Category: new challenges

HOW CAN WE IMPROVE?

VA-YETZE — We all plan self-improvement projects.  But one mistake we often make is that we think we can change ourselves all at once.  The truth is changing one’s self doesn’t happen easily.  It happens slowly and by increments. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob leaves home and a difficult family situation, lays down to sleep, and has a spectacular dream.  He dreams of angels going up and down a ladder.  Given the slow evolution Jacob goes through on his journey, the dream can signify that Jacob can only progress in his journey step by step.  As a model for us, Jacob...

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FINDING THE COURAGE TO BEGIN…

LECH LECHA — New beginnings are hard: a new school, a new job, the start of parenthood. Before one goes out on a journey, the journey is mysterious. We don’t know what to expect. It can be frightening to leave the familiar and go forward into the unknown. Abraham, in our Torah portion, is told to leave everything he knows —his family, his birthplace and his home —and go “to a place he does not know”. Abraham had the courage to just go. There are no reports of angst or handwringing. It is instructive for us to think about...

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“IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT…”

NOAH — Snoopy begins each of his stories with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…”  Even if you’re not a beagle living on top of a red doghouse, life can often feel dark and stormy. Where do you go when you’re having a tough day? Whom do you turn to when you’re having a bad night? We often turn to our families to help us through the rough patches in life. Like Snoopy, Noah had many dark and stormy nights. While it rained and poured for forty days and nights, Noah’s ark protected his family. Though...

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WHEN LIFE CHANGES…

NOAH — Most families have to deal with difficult change at some point or another – whether it’s unemployment or illness or loss. When a family navigates these changes, they also have to help their children through the radical changes in their lives. Noah, the hero of this week’s biblical portion, experienced radical change. He and his family were the sole survivors of a flood that destroyed everything.They were forced to begin their lives all over again. But Noah, after all, wasn’t perfect. After the flood, one of the first things Noah did was to get drunk. By portraying Noah in this way,...

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FACING OUR PERSONAL MONSTERS…

HA-AZINU — Perhaps you’re familiar with this nightly ritual: check under the bed for monsters, turn on the night light, tuck child into bed with blankie and favorite stuffed animal, cover child in kisses, and check under the bed for monsters, again. Whether you’re five, fifteen or fifty years old, you have probably dealt with your own share of irrational fears. Whether it’s a fear of flying, public speaking, or spiders – or a fear of monsters hiding under your bed – there are times when the rational part of ourselves is overpowered by our emotions. We cannot think...

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