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Va'eira 5765

Va'eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35 )

by Kalman Packouz

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GOOD MORNING!   A psychologist once said, "before I got married I didn't understand why there is so much child abuse; after I had children I wondered why there is so little." While any amount of child abuse is too much, most parents will agree that raising children is at minimum very challenging. Small children, small problems; big children, big problems. It is the only job that by the time you're trained ... you're out of a job. Here is an interesting piece from "Quote Magazine" (September 1, 1985) about what children want from parents. They surveyed children 8 to 14 years old in 24 countries. Here are the top 10 wanted behaviors:


  1. They want harmony - their parents should not have unresolved and destructive conflict in front of them.

  2. They want love. They wish to be treated with the same affection as other children in the family.

  3. They want honesty. They do not want to be lied to.

  4. They want acceptance. They desire mutual tolerance from both parents.

  5. They want their parents to like their friends. They want their friends to be welcomed in the home.

  6. They want closeness. They desire comradeship with their parents.

  7. They want their parents to pay attention to them and answer their questions.

  8. They want consideration from their parents - not to be embarrassed or punished in front of friends.

  9. They want positive support - for parents to concentrate on their good points rather than their weaknesses.

  10. They want consistency. They desire parents to be consistent in their affections and moods.

It appears that these children want what all of us want - respect, consideration and love. They are excellent traits to practice, not only with our children, but with anyone! It has been said that a parent only owes his child three things: example, example and example. Perhaps the following piece will give some insight into what kids learn from us:


If a child lives with criticism .... he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility .... he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear .... he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with jealousy.... he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with tolerance .... he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement .... he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise .... he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance .... he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval .... he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition .... he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty .... he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness .... he learns justice.
If a child lives with security .... he learns to trust in himself and others.
If a child lives with friendliness .... he learns the world is a
nice place in which to live.

What is your child living with?

Torah Portion of the Week

Here begins the story of the Ten Plagues which God put upon the
not only to effect the release of the Jewish people from bondage, but to
show the world that He is the God of all of creation and history. The
first nine plagues are divisible into three groups:

  1. The water turning to blood, frogs, lice.
  2. Wild beasts, pestilence/epidemic, boils.
  3. Hail, locust, and darkness.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains that these were punishments measure for measure for afflicting the Jewish people with slavery. The first of each group reduced Egyptians in their own land to the insecurity of strangers, the second of each group robbed them of pride, possessions and a sense of superiority; the third in each group imposed physical suffering.


Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the Lord spoke to Moshe and Aharon and He commanded them about the Children of Israel and about Pharaoh, King of Egypt."

What did the Almighty command Moses and Aaron?

The Talmud Yerushalmi (tractate Rosh Hashanah 3:5) tells us that God commanded Moshe and Aharon to tell the Children of Israel to heed their obligation of freeing slaves on the jubilee year. At first glance, it seems difficult to understand the necessity of teaching this law while the Jewish nation was still enslaved in Egypt, since the laws of the Hebrew slave were to apply only once they possessed slaves, after entering the land of Israel.

It must be understood that the slavery the Torah speaks about here is probably better translated as an indentured servant. When a person was down and out and caught stealing, he was sold into a maximum of 7 years indentured servitude. The Talmud teaches that one who acquires a slave acquires a master for himself. If there is one pillow, the slave gets it. The slave can only be given meaningful and time limited activities. By being placed in a functional family, the Torah has created a social services setting for his rehabilitation.

Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz explains that at this particular moment the people were enslaved; they felt the anguish of slavery and yearned for freedom. They should remember this very feeling when they themselves would have slaves, and should not hesitate to free them. Whenever a person suffers, he should remember this feeling when he is called upon to help someone else in a similar situation.

A story to illustrate the importance of empathy: One cold winter day, Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Miesel went to the home of a wealthy person to ask him to donate money to warm the home of a poor family. When the wealthy person saw Rabbi Miesel approaching, he ran outside to greet him. Assuming that the Rabbi would immediately enter his house, he did not bother to put on his coat. Rav Eliyahu Chaim, however, began to talk with him at length, ignoring his repeated invitations to come inside. Finally, when the wealthy man was shivering from cold, Rabbi Miesel entered his home and said, "I have to ask you for money to warm the home of a poor family. Since your home is always warm and you own a heavy fur coat, you might not understand what if means to suffer from the cold. Now that you have felt the discomfort of feeling cold, you will surely give generously."

(or go to

Jerusalem  4:16
Guatemala 5:29  Hong Kong 5:37  Honolulu 5:46
J'Burg 6:47  London 3:51  Los Angeles 4:40
Melbourne 7:23  Mexico City 5:59  Miami 5:28

Moscow 4:00  New York 4:27  Singapore  6:56
Toronto 4:39


The best present to your child
is your presence

To Judy,
for the best 12 years of my life
Love, Robert


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