Category: new challenges

WHAT IS INSIDE US IS MOST IMPORTANT…

TERUMAH — As we grow, we are trying to develop ourselves. We spend time on how we look, the styles we like, and how we wear our hair. Often we spend more time on what is outside us than what is inside. This week’s Torah portion Trumah deals with building the sanctuary in the desert. Instructions are clear that the outside should be plain, orderly, neat, and clean but not showy. The inside is clearly the more important place where it is permissible to exhibit the most beautiful decorations and objects. Our bodies are our own sanctuary. Clearly, in...

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THE FAITH TO GO FORWARD…

BESHALACH — Woody Allen has said that 90% of life is showing up.  Maybe his number is too high but being willing to get involved, to step out, to show up, to make the phone call, to make the appointment, to introduce yourself, can bring outsized results.  Taking the initiative can give you momentum to carry you to your goals. In our parsha this week the Israelites left Egypt and were cornered at the sea by on-rushing Egyptians. The Israelites were terrified and about to give up hope.  The only one who had the courage to walk into the sea...

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WHAT’S THE USE OF COMPLAINING?

BESHALACH — “This is boring!” “When are we going to get there?”  “He has more toys than I do!” Children can get into the habit of complaining and whining again and again.  They often seem not to notice their many gifts and blessings and simply complain as if they live a life of hardship and deprivation, despite how much they have. In this week’s Torah portion, the children of Israel do likewise. After passing through the Red Sea and arriving safely in the wilderness, the first thing they do is whine. “We don’t have any food or water!” “We’re...

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THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL…

VA-YESHEV — Have you been pushed to go to an event that you did not want to attend, and then had a great time? Ever start out disliking a very demanding teacher who later in the year becomes appreciated for making you a much better student? In life many times “things might not be what they seem at first”. This week’s Torah portion, Va-yeshev, contains what might be one of the most famous examples of the idea that things which start off badly might come to a good end. Joseph, the favored youngest son of Jacob, is sold into...

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ISRAEL = TO STRUGGLE WITH GOD…

VA-YISHLAH — Many people hold back on religion in their lives because they are uncomfortable with the concept of God. Does God exist?How could bad things happen to good people? Why does evil exist? These are all questions that people have addressed throughout time. Many sophisticated discussions and answers are imbedded in Jewish texts for adults to encounter and wrestle with personally. In this week’s Torah portion, Va-Yishlah, Jacob wrestles all night with a mysterious angel representing God. Because Jacob successfully survives this encounter, his name is changed to Israel. The translation of Israel is “to struggle with God”. The Torah is saying that to struggle with God...

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