TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Heroes inspire us. They move us to action when otherwise we might remain stagnant. They are especially important for children, who need role models as they figure out how they want to live in the world. Heroes can be found everywhere, not only in the usual places like history and storybooks, but even in your own extended family or neighborhood. It’s possible to find heroes just by opening one’s eyes and ears to those who are standing up for what’s right wherever they happen to be. Our Torah portion is filled with heroes. All the heroes...Read More
MI-KETZ — We naturally want to make life good for our children. We may be uncomfortable seeing them struggle with homework, and we give them a little more help than we should. Deep down we know that, when they complete the task themselves, they’ll feel much better about themselves and will have learned a lot more about the material and their abilities. Joseph was abducted and sold by his brothers into slavery. Years later in this week’s Torah portion, when he has become viceroy to the King of Egypt and wields tremendous power, his brothers come to Egypt from...Read More
LECH LECHA — Jealousy rears its ugly head when we’re least expecting it. We may feel jealous of our friend’s summer vacation plans, our brother’s charisma and charm, or our colleague’s corner office. We may be envious of people we love and people we don’t even know. We might resent a model’s shiny hair, thin waist and radiant smile, or a singer’s ability to hit an F-sharp. However, envy fogs our ability to think straight and make good choices. In this week’s Torah reading, Lech Lecha, Sarah was jealous of her maid Hagar. Hagar easily became pregnant while Sarah struggled to conceive. Resentment of Hagar’s good fortune caused Sarah to...Read More
SIMCHAT TORAH — Unbridled joy is the gift that children often experience as they go through their daily lives. They are capable of so much feeling, of happiness and sadness, and with such intensity. We celebrate with them when they are happy, and we are sad when they grieve. At times it’s important not to get too caught up with our children’s emotions and to maintain a calm front in the face of their ups and downs. At other times, it’s important to get right in there and rejoice or grieve right along with them. As a parent it...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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