Posts

One Flesh - Two Meanings (Breisheet)

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In this week’s parsha, human beings are given the directive to marry and “become one flesh”. On the simplest level this means that husband and wife become “one flesh” by having a child who inherits both of their DNA. On a deeper level, this is an instruction for the marriage itself. The goal of marriage is to be deeply united in partnership and purpose. They have the same raison d’etre…

Especially the Children (Nitzavim)

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The final moments before entering into the land of Israel have arrived and Moshe reinforces the Jews’ commitment to Hashem to observe His covenant and to be His nation. He purposely mentions 10 categories of individuals, from the leaders of the tribes to the simple laborers and interestingly, he mentions the children. Children are not accountable for their actions, and so the commentaries explain…

Sweat the Small Stuff (Eikev)

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The name of this week’s parsha - Eikev (עקב) can be translated both as “because” and “heel”. Noting this double meaning, the sages praise the steadfast observance of all the commandments, especially the seemingly insignificant ones that people generally disregard and “trample with their heel”. Most of us are involved with our children when things get really bad or go really well.…

Don't Ask How (Devarim)

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As he does a final review of his experience as leader of Jewish Nation, Moses recalls a moment of frustration where he exclaimed: “How can I alone bear all of your burdens and quarrels?!” (1:12) The Hebrew word for “how” is איכה (Eicha.)  This word is generally used in the Hebrew bible to express despair (As in Lamentations Ch. 1) and frustration (as above and 7:17). However, the first…

To Know The Spirit of Each One (Pinchas)

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In this week’s parsha Moshe asks G-d to appoint a leader to succeed him. The defining characteristic of that leader is that he, like G-d himself, will be able relate to the uniqueness of each individual. As parents, we share a similar role. We strive to understand and guide each child in his/her uniqueness. This can be more challenging for us than other leadership roles where there is not the…

Because I Said So (Chukat)

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The chok (from which our parsha gets its name) is generally translated as a divine command that we do not understand. Examples include the kosher diet, the purification process of the red heifer and many more. Why do we do it? Because G-d said so. What exactly is the value in doing something “because G-d said so”? We humans like to think of ourselves as “rational” beings with sound logic…

The "Shabbat" of Parenting (Vayakel-Pekudei)

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In this parsha the mishkan (tabernacle), the home for the divine is finally built. We are told that work on the holy mishkan is set aside for the even holier time of Shabbat. The work of the mishkan represents our active and creative engagement with the world to make it into dwelling place for God. Shabbat, on the other hand, celebrates the godliness inherent in creation. The beauty within. The…

Journey Forward (Beshalach)

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“…Why do you cry out to Me…Let them journey forward!” (Exodus 14:15) Sandwiched between the sea and the Egyptian army, the Jews froze. Their mission seemed doomed. God answered conclusively: “Keep Going”! There are times when our children, in pursuit of a lofty goal, are going to hit a wall and feel stuck.  Now is when they need us most. Not to solve the problem, but to give them the…

Sharing the Power of Perspective (Vayigash)

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“So, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8) One of the most important things we can share with our children is perspective. Given our life experience, we know that things are often not what they seem in the moment. We’ve learned that joy can lead to pain and disappointments…

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,…