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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim 5778

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim (Leviticus 16-20 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING!  A dear friend, Avi Shulman, sent to me a copy of his new book, Inspired Parenting --with a Touch of Jewish Wisdom. I started reading it and after 3 pages I stopped and put it down. Why? I couldn't wait any longer to order copies for each of my married children!

A phenomenal book! It has been said that being a parent is the only job that where you finally know what you're doing ... you're out of a job. I'm not sure that we parents actually ever master the job, but this book will definitely help! Ahh ... to have had this book years ago!

What skills and traits do we want for our children? We want our children to be confident, loyal, moral, creative, enthusiastic, courageous, to grow and improve, have good health, manage their money, be productive, to lead a meaningful life and have peace of mind. If this doesn't cover everything, it's a good start!

There are 5 sections: 1) Equipping Your Child to Succeed 2) The Art of Positive Family Interactions 3) How to Effectively Motivate Your Child 4) Teaching Values and 5) Developing Healthy Attitudes.

I will share just a taste of the first part of Equipping Your Child to Succeed -- Building Self-Esteem. (The other parts are: Providing the Power Tools of Life, Developing Coping Skills, Teaching Time Management and Money Management.)

People with self-esteem are confident and comfortable with themselves; they have greater success and happiness in life. Below is a short synopsis of:


The Shulman 4-Step Plan
to Building Self-Esteem

1) Do worthwhile things -- we feel worthy when we do worthwhile acts involving honest projects and treating all people with respect. We and our children must feel at the end of the day that we are proud of what we have done, that we have added value through what we do. The good feeling of doing worthwhile activity, day by day, builds self-esteem. Positive affirmations are insufficient. The outward act brings the inner appreciation.

2) Grow from your failures -- how a person handles disappointment is the most accurate predictor of future success. Life is a roller coaster of up and downs. Failure is part of the road to success. One must learn to pick himself up and start again with the same enthusiasm.

There are two ways to respond to failure: 1) To succumb and never try again 2) To be challenged and energized by recognizing defeats as nothing more than a test of my determination.

Let your child know how happy you are that he tried, even if it didn't work out -- that trying and learning lessons from failure bring him one step closer to success. Often we think "If I didn't succeed the first time, forget it, I'll never succeed." Explain to your child that if that was true, no one would ever be able to ride a bicycle. Yet, many people rides bikes -- because they didn't give up. Whether you think you can or you can't ... you're right!

3) Glow from your successes -- not gloat! Feel a soft, warm internal light that says, "I planned it, I worked on it. I solved the problems, I saw it through and I succeeded!" One success leads to another success. If you can do this, then there is nothing you can't do!" If a person believes he can succeed, it provides the confidence and motivation for other projects.

4) Repeat -- the process is an endless loop. Find opportunities to help your child to apply it. Keep and share the attitude that problems are really challenges and have a solution. Your children have to see you living with these ideas. You are their role model. As has been said many times, "A parent only owes his child three things -- example, example, example."

Criticizing a child's thought, ideas or actions albeit with good intentions can quickly undermine the child's confidence ... and the relationship with his/her parents. Nay-saying and "being realistic" will not get you what you want for either you or your child.

Encourage your child to develop ideas, talents and interest, to think big and you will be surprised by what will be accomplished!



Torah Portion of the week

Acharei Mot - Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1 - 20:27

Acharei Mot includes the Yom Kippur service where the Cohen Gadol cast lots to designate two goats -- one to be sacrificed, the other to be driven to a place called Azazel after the Cohen Gadol - the High Priest - confesses the sins of the people upon its head. Today it is a very popular epithet in Israel to instruct another person in the heat of an argument to "go to Azazel." (I don't believe the intent, however, is to look for the goat...)

The goat sent to Azazel symbolically carried away the sins of the Jewish people. This, I surmise, is the source of the concept of using a scapegoat. One thing you can truly give credit to the Jewish people -- when we use a scapegoat, at least we use a real goat!

The Torah then proceeds to set forth the sexual laws -- who you are not allowed to marry or have relations with. If one appreciates that the goal of life is to be holy, to perfect oneself and to be as much as possible like God, then he/she can appreciate that it is impossible to orgy at night and be spiritual by day.

The Torah portion of Kedoshim invokes the Jewish people to be holy! And then it proceeds with the spiritual directions on how to achieve holiness, closeness to the Almighty. Within it lie the secrets and the prescription for Jewish continuity. If any group of people is to survive as an entity, it must have common values and goals -- a direction and a meaning. By analyzing this portion we can learn much about our personal and national destiny.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The High Priest, the Cohen Gadol, performs a special service in the Tent of Meeting on Yom Kippur. Only he performs this service and he does it alone. The Torah states:

"And there shall be no man in the Tent of Meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the sacred place" (Leviticus 16:17).

Why does the Torah emphasize, "and there shall be no man" when he does the service?

The commentary Degel Machaneh Ephraim, points out that the Cohen Gadol might feel conceited being the only one chosen from the entire nation to perform the sacred service on the most holy day of the year. He might focus on the honor he was receiving from others and how other people would be thinking of him with respect and even awe. Therefore, the Torah tells him, "There shall be no man," that is, the Cohen Gadol should mentally view the world as if there were no other people in existence. He should do this when he enters the tent of meeting to make atonement in the sacred place. By having this mental attitude, he frees himself from any thoughts of seeking honor and approval.

This is a useful technique for people who are worried about what others think about them. If no one else exists, then you do not need to worry what they think of you. In truth, others do not think about you as much as you think they do. And if they do think about what you do, it makes little practical difference -- especially, if you use this technique to free yourself from the harm and pain caused by the illusion that they are thinking about you and that it matters.


Candle Lighting Times

April 27
(or go to

Jerusalem 6:41
Guatemala 6:00 - Hong Kong 6:30 - Honolulu 6:37
J'Burg 5:23 - London 7:59 - Los Angeles 7:16
Melbourne 5:20 - Mexico City 7:40 - Miami 7:32
New York 7:30 - Singapore 6:49 - Toronto 7:57

Quote of the Week

It's not what you are
that is holding you back,
it is what you think you are not



In Loving Memory of

Ben Manger
Beryl Leib ben Yosef

With Deep Appreciation to

Joseph Wiesel


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