Posts

Lovers Facing Each Other and the Beyond

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Working with couples, the most significant shift I get the privilege of witnessing is when husband and wife turn to one another and share intimate emotional space. She may share her loneliness and how her angry attack is really a fearful, fear laden attempt to try and find him. He may share his fear of failing and disappointing her (again) and how withdrawing is his way of protecting himself and not…

Fortified from Within (Vayetzeh)

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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 often harsh and uncaring world? Contrary to popular belief, they do not need to be broken in early. “I am God…Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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.…