TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Children, naturally, don’t have patience. In fact, the younger they are, the less they have. When they are preschoolers, they can sometimes behave like a roiling bundle of impulses and passions. “It’s not fair,” they cry out—or they throw a tantrum over something they want and can’t have or, even worse, hit another child. It is our job as parents to take those impulses and passions, and channel them. Some of those impulses are positive—they may have an early sense of justice—but they can’t express that sense of justice through hitting. Though children may be demanding their rights, a temper tantrum won’t help them to get what...Read More
VAYECHI — When we are angry, our vision narrows and we sometimes act in ways that would shock even ourselves in a better moment. It is hard to maintain perspective when someone or something angers or offends us. But, upon reflection we are able to look back on our actions and make changes for the future. We will not be forgiven for our regrettable actions if we do not make changes in our behavior. In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, Jacob is on his deathbed and shares parting words with all of his sons. These are not the blessings you might expect from a dying patriarch. Many of them are...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
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
VA-YIGASH — Young children are impulsive. They can’t really help it. They feel so intensely they blurt out whatever is on their minds, sometimes with love and sometimes in rage. It’s our job as parents to help them translate the intensity of their feelings into appropriate behavior. They might be angry, but they can’t mistreat their brother or sister, friend or parent. They need to find the right words to express what they are going through. They might want something belonging to a friend or sibling, but they can’t just grab it; they must ask for it respectfully. In...Read More
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