Posts

In the Field, for You. (Re'eh)

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This Shabbat we welcome the Jewish month of Elul. Elul is the last month of the Jewish year and a time of preparation for the upcoming High Holidays. The Chassidic masters describe Elul as a time when “the King is in the field”; God figuratively leaves His inner chamber, His palace, His royal city and comes to be together with each of us, where we are – “in the field”. This is a most beautiful…

Keep It Simple (Va'etchanan)

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In this week’s portion Moshe reviews the experience of receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Often translated as the “10 commandments” the aseret hadibrot, given then, are more accurately translated as the “10 Principles”. In fact, there are a total of 613 commandments that we are potentially bound to by the Torah. Yet, G-d chose 10 principles to focus on at the moment of revelation. In fact,…

Remember When...(Matot-Masei)

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After 40 years, the Jewish nation is on the cusp of entering into the Holy Land and God reviews with them the 42 stops of their long and difficult journey through the desert. God seems to want to communicate that despite all that they have been through together, He did not abandon them. Similarly, as they inhabit Israel and enter a more mundane existence, God reassures the nascent nation that He will…

The Joyful Parent (Adar - Pekudei)

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In communication there are: The words we use. The underlying message we transmit with our facial gestures, body language and tone. In most relationships and especially in relating to our children, the second is much more significant as it transmits the emotional dimension of our message. Because emotion is the language of bonding and connection, regardless of what we say, if we say it in…

Crushed to Illuminate (Tetzaveh)

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“..They shall take to you, pure olive oil that is crushed, to illuminate…” (Exodus 27:20) Teaching your child how to deal with challenges and difficulties is one of the most important and difficult things a parent has to do.  Our inclination is to rescue, but our responsibility is to guide and support.  A beautiful analogy that can help us understand the benefit of helping our children…

A Parent’s Honor: A Child’s Privilege (Mishpatim)

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“One who curses his mother or father…..” (Exodus 21:15) The Torah takes the honoring of parents very seriously. Some parents are not comfortable in this role. They don’t feel they deserve such honor and don’t want to impose these requirements on their children. While sounding noble, such an attitude is destructive. Parents should remember 2 things: Your honor as a parent has nothing…

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…

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.…