Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43 )
GOOD MORNING! I once saw a bumper sticker: "Hug Your Kids at Home; Belt Them in the Car". Obviously, the bumper sticker is a safety message to parents and not an invitation to child abuse. It is important to hug kids and to tell them "I love you!" I suspect very few of us -- or our kids -- ever complained that their parents hugged them too much or told them too many times "I love you" (unless they were teenagers...).
A child needs to feel loved and safe. I try to ask each of my children at least once a day, "Do you know who loves you?" By now they know that the first answer is "God" (God loves each of us even more than we love our kids! It's important for kids to know this.) Then I ask them, "And who else?" And the child replies, "Daddy and Mommy!" Think what a wonderful epitaph it would be to have your children remember you by how you drove them "crazy" with hugs and kisses and asking them "Who loves you?"
A child needs physical contact with his parents. Here's a fun game called the "Rah Game": 1) the parent thinks of a spot on his face (i.e., the end of his nose) 2) the child guesses the spot by touching a spot on the parent's face 3) if it is the wrong spot, the parent makes a funny face. 4) the child tries again; if the wrong spot, the parent makes a different funny face. When the child touches the right spot, the parent says, "RAH!" Then they switch roles and the child thinks of a spot on his face and has to make funny faces. There is a variation on this game called the "Boo Game." It's just like the "Rah Game," but instead of "RAH!" you say "BOO!"
Perhaps the most precious moment of the day -- when our kids were little -- was sitting with them on their beds as they went to sleep. I and/or my wife hold them and listen to them say the Shema ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One" and the first paragraph following in the Siddur, prayer book) and the blessing before going to sleep. One says the Shema and the blessing to affirm trust in God and that He should watch out for you while you sleep. What a wonderful way to end the day for a child -- to be held and kissed by his parents and to go to sleep knowing that God is watching over him. (The Artscroll prayer book has the bedtime prayers in English and Hebrew. You can get it at your local Jewish bookstore, at JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242. You might also wish to buy a copy of To Raise A Jewish Child by Rabbi Hayim Donin; you won't regret it!)
The old saying goes that "no one ever said on his death bed, 'I wish I spent more time at the office.'" There is no greater pleasure and no better investment in future pleasure than spending time with your children. Kids get the message loud and clear as to what your priorities are if you spend more time at work or in front of the TV than with them. People talk of "Quality Time" vs. "Quantity Time". Here's the truth: "Quality Time" is "Quantity Time"! The more time you spend with your kids, the more your kids know that they are priorities in your life and that you love them! Also, show them that you love them by praising them. For example:
Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4 - 36:43
On the trip back to Canaan, Jacob meets his brother Esau; Jacob wrestles with the angel. Then they arrive in Shechem; Shechem, the son of Chamor the Hivite, (heir to the town of Shechem) rapes Jacob's daughter, Dina; Dina's brothers, Shimon and Levy, massacre the men of Shechem; Rebecca (Rivka) dies; God gives Jacob an additional name, "Israel," and reaffirms the blessing to Avraham that the land of Canaan (Israel) will be given to his descendants; Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin (Binyomin); Jacob's 12 sons are listed; Isaac dies; Esau's lineage is recorded as is that of Seir the Horite; and lastly ... the succession of the Kings of Edom is chronicled.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
When Jacob finds out that his brother Esau is coming to meet him, he prays to the Almighty to save him:
"Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau" (Genesis 32:12).
Why is "from the hand of" repeated? The Torah does not waste words. Once would have been sufficient.
The reason the words "from the hand of" is repeated is to teach that when a brother turns into an enemy, he becomes a much more dangerous enemy than a stranger. Tosfot, a commentary on the Talmud (Taanit 20a) adds that just as a one-time beloved friend is the worst enemy, so too when two enemies become friends, it is the strongest of friendships.
When you have difficulties in getting along with someone, don't think that just because at present you do not like each other that it will always be so. On the contrary, if you will be able to overcome the animosity between you, the former negative feelings can be transformed into extremely positive feelings. On the international scene we have seen countries which have fought bitter wars against each other finally make peace and become close allies. This should serve as a lesson for us in making peace with individuals who have quarreled with us in the past.
Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtzah saved the Jews of his city from a pogrom during the First World War. The Austro-German army left the city and the Russian army entered. In other places the Jews suffered greatly when the Russian soldiers came in. Rav Meir Yechiel called a meeting of the notables of his city and told them about his plan to greet the Russian soldiers as liberators. They would give out food and cigarettes to the soldiers and develop a friendly relationship with them. This is what they did and the soldiers acted in a very friendly manner towards the Jewish population of the city.
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Guatemala 5:12 - Hong Kong 5:21 - Honolulu 5:30
J'Burg 6:19 - London 3:47 - Los Angeles 4:26
Melbourne 7:57 - Mexico City 5:38 - Miami 5:11
New York 4:12 - Singapore 6:36 - Toronto 4:23
The best present to your child is your presence