Toledot 5780-2019

“A Lesson from Jacob and Esau: Understanding and Accepting Differences”
(Updated and revised from Toledot 5760-1999)

Some bold commentators have suggested that the difficulties between Jacob and Esau may be due to the fact that not enough attention was paid to the innate differences in the children’s natures, and that they were both, mistakenly, given the same cookie-cutter education. There is always a great price to pay for not recognizing that children have individual and personal needs that must be addressed.

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Devarim 5777-2017

“The Transformation of Moses is Completed”

The book of Deuteronomy confirms that the transformation of Moses is now complete. The man who said, ”I am not a man of words,” the man who asked, “Did I conceive this entire people, did I give birth to it?,” eventually became the great orator and the thoroughly devoted nursemaid of his people.

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Emor 5777-2017

“Communicating a Vital Message Clearly”

The Torah prohibits the priests from performing the one mitzvah--burying the dead, that seems so natural for them.

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Shelach 5774-2014

“Do Not Follow After the Desires of Your Heart and Eyes”

The Torah in parashat Shelach conveys a cogent and relevant message for our times. Despite the important values of open-mindedness and freedom of expression, for our own survival, humankind must be taught that there are limits. We must not simply pursue the unchecked desires of our hearts and eyes that lead us astray, and often result in the destruction of the fabric of society.

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Toledot 5774-2013

“A Revolutionary Definition of Parenthood”

In his comments on parashat Toledot, Rabbi Joseph B. Soleveitchik attributes to Abraham the introduction of a bold and extraordinarily novel concept of parenthood -- the “teaching parent.”

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Emor 5772-2012

"Lessons from a Priest’s Wanton Daughter"

The bad habits that we see some of our children developing may not be due to the children’s own personal shortcomings, but rather a result of the failure of proper parental nurturing. The only way for the priests, parents, and children to become sanctified and remain sanctified is for parents to serve as sanctified examples for their children and their families.

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Metzora 5771-2011

"We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident"

Notwithstanding the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence, the idea that certain concepts and ideas are truly “self-evident,” is not an original Jeffersonian concept. The Torah is filled with concepts and ideas that are regarded as self-evident.

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Balak 5767-2007

"The Enemy Within"

Who were Balak and Bilaam? According to Midrashic sources, they are both descended from Abraham's family. Balak was the son of Lot, while Bilaam was Laban's son and brother to Rachel and Leah. Jewish history has a long pattern of evil emanating from good and good emanating from evil. What accounts for this perplexing pattern?

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Vayechi 5767-2007

"Lessons in Child Rearing from the Patriarch Jacob"

It is surprising, to say the least, to find an important principle of child rearing and education attributed by rabbinic sources to the actions of Jacob. Nevertheless, it is Jacob of all the patriarchs, who sires twelve righteous and loyal sons.

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Devarim 5763-2003

"The Gentle Reproof"

The book of Devarim records the words that were spoken by Moses in the last five weeks of his life, given as a last will and testament to his beloved people. In this parasha, Moses provides an example of how reproof should be given by alluding to the people indirectly, rather than announcing the exact sins that were committed. We may indeed learn from Moses how to give effective reproof with great gentleness.

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Acharei Mot 5763-2003

"The Jewish Method of Achieving Moral Perfection"

In parashat Acharei Mot, G-d exhorts the Jewish people to observe His decrees and His laws in order to live a sanctified life, a life of dignity and a life of meaning. But how does one live an ethical and moral life in a world that seems to be constantly drawing us away from good? Judaism's educational methodology has proven to be the most effective means of educating large numbers of people over long periods of time to ethical and moral living. Its secret is the rituals of Judaism that effectively prepare people for ethical and moral living.

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Vayeitzei 5762-2001

"From Ish Tam to Business Mogul: The Transformation of Jacob"

How does Jacob, who is described in the Torah as an ingenuous man who sits and studies in the tent, become so incredibly successful-- a master businessman? According to Professor Ernest Van Den Haag much of it has to do with education, one of the most exalted values in Jewish life. It could be that when Jacob took a 14 year detour to study at the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever before he arrived at Laban's, he sharpened his cerebral skills to prepare for his encounter with the wily Laban. Could it be that Jacob's "Yeshiva" education also contributed to his incredible financial successes?

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Toledot 5760-1999

"A Lesson from Jacob and Esau: Understanding and Accepting Differences"

There are differences in children, and differences in parents' attitudes towards children. Some of the commentators note that the difficulties between Jacob and Esau may be due to the fact that not enough attention was paid to the innate differences in the childrens' natures, and that they were both given the same cookie-cutter educational experiences. There is a great price to pay for not recognizing each child's individual needs.

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0 Comments11 Minutes