VA-ERA — How many times have you heard, “I’m bored,” from a child? It’s a rare kid who is able to enjoy large amounts of unstructured playtime. Instructions and limits help kids to enjoy themselves. What would happen to your children if they had a full free afternoon with unlimited sweets? How many kids could avoid boredom and a tummy ache? Though they may not like the idea of rules and restrictions, rules enable fun and even teach kids how to take care of themselves. In this week’s Torah portion, Va-era, Moses demands that Pharaoh free the Israelites from...Read More
VA-ERA — Try telling a teacher, parent, or friend that you just HAD to do something they deem inappropriate. Nine times out of ten, the response will be “That’s ridiculous! Nobody can force you to do something!” We have a deep belief in, and awareness of, our freedom to choose when making decisions. In Va’era, this week’s Torah portion, God informs Moses that He will harden Pharoah’s heart and Pharoah will refuse to release the Jews from captivity. Pharoah’s heart is ‘artificially’ hardened, but the rest of us are in fact free to choose between right and wrong. The contrast is deliberate. Throughout life, one encounters decisions. As we grow, the...Read More
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
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