Category: honesty

TO EVERYTHING, THERE IS A SEASON…

TETZAVEH — Whether from the Book of Ecclesiastes or from the lyrics of Pete Seeger, most of us are familiar with the thought, “to everything there is a season.” This adage is followed with examples such as “a time to weep and a time to cry; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” One of the later lines reads “a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” Indeed for everything there might be a season, but that doesn’t help us determine when the right moment is. When do we keep silent and when do we...

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LYING, STAY FAR AWAY…

MISHPATIM — “I cannot tell a lie” are the famous words of our first president. Though it is honorable that Washington chose to tell the truth, he could have avoided lying in a different way. He could have considered the potential trouble he would end up in for chopping down the tree. Mishpatim, this week’s Torah portion, warns to avoid falsehood. The wording is unlike any other instruction or warning in the Torah. Instead of simply saying, “Don’t lie”, it states “keep far away from falsehood”. The Torah is encouraging us to be mindful of our actions and their...

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HUMILITY…

BESHALACH — What gives us our sense of value? Is it our own accomplishments or others recognizing that we’ve achieved success? Is it possible to be humble and self-confident at the same time? We can learn an important message from Moses. In this week’s portion, his authority was challenged by disgruntled members of the Jewish nation. Moses was well aware of his special relationship with God and the responsibility he carried as leader of the nation. Nonetheless, he truly did not view those achievements as reason for arrogance. Moses was a confident leader but a humble man, recognizing that...

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PURIM—Masks and Identity

PURIM — From the time we are born, our identities begin to evolve.  In certain instances however, our identities become fixed over time, especially as they are formed in relationship to siblings. “She’s the smart one”, we think to ourselves. “He’s the one good at sports”.  “She’s the one with the special needs; I’m the perfect one”.  We often define ourselves in relation to another sibling, especially if parental expectations solidify those identities.  Overstressed parents, who may have a child with problems or special needs, might expect another child to be “perfect” or at least more self-sustaining.  Such expectations...

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