Shmot 5769

June 24, 2009

8 min read


Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1 )

GOOD MORNING! I don't believe I have ever heard anyone say, "Gee, raising kids sure is easy!" It has been said that being a parent is the only occupation that when you are finally experienced - you are out of a job. Though it is a cute thought, I don't think parents are ever out of a job. They are always needed and important!

The following precepts set forth by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin can help us to nurture our children:


1. Love your children unconditionally.
2. Each day tell your children you love them. All you have to say is three words, "I love you." If this is difficult for you, there is a greater need to say it.
3. Speak and act in ways that you give your children a positive self-image. Believe in your child. Believe in his abilities and potential. Say explicitly, "I believe in you." How do you know when you are successful at this? When your child says, "I see that you believe in me."
4. Be a role model for the traits and qualities that you want your children to have.
5. Clarify the main positive qualities you want your child to develop. Keep praising those qualities. Reinforce those qualities when your child speaks or acts in ways consistent with that quality.
6. Realize that each child is unique and different. Understand each child's uniqueness and take it into consideration when challenges arise.
7. Word your comments positively. Focus on the outcome you want. For example, "By developing this quality (for example, taking action right away), you will be more successful in life." (Rather than saying the opposite.)
8. Keep asking yourself, "What is the wisest thing to say to my child right now?" Especially say this when your child has messed up.
9. Read great books to your children.
10. When you come across a story that could have an important positive lesson for your child, relate it. Look for stories that teach lessons. Ask people for stories that had a positive influence on their lives. Share your day with your kids so they know what you do and can learn from you and your experiences.
11. Create a calm, loving atmosphere in your home. Consistently speak in a calm and loving tone of voice. Even when challenges arise for you, speak in a tone of voice that is balanced.
12. Master patience. Life is a seminar in character development. Your children are your partners in helping you become a more patient person.
13. Conquer anger. See, hear, and feel yourself being a calm person who has mastered the ability to maintain an emotional and mental state of being centered, focused, and flowing.
14. If you make a mistake when interacting with your children, apologize. They will ultimately respect you more than if you try to deny a mistake.
15. Keep asking people you know and meet, "What did you like about what your parents said and did?"
16. Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you like. Apply the positive patterns.
17. Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you don't like. Think about ways that you might be doing the same. Resolve not to speak and act that way.
18. Express gratitude daily in front of your children. Ask them
regularly, "What are you grateful for?"
19. Become a master at evaluating events, situations, and occurrences in a realistic positive way. Frequently ask your children, "What would be a positive way of looking at this?" Or, "How can we grow from this?"
20. When your children make mistakes, help them learn from those mistakes. Have them mentally picture themselves at their best.
21. Each and every day ask yourself, "What can I say and do to be an even better parent?"

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Torah Portion of the Week

This week's portion tells a story often repeated throughout history: The Jews become prominent and numerous. There arises a new king in Egypt "who did not know Joseph" (meaning he chose not to know Joseph or recognize any debt of gratitude). He proclaims slavery for the Jewish people "lest they may increase so much, that if there is war, they will join our enemies and fight against us, driving (us) from the land." (Anti-Semitism can thrive on any excuse; it need not be logical or real - check out our online seminar "Why the Jews?" at . It's spectacular!)

Moshe (Moses) is born and immediately hidden because of the decree to kill all male Jewish babies. Moses is saved by Pharaoh's daughter, grows up in the royal household, goes out to see the plight of his fellow Jews. He kills an Egyptian who was beating a Jew, escapes to Midian when the deed becomes known, becomes a shepherd, and then is commanded by God at the Burning Bush to "bring My people out of Egypt." Moses returns to Egypt, confronts Pharaoh who refuses to give permission for the Israelites to leave. And then God says, "Now you will begin to see what I will do to Pharaoh!"

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And the King of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one was Shifrah and the name of the second was Puah" (Exodus 1:15).

Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, an eleventh century French commentator, informs us that Shifrah was a second name for Yocheved, Moses' mother. She was called Shifrah because she did things for the betterment (the meaning of the Hebrew word "Shifrah" is to "make better") of the infants in her care. Puah was another name for Miriam, Moses' sister. She was called Puah because of the comforting sounds ("poo, poo...") she would make to the infants as mothers do to calm a crying baby. Why, however, does the Torah give a second name?

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, a Torah luminary who taught in the Mir Yeshiva, comments that when the Torah calls someone by a certain name it is because that name represents the essence of the person. The fact that Yocheved and Miriam were called by names that show how they helped the infants both physically and emotionally, means that this was an integral part of their very being. We see from here that what might appear to be minor actions can be part of an elevated level that will comprise the entire person.

When you experience love and compassion for others, you are emulating the attributes of the Almighty. The greater your act of kindness, the more elevated you become. A child who experiences warmth and love grows up to be a more loving person. This early conditioning will have life-long positive effects. Such a child will find it much easier to feel love for the Almighty and love for his fellow man. Whenever you make a young child feel good, be aware of the extent of your kindness. The deeper your appreciation for the chesed (kindness) you are doing, the more elevated you become!

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Don't worry that your kids
don't always listen to you...
worry that they're always
watching you!
-- Robert Fulghum

In Honor of

Lynn & Paul Leight

With love,
Madeline & Stephen Barkin

In Loving Memory of

Rena Rachel Rivka
bas Binyamin HaCohen

by Nathan Zemel

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

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