Category: new challenges

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...

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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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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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CHOOSE LIFE…

NITZAVIM — Is smoking good for you? Most sane people will tell you that it’s not, including people who themselves are smokers! Isn’t it strange that we sometimes consciously make choices that are bad for us? In this week’s Torah portion, we are instructed by Moses to choose life. Why do we need to be instructed to do the obvious? The Torah recognizes that, although we may very well know what is good for us and what is not, we still need to be reminded to make the right choices. Overeating, drugs, and smoking are all harmful activities. Yet...

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IT IS NOT BEYOND REACH…

NITZAVIM — It’s not too hard, we tell our children, when they want to do something new. It just takes some effort and practice and sometimes courage to do it. It can be difficult, though, to tolerate seeing our children struggle. If we protect our children from struggle and from learning new skills that they are not immediately good at, they won’t understand that taking on new projects requires patience, effort and perseverance. In our Torah portion this week it says, “It is not in the heavens”; in other words, what the Torah instructs is not beyond us to...

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