Shoftim 5769

August 16, 2009

6 min read


Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 )

GOOD MORNING! Recently I received a beautiful PowerPoint presentation "The Price of Children" (author unknown) from which I would like to share with you excerpts.


The government recently calculated the price of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140 (of course, if they were including sending your child to a Jewish day school and high school they would need to add about another $130,000) for a middle-income family.

But $160,140 isn’t so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66 a year which is $741.38 a month or $171.08 a week. A mere $24.24 a day! Just over $1 an hour.

Still, you might think that the best advice is don’t have children if you want to be "rich."

Actually, it is just the opposite.

What do you get for your $160,140? Naming rights – first, middle and last! Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the cover every night. More love than your heart can hold.

Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonders over rocks, ants, clouds and warm cookies. A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate. A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites. Someone to laugh yourself silly no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

You get to finger paint, play hide and seek, catch lightning bugs, and reread the books of your childhood. For $160,140 you never have to grow up.

You have an excuse to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets.

You get to receive handprints set in clay and cards with backward letters. For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for the buck!

You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off of a garage roof, taking the training wheels off of a bike, removing a splinter, filling a wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of hair.

You get a front row seat for the first step, the first word, the first tooth.

You get to be immortal – to get another branch to your family tree and, if you’re lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

You get an education in psychology, nursing and communications that no college can match.

In the eyes of the child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the powers to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits – so that one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!

Love and enjoy your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren!!! It is the best investment you will ever make!!!


* * *


Now, that we have focused on the joys of children, it is vital to focus on the responsibility of parenthood. If I could give one piece of advice for raising children it is to deny them something at least once a day. Life is tough. There are no free passes. If you don’t want selfish, indulging, whining offspring who are always looking for another high or excitement, then deny them something once a day. No one gets everything his or her way. Kids need to know that there are disappointments and difficulties and learn how to handle them.

If I could give two pieces of advice, the second one would be to sign up for Rabbi Stephen Baars' * "3 Weeks to Perfect Parenting."* Each daily email is short, concise and contains a powerful idea to help you raise your children. Every week has a theme: 1) Key Life Lessons 2) What Parenting Is 3) Love. To sign up, go to:


For more on "Parenting" go to!


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Torah Portion of the Week

Topics in this week's portion include: Judges and Justice, Sacred Trees and Pillars, Blemished Sacrifice, Penalties for Idolatry, The Supreme Court, The King, Levitical Priests, Priestly Portions, Special Service, Divination and Prophecy, Cities of Refuge, Murder, Preserving Boundaries, Conspiring Witnesses, Preparing for War, Taking Captives, Conducting a Siege and the Case of the Unsolved Murder.

This week we have the famous admonition: "Righteousness, Righteousness shall you pursue, so that you will live and possess the Land that the Almighty your God, gives you" (Deut. 16:20).

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah writes about a king:

"And it will be as when he sits on his throne of royalty..." (Deut 17:18).

Why does the Torah use the phrase "as when he sits" rather than just say "when he sits"?

Rabbi Mordechai Pragamantzky of Telz, Lithuania, taught that even if a king is a ruler for a long time, he should still view himself as if he just obtained his rulership – as when he began to sit on his throne.

When a person first acquires a position of leadership, he is very idealistic and has many ideas and plans that he would like to implement for the benefit of the people under his authority. However, frequently after some time passes, the leader either becomes bored, disillusioned or worn out; many of his plans become lost.

Therefore, the Torah says about a king that he should always look at himself as if he just started sitting on his throne. This will enable him to have the same energy and enthusiasm as he originally had.

This same principle applies to anyone who is in charge of the welfare of others – for instance, parents! Remember the enthusiasm and goals you had when you first started out and keep trying to sustain it.


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A parent is not a person to lean on,
but a person to make leaning unnecessary.
--  paraphrased from Dorothy C. Fisher


In Loving Memory of

Emanuel Finkelstein

heartfelt condolences to

Richard Finkelstein


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

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