Turning Into Our Parents (Vayeshev)

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“Now Israel loved Joseph best of all his sons, for he was the child of his old age; and he had made him an ornamented tunic.” (Genesis 37:3) Without getting into the ethics of loving one child more than another, it is important to recognize that Jacob himself was raised in a home where “favorites” where chosen. Earlier we are told that: “Isaac loved Eisav…and Rebecca loved Jacob”…

You’re Good, What You Did Wasn't (Vayishlach)

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“Cursed is their anger..” He only rebuked their display of anger, not them. (Rashi on Genesis 49:6) Teenagers Levi and Shimon, avenging their sister’s disgrace, deceive and destroy an entire city and its inhabitants. Jacob hears and does not approve. Yet, he only reproves them for their display of anger. He says it was wrong, uncalled for and damaging . He does not say that they are violent,…

The Space that Love Creates (Chayei Sarah)

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The Space That Love Creates “…You will go to the land of my birth and get a wife for my son Isaac.”(Genesis 24:4) In those days families made matches and marriages happened. Interestingly, despite its importance, Abraham did not want to do the job himself. After all, he was an impressively powerful, influential and charismatic personality….but this was not about Abraham. This was about…

"Give Him a Chance!" (Vayera)

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Give Him a Chance! “And G-d said: “Should I conceal from Abraham what I am doing?!” (Genesis 18:17) G-d had already decreed Sodom’s fate, yet He gave Abraham a chance to “convince Him” otherwise. Why the exercise in futility? Perhaps this is a lesson in how to help others develop good habits and noble character traits: Give them a chance to practice! G-d wanted Abraham to stand up…

Focus On the Gifts (Lech Lecha)

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“And Abraham said to G-d: If only Yishmael would live before you.” (Genesis 17:18) Abraham knew Yishmael’s limitations and yet believed in his potential to become his heir. When he was informed that he was going to have a "miracle" child with Sara, he asked God to do something much more humble: To help him bring out Yishmael's best. Parents, perhaps better than anyone else see their child’s…

God's Faith in Us (Noach)

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Noah believed in God, so he saved himself, but he could not save his world. Abraham believed that God believed in him and therefore he and his children continue to transform the world into a home for the divine. The faith that we want to imbue our children with is God’s faith in them! We communicate that their birthday is proof they have been placed here by the Creator for a purpose. In challenging…