DEVARIM — All kids use sarcasm at a certain point in their lives. It can be light-hearted or disrespectful and mean-spirited. Parents are often at a loss as to how to respond to it. If you call your children on it, they often say, “I was only joking”. Sarcasm is a slippery behavior, often hard to pinpoint. This week’s Torah portion, Devarim, retells the story of the spies who traveled to the Promised Land and come back with a negative report to the Israelites camped in the desert. God is angry with them, not only for the negative things...Read More
CHUKAT — Often children label entire groups as “weird” or “bad” or “uncool”. Sometimes they join cliques or engage in a kind of social warfare at school, with one group pitted against another. The worst example of social warfare becomes violent, such as bullying or joining gangs. Even if their children don’t engage in the worst examples of social warfare, many parents wish their children wouldn’t be so judgmental and would be more socially open to others. In this week’s Torah portion, Chukat, the Children of Israel are traveling through the desert when their beloved leader, Miriam, dies. Then...Read More
KORACH — What happens when you find yourself in a disagreement with someone? There are times when a distance grows between you that must be bridged in order to save the relationship. When that moment arrives, who will be the person who reaches out and extends the olive branch? Is reaching out to the other person first a sign of strength or a sign of weakness? On one hand, it takes a lot of character to attempt to reconcile with someone when the relationship is not going well. On the other hand, it might be seen as “giving in”...Read More
SHEMINI — We all become rash when we are angry. We are quick to condemn others. Anger clouds our reason, and we can accuse others without thinking clearly. When we become angry we should ask ourselves: what good motivation might this person have for his or her action that I can’t see? What am I missing that this person sees? Though we may have reason to be upset, often our own reactions are clouded by emotion, blinding us from seeing the true situation before us. In this week’s parashah, Moses gets angry with Eliezer and Itamar, two of...Read More
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