MISHPATIM — We must carefully value our speech. Words are a powerful tool. They can bring people closer or they can distance them. They can hurt or they can heal. Whether we are speaking to a family member, a friend, a teacher, a neighbor, or a stranger, our words always have an impact. Even if the person we’re speaking to doesn’t seem to care, everyone is affected by our tone and manner of speaking. If we are often insulting or disrespectful, we become a problem both to others and to ourselves. This week our Torah portion emphasizes that the...Read More
BO — All of us become stubborn at times. We don’t want to listen to what others are telling us about ourselves. It’s hard to change and we resist. None of us want to listen to difficult truths. Likewise with Pharoah, the leader of Egypt, in our Biblical portion. He didn’t want to listen to Moses. He didn’t want to let the Israelites go. He hardened his heart, so plague after plague ensued. When we refuse to listen, life becomes harder. We become “plagued” with problems. But we can minimize stubbornness in ourselves and our children. Gentleness is the key....Read More
BO — There is a huge difference between living with the past and living in the past. You may have been cheated or verbally abused by someone close. A teacher’s words may have stung or a friend betrayed you. It is easy to be stuck with those memories of pain or hatred, but while we can’t change our past, we can certainly change our future. G-d tells the Jewish nation that they are soon to leave Egypt, where they have been enslaved for over two hundred years, and He gives a curious instruction. The soon-to-be-free slaves are to approach...Read More
TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Sometimes we see things, whether at work or at school, and we know they are wrong. But the question for us is to decide when to intervene. We all make decisions regarding when it’s “just not our business” and when it would be wrong not to say something. But knowing which is which is difficult. If we see someone helpless being demeaned, it’s important to step in and help out. Whether acting discreetly or out in the open is a decision we will have to make in each situation. In our Torah parsha this week, Moses...Read More
VAYECHI — We’ve all been offended at one time or another by the words or actions of a family member. Parents, children, spouses and siblings do end up hurting each other, willfully or unintentionally. It is never too early to begin to learn to forgive. By taking ourselves less seriously, it becomes easier to forgive another. When it comes to family, the ability to forgive is crucial. Family is permanent, and having the strength to forgive is rewarding for all. This week’s Torah portion gives a very clear message on the importance of family forgiveness. In the portion we are...Read More
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