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
TAZRIA — Everyone is born with a powerful weapon, which can be used for both good and evil. This weapon grows over time, but remains small and mostly concealed. It’s bumpy, pink and slippery, but can be pulled out and put away in a blink of an eye. This weapon is your tongue. Your tongue is used to create thousands of words every day, and each word has the power to harm or to heal, to hurt or to help. We are defined by how we use our tongues and by the words that leave our lips each day. This...Read More
TAZRIA — Just as the world was created through language in Genesis, we all create our personal worlds every day through speech. We can both create and destroy with words. We can hurt other people through speaking negatively about them. Speaking about people behind their back, we can harm reputations, and thereby even harm friendships and business. Reputation in our very social and interdependent world is at the heart of one’s status both personally and professionally. Jewish tradition is particularly sensitive to the power of speech and how it can be damaging. Our Torah portion this week addresses the consequences caused by speaking negatively...Read More
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