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
SHELACH LECHA — Mishaps can happen to anyone. Whether it’s stubbing your toe as you get out of bed in the morning, or something more serious like forgetting your lunch at home, we all have our share of annoyances and challenges. The trick is to make sure we stay in charge of our reactions and not let a small mishap escalate to a full-blown crisis. Our Torah portion, Shelach Lecha, recounts the story of the scouts sent by the Jews to check out the Land of Israel as they drew closer. The spies’ report was very unfavorable. In fact, they seemed to...Read More
SHELACH LECHA — Most likely you have found yourself in a group situation where your opinion simply does not match the group consensus? Do you speak your mind, or do you keep silent? If you choose to share your opinion, how do you go about introducing it? And if you remain quiet, do you think of it as being for the “good of the group”? In this week’s Torah portion, Shelach Lecha, a group of scouts is sent out to report back on what lies ahead for the Israelites. When ten of the twelve scouts return, ten paint a...Read More
NASO — Jealousy is a powerful force. Adults and children are both vulnerable to this feeling, but children are especially prone to being jealous of their friends: “He has the more expensive sneakers”, “She has straight hair”, “He’s taller than I am”, “She’s a faster runner”. The litany continues ad infinitum. In this week’s Torah portion a husband is jealous about his wife’s suspected infidelity. The Torah goes to great lengths to set out an elaborate procedure aimed at allaying his jealousy. In this way the Torah acknowledges what a destructive force jealousy can be. To address this in...Read More
NASO — When you live with someone, it’s difficult to become a model. People who live together see one another’s flaws and weaknesses and all their inconsistencies. Still, even with that reality, parents must be models for their children. For better or worse, children learn how to be in the world from their parents. Parents learn that it’s not what we instruct verbally, but what we do ourselves that is the most powerful teacher of all. In this week’s Torah portion, the laws of a Nazarite are enumerated for someone who voluntarily takes on stringent rules for a defined...Read More
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