One Matzah, One Process

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Matzah, fills you up and keeps you satisfied. Jews ate a lot of it as slaves in Egypt.  Strangely enough, God instructed the Jews to eat that very same food on the night before their long awaited redemption. One matzah, two experiences; slavery and freedom. But is it really? Can you experience victory without the pain of loss? Can you appreciate the sweetness of sunshine without the numbing of darkness.…

Of Hooves, Paws and the Play of Forms

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A ongoing question I ask myself: "Am I losing myself in everyday events and circumstances? Am I too immersed, too bound to the "forms" that never cease to occupy the space of my existence?" When situations hook me into emotional experiences that narrow my perspective and overwhelm my available resources, I know the balance is off. Looking for an appropriate lens to moderate this experience, I recently…

24 Hours of Presence.

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Jon Kabat-Zinn describing mindfulness... "...This is what stopping can do. There is nothing passive about it. And when you decide to go, it's a different kind of going because you stopped. The stopping actually makes the going more vivid, richer, more textured. It helps keep all the things we worry about and feel inadequate about in perspective. It gives us guidance." But he could have been describing…

10 Suggestions for Encouraging a Jewish “Growth” Mindset in (ourselves and) Our Children:

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EMPATHIZE AND MODEL   1. Be open with them regarding your own past struggles and share the work and the process that led you to overcome the challenge. 2. Admit that there are (many) things that you still struggle with every day, haven’t yet mastered, and continue to work on and improve in. NORMALIZE AND EMPOWER 3. Normalize the struggle by explaining that God created us with “competing…

The Next Moses?

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I recently witnessed a well meaning rabbi communicate to a room full of elementary school age Torah students: “The next gadol hador (leading Torah scholar of the generation) may be sitting in this room!” I wonder if this message unintentionally does more harm than good. Surely, it is meant to inspire, but isn’t our goal to encourage each child to deepen and strengthen his/her unique connection…

Love Your Critics!

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  Who’s keeping you small? Who’s convinced you to hide? Along the way we were shot down, criticized or even laughed at and we internalized that experience. We ingested that voice and eventually, it took root in our psyche.  Now, it echoes in our head every time we think about putting ourselves out there, making a splash, and having an impact.  Think about how much beauty and how much greatness…

Destined for Each Other?

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Were you and your spouse destined for each other? Does it even matter? Let’s try and answer these questions with another: What makes a marriage work? “Love"? Sorry, incorrect. “Respect”? Closer, but still not there. "Good chemistry"? Maybe to get things rolling, but not to make it for the long haul. The only answer that has proven true time and time again is: Commitment. Commitment…

Cover Up and Connect

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“And she lifted her eyes and saw Isaac....she descended from the camel….took the scarf and covered herself.” (Genesis 24:64-65) To understand the Torah’s approach to any given topic, the place to start is by analyzing the first instance that topic appears. So, Isaac and Rebecca, which is the Torah’s first description of a meeting between husband and wife can help us understand the Torah’s…

Harvey Weinstein and the Elephant in Therapy

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The therapeutic relationship, whether with a man, woman or child is an intimate one. Behind a closed door, the therapist intently and warmly listens while the client discloses aspects of one’s life that have likely never been revealed to anyone else before.  If the work is to be fruitful a deep connection is formed. This is shaky ethical ground. In such a private and supportive setting, the appropriate…

Your "Bashert" and Your Subconscious

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In my previous 2 posts on marriage, it was my goal to explore the relationship between the Imago model of marriage counseling and Torah. I would like to continue that theme here. A well known Talmudic dictum is that before conception a divine declaration is made that "so and so" is destined to marry "so and so". Taking this at face value has led to the traditional Jewish belief of a "bashert" (soul…