TORAH PORTION: KI TISSA Waiting is difficult. When a child waits, for instance, for a parent to come home, the time can feel excruciatingly long. Patience comes, hopefully with age, and even then it’s a hard-earned attribute. In our Torah portion, the children of Israel wait forty days and forty nights for Moses to come down the mountain with the Torah. They are anxious that Moses will never return to them, frightened that they will have no leader to lead them to the promised land. They are so scared that they build themselves an idol, a golden calf to accompany them through...Read More
TETZAVEH — Whether from the Book of Ecclesiastes or from the lyrics of Pete Seeger, most of us are familiar with the thought, “to everything there is a season.” This adage is followed with examples such as “a time to weep and a time to cry; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” One of the later lines reads “a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” Indeed for everything there might be a season, but that doesn’t help us determine when the right moment is. When do we keep silent and when do we...Read More
TORAH PORTION: SHEMOT Children, naturally, don’t have patience. In fact, the younger they are, the less they have. When they are preschoolers, they can sometimes behave like a roiling bundle of impulses and passions. “It’s not fair,” they cry out—or they throw a tantrum over something they want and can’t have or, even worse, hit another child. It is our job as parents to take those impulses and passions, and channel them. Some of those impulses are positive—they may have an early sense of justice—but they can’t express that sense of justice through hitting. Though children may be demanding their rights, a temper tantrum won’t help them to get what...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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