Picture this: Mom comes home and finds broken glass in the kitchen, sticky juice and muddy footprints all over the floor, and no one in sight. Three kids and the dog are watching TV in the den. When mom comes in, everyone shouts “It wasn’t me!” and points their finger across the room. Sound familiar? It’s always easier to blame a younger sibling or the dog. It’s less scary to point your finger at someone else than to point it at yourself.

Even Moses falls into this trap in this week’s Torah reading. Moses accuses Israel’s enemies of tempting the Israelite men to sin, instead of placing the blame on the Israelites themselves.

Is it helpful to place the blame on someone else? Does accusing others fix the problem? When you claim that a mistake is someone else’s fault, not only are you still left with broken glass and a sticky floor, but you have also hurt someone else’s reputation and damaged your relationship. It’s more complicated to improve a reputation and mend a relationship than it is to clean the kitchen. As difficult as it can be to take responsibility for your own actions, try pointing your finger at yourself and admitting truthfully, “It’s my fault.”

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about taking responsibility for their own actions.


  • Have you ever blamed someone else for your actions?  Why?
  • Have you ever been blamed for someone else’s mistake? How does it feel to be accused?
  • What is the downside of being consistently truthful?
  • Why do we usually trust people who are consistently truthful?

By Yael Hammerman

Values & Ethics—Through a Jewish Lens is created by Fred and Joyce Claar to bring the wisdom of Judaism into family discussions.