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…

The Power of "But" (Shelach)

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The sin of the spies in the week’s portion turned on one word: “But". As instructed, the spies returned with a report. Then, with the word “but” they shared what the report meant to them. And everything went downhill from there. FACT: Children exhibit behaviors. We then observe those behaviors and have thoughts and feelings about them. Like the spies, that is what those behaviors mean…

Never Arriving, Always Learning.

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In Temple times, if you were unable to bring the Passover offering in its designated time (14th of Nissan) you had a 2nd chance a month later to make it happen (Numbers 9:6) This is a glaring example of the Torah’s conditioning us to the perspective of constantly looking forward.   The Growth Mindset - “What can I learn from what just happened and how can I improve next time?” - is…

The Family Foundation (Naso)

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The sacred dimension of husband and wife is brought into full focus this week as we learn about the procedure of erasing God’s name in hope of preserving the marriage (Numbers 5:23). A marriage of two individuals is inherently unstable. Triangulation with the divine dimension is what provides the relationship with healthy depth and stability. This foundational element is indispensable for the…

Want To Count? Contribute. (Bamidbar)

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As they begin their journey into Israel, the Jews are counted (Numbers 1:1). In order to be counted you had to bring a “half shekel” donation to Moshe and Aaron. You had to contribute. A common mistake parents make is the belief that their job is to make their children FEEL good. It is not. It is the parent’s job to teach the child how to DO good, to contribute.  Life is about contribution…