BALAK — It is hard to resist temptation. In order to do so, one must have a strong sense of right and wrong and be able to assess the situation rationally. Temptation exists everywhere in our world in varying degrees. Sometimes it comes in the question of an extra piece of dessert. Sometimes it is a less than honest way to get a better grade, and sometimes it takes even a more serious form. But there is always a price when we give in to temptation, and that price is transgressing one of our own values or ethics. In...Read More
CHUKAT — People lose control. We may get excessively angry or behave impulsively or destructively. We may scream at a child, eat too much, or drink. The reasons for such behavior are many. Sometimes there is a sense that something is missing in our lives, a hole we don’t know how to fill, or a difficult issue we don’t know how to address. That darkness lurks behind some of our behavior, and then suddenly, when we least expect it, erupts into unwanted behavior. In this week’s Torah portion, Moses loses control. Moses’ people are complaining yet again, this time...Read More
KORACH — Children inevitably rebel. This can cause parents to react immediately and angrily to their recalcitrant children. Parents and children might be involved in a reflexive pattern of action and reaction, without any reflection on the part of the parents as to the deeper reasons for their child’s behavior. Perhaps a child is testing limits or feels that the limits placed on him are no longer appropriate for his age. The Book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Bible, can be thought of as the book of rebellion. First, the Israelites repeatedly complain about being in the...Read More
BAMIDBAR — Kids hate whatever they think is boring. However, as it turns out, much of what’s important in life is not fun-filled and exciting. While much of a child’s school day can be interesting (one hopes!), memorizing facts is simply rote. While family life can be fun, chores around the home are not. There are plenty of highs and lows in life, but most of life falls right in between. The Torah parsha this week, Bamidbar, begins the tale of the Israelites wandering through the wilderness. They have already been through the excitement of escaping from Egypt and...Read More
KI TAYTZAY — Kindness to others in children can begin with kindness to animals. Even though children can be fairly self-centered, exposure to animals can bring out the nurturing side of a child. At times, however, children can also be cruel to insects or animals. These times provide an important opportunity for a lesson in the feelings of creatures other than human beings and can lead to greater kindness for other people as well. Our current Torah portion forbids us from plowing with an ox and an ass together. Besides a concern for not mixing species together, plowing with an ox and an ass can...Read More
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