Fortified from Within (Vayetzeh)

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“I am God…Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:15) One day soon, our children are going to head out into the world. They will be on their own dealing with challenges that we are all too familiar with.  How can we best prepare them for the reality of an…

To Label or Not to Label? (Toldot)

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To Label or Not to Label? “And the youths grew up, and Esau was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field, whereas Jacob was an innocent man, dwelling in tents.”(Genesis 25:27) Do you label your child(ren)? Is she the goofy, athletic one and he the quiet, musical one? Is labeling helpful? Is it harmful? In my experience, it’s a fine line. On the one hand, we try and identify our child’s…

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…