KI TAYTZAY — How can we be sensitive to being influenced by, or influencing, those close to us? The behaviors we model for our children often repeat in their actions. Our expressed beliefs, the stories we tell, and the interests we pursue all have an impact on our children. We all know of families that have generations with the same hobbies, business interests, and views on life. This week’s Torah portion, Ki Taytzay, introduces this idea of individual responsibility. There is in fact a verse that states that parents shall not be punished for the actions of their children, nor...Read More
EKEV — When we teach our children, we don’t only teach them with our words. We teach them with every act we do; in fact, we teach them with who we are at heart. If we go through life angry or resentful, our children will learn anger and resentment. If we go through life critical and judgmental, our children will learn criticism and judgment. Or, if we go through life with love and joy, our children will learn love and joy. In our Biblical portion it says that we should teach the words of the Torah “when you stay...Read More
DEVARIM — We often jump to conclusions. A child walks into a new class and quickly decides who is ‘cool’ and who is not. We may witness an interaction between spouses or a parent and child and immediately decide that someone is being abusive or disrespectful, even though we lack any knowledge of the context. Sometimes our judgment calls are on target and sometimes they aren’t. In Devarim, this week’s Torah portion, Moses recounts the instructions he gave to the first group of judges he appointed. These instructions are repeated to remind us of their importance and timelessness. Moses...Read More
PINCHAS — “It’s not fair” is a refrain we often hear from children. A child may be jealous of what a friend has or may think he or she should have been chosen for a position on a sports team. Although most of us eventually stop whining, deep down we do think in terms of what is fair. In this week’s Torah portion we meet Zelophehad, who died before the Jews arrived in the land of Israel. His four daughters were concerned that his portion of the land would be lost because he had no sons. They objected, saying...Read More
BEHA’ALOTECHA — Being a good leader at work and at home is a difficult task. But being a good leader does not mean necessarily that we are in control. It may mean being the one who promotes the strengths of others. The problem is that often, when we see the strengths of others, we are threatened. Somehow, we think, their strengths mean the diminishment of our own. It’s either “they have the power” or “I have the power.” Sharing leadership is a real challenge for anyone. In our Torah portion this week it is reported to Moses that two...Read More
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