TZAV — Most of us are good at seeing flaws around us or within us. However, we may have difficulty realizing how much in our lives actually works well. Acknowledging this fact is at the heart of feeling gratitude. Gratitude is central to affirming all that we have and all that others do for us; in fact, it is central to a feeling of well-being. When feeling grateful, we are conscious of the manifold blessings in our lives. In this week’s Torah portion the Israelites express their thanksgiving by bringing an offering to the Temple of an animal or...Read More
VA-YIKRA — In a world of text messaging and twitter, writing a proper thank-you note has become a lost art. We express our appreciation by quickly texting THNX!!! while out-and-about and multitasking on smart phones. In contrast, in order to write a thank-you note you must sit at a desk and have a pen, stationery, and a stamp on hand. You need to write legibly, know your recipient’s street address, and have ample time and quiet to focus on expressing sincere gratitude. Unlike texting, however, sending a thankyou note shows that you are willing to sacrifice precious time to...Read More
VA-YAK HEL / PEKUDEI — As parents, we all know how much work goes into running a household. Nothing happens by itself; someone must do the dishes, make lunches, drive carpool, go shopping, etc. Children need to have the confidence that they’re cared for, but they should eventually learn about the efforts involved and what they can do to pitch in. How do we balance the two ideals? In our Portion, the Jewish people constructed the Sanctuary (Mishkan). All members of the community were required to do their part, commensurate with their abilities. Whether the contribution took the form...Read More
VA-YAK HEL — Giving charity is for everyone. Tzedakah, the Hebrew word for charity, actually correctly translates as justice. Whether one has a lot or a little, giving is an integral part of a Jewish life. Even the poor are required to give a little charity. Money, food, our time, out-grown clothes, older toys, all can be useful to others in need. A community is only as strong as the willingness of its members to help each other. This week’s Torah portion, Vayakhel, stresses that every member of the community must participate in contributing to the building of the...Read More
TETZAVEH — We all have talents and abilities, as do our siblings and friends. At times we have difficulty recognizing a sister’s talents; at other times we may be jealous of a sibling’s unique capabilities. We must develop the confidence in our own roles to the point that we can let our brothers and sisters shine. This week’s Torah portion teaches us about the appointment of Aaron as High Priest and of his descendants as priests forever. This is a permanent and dramatic role that is being granted to Aaron and his family. Moses, who spent his life fighting...Read More
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