah, Moses gets angry with Eliezer and Itamar, two of...Read More
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