BEHA’ALOTECHA — A child’s face lighting up can light up the world. It most certainly will light up his or her parents’ hearts. Children are naturally curious, and their faces light up with understanding and delight. It’s up to us as parents and teachers to keep encouraging and nurturing that curiosity. When children ask a question and you don’t know the answer, look it up with them, or encourage them to look for the answer themselves. That is the beginning of education and using resources to follow one’s own curiosity into deeper understanding. This week’s Torah portion describes the...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
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
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
BEHAR — Judaism is concerned with the ethics of our everyday actions, even those seemingly harmless. For example, a woman walks into a store to get information about buying an air conditioner that she has NO intention of buying in that store. She asks the proprietor of the store all kinds of questions regarding the best air conditioner to buy. Afterwards she goes home and buys her preferred air conditioner online for a better price. She’s done nothing wrong. She has just made sure she was an educated consumer— right? Wrong! According to Jewish law she misrepresented herself, acting...Read More
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