Parenting Through the Parsha (Weekly Torah Portion)
It was said by the great Rabbi, Schneur Zalman of Liadi, that every Jew should live with the times. That doesn’t mean checking out the latest fads or getting a trendy haircut, but he meant that we should study the weekly portion of the Torah and to see how it applies to our lives. I’ve found often an amazing correspondence between what is “going on” in the weekly Torah reading and what’s happening in my life (I’d give you a few examples, but they are kind of personal.) Anyway, it is a very good habit at least to read the weekly portion of the Torah in English, and it only takes a few minutes. You can keep track of the weekly portion of the Torah on any Jewish Calendar, which can be purchased at a Judaica store or through the internet. Then you can look up the relevant passage in an English translation of the Chumash (or the five books of Moses).
Last week’s Parsha was called “Ki Tissa”. It recorded the first great disaster in Jewish History, which occurred when the People of Israel made a calf out of gold and bowed down to it shortly after receiving the Torah (or the law) on Mount Sinai. After such a terrible sin of idolatry, we would expect the next portion of the Torah to begin sternly, with extended punishment for the event. Actually, this week’s parsha, Vayakhel, begins with Moses telling the Jewish People about the laws of Shabbat. One of our great blessings is Shabbat and there us a saying that, “Even more than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews (together)”. What does this teach us about our lives and our roles as parents?
Discipline is very important when correcting your child’s behavior. But whatever method of discipline you choose, it is also important to reconcile with your child afterward, to remind him or her of your enduring love and support. Moses was communicating to us that G-d* still loved us, even after our sin, and that we would still enjoy the blessing of Shabbat. When your child needs to be corrected, it is a good idea to always remind your child that you are his/hers and she/he is yours, just as the divine covenant with the Jews was unbroken after sin.
*note: You will see me write G-d without the “o”. I do this, because it is a law that the name of G-d should not be erased. Not writing the whole name ensures this will not happen.