EMOR — We spend a lot of time reminding ourselves how important it is to be kind to one another. We speak about seeing each person’s humanity and treating others the way that we would want to be treated. But what happens when that “other” is not a person but an animal? We must remember that respect for the living creatures in this world is also an important value. This week’s Torah portion includes laws about properly treating animals. The very fact that these laws exist says a lot about Judaism’s appreciation of the role of animals in our...Read More
EMOR — A great blessing one can have is the ability to give to others. Hosting guests and taking care of them is an important way to express this. Guests care much more about your attitude towards them than the expense or beauty of the surroundings. This week’s Torah portion, Emor, discusses Jewish holidays. We are called upon to celebrate these holidays joyously and always instructed to make sure we are sharing the joy with others – our families as well as guests we can bring into our home. In fact, we are taught that taking care of a...Read More
KEDOSHIM — It is difficult in our society to have a sense of respect and acceptance for our own bodies with all their inherent differences. Women especially are often held to impossible standards when it comes to body weight. Eating disorders abound, mostly for girls, but also amongst boys. Boys and girls, men and women, become obsessive about weight and appearance, and the importance of bodily appearance can, unfortunately, overshadow other life interests and relationships. In this Torah portion, there is a law against making gashes in one’s flesh and also against tattooing oneself. We are commanded to be holy, and one...Read More
ACHARAY MOT — Blaming one another is a tempting human tendency. How much easier it is to place responsibility on another’s shoulders than to accept responsibility for our actions! We like to shift the weight of our own flaws and misdeeds on to another, especially when we have not lived up to our own or others’ expectations. Children often engage in blaming when confronted with an action unacceptable to a parent or teacher, saying things like “He started it!” or “It was her fault!”. Our Torah portion this week deals with the original scapegoat. The high priest confesses the sins...Read More
METZORA — Attitude is crucial to living well. For both children and adults, the attitude we have has a lot to do with how we experience our life as well as how we experience one another. For example, how we approach our required tasks each day signifies a great deal about how we live our lives. If we approach them with dread and resentment as opposed to acceptance and relative good cheer, we communicate negatively to our children about how to get through life and its obligations. To teach our children well about tasks and responsibility means living well ourselves. Our Parsha...Read More
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