YITRO — People will take greater notice of our actions than they will of our boasting about them. One of the most important things we can teach our children is not to think only about themselves. Being sensitive to the feelings of others comes naturally to some, but most need guidance to develop this skill. As parents, how we model this behavior is crucial. Having a humble spirit may mean not being easily drawn into a defensive argument when criticized. In this week’s Torah portion G-d delivers the Ten Commandments and Torah at Mt. Sinai, a small, low, non-descript mountain. Stories...Read More
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...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
MI-KETZ — Sometimes the truth is sitting right in front of us. Sometimes the solution to our problems is the palm of our hands, but we just can’t see it. Luckily, we don’t move through this world alone. We have friends, family, and teachers who can help us gain perspective on our own lives. We just need to learn to listen. In this week’s Torah portion, Mi-Ketz, Joseph’s brothers are blinded by denial. They have come down to Egypt in search of food due to the famine in their own land. None of the eleven brothers can see that the Egyptian official in front of them is their brother,...Read More
VA-YISHLAH — Many people hold back on religion in their lives because they are uncomfortable with the concept of God. Does God exist?How could bad things happen to good people? Why does evil exist? These are all questions that people have addressed throughout time. Many sophisticated discussions and answers are imbedded in Jewish texts for adults to encounter and wrestle with personally. In this week’s Torah portion, Va-Yishlah, Jacob wrestles all night with a mysterious angel representing God. Because Jacob successfully survives this encounter, his name is changed to Israel. The translation of Israel is “to struggle with God”. The Torah is saying that to struggle with God...Read More
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