KORACH — Children inevitably rebel. This can cause parents to react immediately and angrily to their recalcitrant children. Parents and children might be involved in a reflexive pattern of action and reaction, without any reflection on the part of the parents as to the deeper reasons for their child’s behavior. Perhaps a child is testing limits or feels that the limits placed on him are no longer appropriate for his age. The Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, can be thought of as the book of rebellion. First, the Israelites repeatedly complain about being in the...Read More
KORACH — What happens when you find yourself in a disagreement with someone? There are times when a distance grows between you that must be bridged in order to save the relationship. When that moment arrives, who will be the person who reaches out and extends the olive branch? Is reaching out to the other person first a sign of strength or a sign of weakness? On one hand, it takes a lot of character to attempt to reconcile with someone when the relationship is not going well. On the other hand, it might be seen as “giving in”...Read More
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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