Consequences? First, an Alternative.

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Moses is sent to redeem the Jewish nation from Egypt. Despite their lowly spiritual state he is not instructed by God to rebuke them or insist they change their ways before they can be taken out. It's time and this is their destiny. It is only later on, when they are given their first divine commandment that they are warned not to engage in the pagan practices they had become habituated to in Egypt. Similarly,…

Enough for Us All (Miketz-Hannukah)

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Pharaoh has a dream. 7 healthy, robust cows emerge from the Nile which symbolize the 7 years of plenty to come. Like the cows, when there is enough, everyone looks happy and healthy; the natural tendency toward competition, selfishness and jealousy is absent.  Perhaps, for this reason we learn our model of parenting from Hashem, Himself. God is the source of limitless abundance and has enough unconditional…

Threat or Opportunity? (Vayera)

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When Lot was forced to run away from Sodom and told to flee to the mountains, he begged not to be forced to go there. Why the resistance? Because his uncle Abraham lived there and apparently he did not want to be measured up against him. Lot was more comfortable living in a place like Sodom where he looked like a pretty impressive guy compared to his neighbors. Lot was not concerned about growth.…

One Flesh - Two Meanings (Breisheet)

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In this week’s parsha, human beings are given the directive to marry and “become one flesh”. On the simplest level this means that husband and wife become “one flesh” by having a child who inherits both of their DNA. On a deeper level, this is an instruction for the marriage itself. The goal of marriage is to be deeply united in partnership and purpose. They have the same raison d’etre…

Especially the Children (Nitzavim)

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The final moments before entering into the land of Israel have arrived and Moshe reinforces the Jews’ commitment to Hashem to observe His covenant and to be His nation. He purposely mentions 10 categories of individuals, from the leaders of the tribes to the simple laborers and interestingly, he mentions the children. Children are not accountable for their actions, and so the commentaries explain…

Sweat the Small Stuff (Eikev)

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The name of this week’s parsha - Eikev (עקב) can be translated both as “because” and “heel”. Noting this double meaning, the sages praise the steadfast observance of all the commandments, especially the seemingly insignificant ones that people generally disregard and “trample with their heel”. Most of us are involved with our children when things get really bad or go really well.…

Don't Ask How (Devarim)

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As he does a final review of his experience as leader of Jewish Nation, Moses recalls a moment of frustration where he exclaimed: “How can I alone bear all of your burdens and quarrels?!” (1:12) The Hebrew word for “how” is איכה (Eicha.)  This word is generally used in the Hebrew bible to express despair (As in Lamentations Ch. 1) and frustration (as above and 7:17). However, the first…

To Know The Spirit of Each One (Pinchas)

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In this week’s parsha Moshe asks G-d to appoint a leader to succeed him. The defining characteristic of that leader is that he, like G-d himself, will be able relate to the uniqueness of each individual. As parents, we share a similar role. We strive to understand and guide each child in his/her uniqueness. This can be more challenging for us than other leadership roles where there is not the…

Because I Said So (Chukat)

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The chok (from which our parsha gets its name) is generally translated as a divine command that we do not understand. Examples include the kosher diet, the purification process of the red heifer and many more. Why do we do it? Because G-d said so. What exactly is the value in doing something “because G-d said so”? We humans like to think of ourselves as “rational” beings with sound logic…

Permissive with Feelings, Strict with Behaviors (Korach)

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Reading the story of Korach in this week’s parsha, it’s not difficult to identify with him. He felt overlooked and mistreated. Given the circumstances, those feelings are understandable and yet the course of action that he took was severely punished. A common parenting misstep is to think that by validating a child’s feelings we also validate the behavior that results from those feelings. Not…