RE-EH — Caring about others and giving to the needy are important lessons for children to learn. Children, however, tend to be caught up in their own worlds, with their own needs for toys and games and other material wants. Their immediate wants and needs and keeping up with their friends makes it difficult to impart a lesson to children regarding giving to others. The Torah is sensitive to the needs of those who have less than others and issues a mandate to help these persons. In this week’s Torah portion it says that we should not harden our...Read More
RE-EH — What are we willing to give to help those in need? Judaism’s word for giving, tzedakhah, translates most accurately as justice, not charity. This week’s Torah portion Re-eh offers some guidelines for giving in the Jewish tradition and introduces the idea of tithing. Tithing is giving 10 percent of your income in money, time, or products. Even though we are encouraged to be generous in our giving, the text indicates that we should not give more than 20 percent. The tradition is trying to model a balance between taking care of others and taking care of ourselves....Read More
EKEV – We lead blessed lives. Many of us have so many things to be proud of: our children, our job, the home we live in, and the list goes on. But it is often easy to get caught up in what we don’t have: if only I had received the promotion, if only our house were a little bigger. It is easy to miss the blessings amidst what we feel is lacking. Often we find ourselves demanding, “If only such-and-such were better in my life” or “Why can’t this be easier?” Yes, it is good to be striving,...Read More
BEHA’ALOTCHA — No matter how blessed we may be, it is always easy to see someone who has more, is richer, has achieved a lot, or has something that we want. In a world where very little is still private, there are TV shows that give tours of people’s huge estates, newspapers and magazines report annual salaries, and various social networking sites give us lengthy lists of others’ accomplishments. It can be hard to live without looking over one’s shoulder to see who has more than we do. However, it is just as important to look over your othershoulder...Read More
BESHALACH — “This is boring!” “When are we going to get there?” “He has more toys than I do!” Children can get into the habit of complaining and whining again and again. They often seem not to notice their many gifts and blessings and simply complain as if they live a life of hardship and deprivation, despite how much they have. In this week’s Torah portion, the children of Israel do likewise. After passing through the Red Sea and arriving safely in the wilderness, the first thing they do is whine. “We don’t have any food or water!” “We’re...Read More
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