VA-YIKRA — In a world of text messaging and twitter, writing a proper thank-you note has become a lost art. We express our appreciation by quickly texting THNX!!! while out-and-about and multitasking on smart phones. In contrast, in order to write a thank-you note you must sit at a desk and have a pen, stationery, and a stamp on hand. You need to write legibly, know your recipient’s street address, and have ample time and quiet to focus on expressing sincere gratitude. Unlike texting, however, sending a thankyou note shows that you are willing to sacrifice precious time to...Read More
PEKUDEI — Are there special moments that you set aside in the hopes that you won’t be interrupted or distracted? Family dinner? Those fifteen minutes before bedtime? A birthday? What is it that makes those times special for you? Is it the people you are with or the actual thing that you are doing? Is it about a particular time of day or year or about the event around which it is organized? Now think about how those times feel different from the rest of the week. Do you not take phone calls or answer email? Are there certain...Read More
KI TISSA — We are each our own harshest critics. It is very easy to see our own flaws and what we could do better. We dwell on things in ourselves that others don’t even notice. But this does not prevent us also from seeing flaws in those around us. Often it is easy to focus on what is not as we would like. But these flaws, like veins in a beautiful gem, are what remind us that we are each unique creations. Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all perfect and no butterfly were...Read More
TERUMAH — As we grow, we are trying to develop ourselves. We spend time on how we look, the styles we like, and how we wear our hair. Often we spend more time on what is outside us than what is inside. This week’s Torah portion Trumah deals with building the sanctuary in the desert. Instructions are clear that the outside should be plain, orderly, neat, and clean but not showy. The inside is clearly the more important place where it is permissible to exhibit the most beautiful decorations and objects. Our bodies are our own sanctuary. Clearly, in...Read More
VAYECHI — Each family has a mission in the world. With reflection, you could probably write a mission statement for your family. For example, parents might work toward their children growing up to be secure, contributing members of society, ensuring that they have compassion for others and do good in the world. Everything we do while we are raising our children, large and small, contributes to this overall mission. In our parsha this week, we find Jacob on his deathbed, offering a blessing to each of his sons. Each blessing includes a vision of that child’s future. For example,...Read More
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