Category: new challenges

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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SHARING WHAT WE HAVE…

KI TAVO — Many of us in this country have an overabundance of goodness in our lives. But sometimes in our society, with its saturation of goods and services, it is difficult to be aware of this abundance. If we have enough to eat, a place to sleep, and clothes to wear, we already have more than many people in the world. Becoming aware of how much we have, we naturally begin to think about what it means to give back to this world from which we’ve so plentifully received. In this Torah portion we are required to take...

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FREE WILL & DISCIPLINE…

RE-EH — All parents try to discipline their children. They have different methods, but generally parents are trying to influence their children to be moral and to behave appropriately. Imposing any kind of discipline rests on the assumption that children have free will. They can choose what is good and reap rewards, or choose what is bad and suffer the consequences. In this week’s Torah portion, Re-eh, Moses tells his people: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse”. The people have a choice: they can obey the commandments and reap blessings, or they can fail to...

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