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ב"ה

Parsha Parenting

Parshas Emor

Emor

Speak to the kohanim, the sons of Aaron, and say to them... (Leviticus 21:1) "Speak" and "say" -- enjoin the elders regarding the youngsters.  (Talmud; Rashi)

The above dictum, which constitutes a primary biblical source for the concept of education, also offers insight into the nature of education. The word used by the Talmud and Rashi -- lehazhir, "to enjoin" -- also means "to shine." Hence the phrase "to enjoin the elders regarding the youngsters" also translates "to illuminate the elders regarding the youngsters." Education is not only an elder teaching a youngster; it is also an illumination for the educator. (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

Life is a journey of education for every human being. Our "yesterday" is the child and "tomorrow" a more mature adult. In youngsters though, the need is so much more apparent and the results are so rewarding and obvious. When guiding and educating our children properly, we have the privilege of being illuminated ourselves in the process. How many times did you become aware of your own inner struggles when training a child how to overcome theirs? How many times did you appreciate something special about the world around you because of the curiosity of your own child?

This Shabbos, thank Hashem for allowing you to be the one specifically chosen to raise and "enjoin" your child/ren. Reflect on the growth and illumination you have gained in the process, and allow that to motivate further positive action in the realm of education. Never underestimate the power of a prayer said aloud in front of your children, "Thank you, Hashem for giving me such an important job to help my child/ren be their best!"

May we enjoy the ultimate illumination of our souls with the coming of Moshiach Now!

Achrei Mos-Kedoshim

Achrei-Mos

You shall not go about as a talebearer (19:16)

A man once came to see Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch and proceeded to portray himself as a villain of the worst sort. After describing at length his moral and spiritual deficiencies, he begged the Rebbe to help him overcome his evil character.

"Surely,'' said the Rebbe, "you know how grave is the sin of lashon harah, speaking ill of a human being. Nowhere, to my knowledge, does it say that it is permissible to speak lashon harah about oneself."

At times, children develop a habit of speaking negatively about themselves, particularly about their skills. It is natural for a child to compare him/herself with peers and this can lead to feelings of failure. As parents, it is our job to encourage a healthy balance between striving for excellence and self-critique. In the above story, the Previous Rebbe explains that lashan hara applies to one’s self as well! 

This Shabbos, redirect negative self-expression to reflect the desire to grow. Instead of saying, “I’m so bad at the monkey bars! I’m never going to be so fast like my sister…” Encourage your child to use words like, “I could be so much better at the monkey bars. Can you help me try?” When describing one’s own skills as a parent, we must also take caution in the words we use… expressions like, “I’m so bad at handling the fighting…” or “I can never get them to eat vegetables!” is lashan hara and stunts our growth.

May we merit to channel all of our words for positive action, bringing Moshiach Now!

Kedoshim

"If he is poor... He should take one male lamb, as a guilt-offering... On the Eighth day of his ritual purification..." (Vayikra 14:21-23)

The fact that a Jew can achieve atonement on behalf of another teaches us that the Jewish people are truly one "body" who need to feel each other's pain and ease each other's suffering. A person should feel that another Jew's problem is his own problem.
- The Rebbe

The spiritual disease of Tzara'as described in this week's Parsha and its method of atonement teach us the above powerful lesson. It's not enough to want to help another Jew in need, we must feel that their problem is truly our problem.

This Shabbos, encourage your children to uncover this feeling for one another. "Oh, the baby has a tummy ache! Ouch... That makes my tummy hurt... What can we do to make him feel more comfortable? What would you need if your tummy hurts?"

May this Ahavas Yisroel uncover Hashem's ultimate mercy and bring Moshiach! 

Tazria-Metzora

Tazria

“He should be brought to Aharon the Priest” (Vayikra 13:2)

The only person who can pronounce a fellow Jew “impure” due to the tza’raas (leprosy) is  a Kohen. The Rebbe explains that Kohanim are people of inherent kindness who bless the Jewish People with love. When it comes to something so intense as declaring a person as a “Metzorah” - one who has leprosy, which requiresa total isolation from the rest of the nation, it is crucial that this judgement be given over only with obvious love.

As parents, we are responsible to disciple and guide our children, motivating them to do what is right. When it comes to stopping negativity through firmness and punishment, it must be done out of total love—the love of a Kohen. This is a sure way to come to our goal of not only stopping negative behavior, but motivating a true desire within the child to be their best.

This Shabbos, stop for a moment before disciplining and focus on how much you love your child and on your ultimate goal of motivating their desire to be the best they can be! The Rebbes have taught that a glare from eye-to-eye of complete love can be enough to conjure the desire in a child to do only good.

May this Ahavas Yisroel uncover Hashem's ultimate mercy and bring Moshiach!

Metzora

"If he is poor... He should take one male lamb, as a guilt-offering... On the Eighth day of his ritual purification..." (Vayikra 14:21-23)

The fact that a Jew can achieve atonement on behalf of another teaches us that the Jewish people are truly one "body" who need to feel each other's pain and ease each other's suffering. A person should feel that another Jew's problem is his own problem.
- The Rebbe

The spiritual disease of Tzara'as described in this week's Parsha and its method of atonement teach us the above powerful lesson. It's not enough to want to help another Jew in need, we must feel that their problem is truly our problem.

This Shabbos, encourage your children to uncover this feeling for one another. "Oh, the baby has a tummy ache! Ouch... That makes my tummy hurt... What can we do to make him feel more comfortable? What would you need if your tummy hurts?"

May this Ahavas Yisroel uncover Hashem's ultimate mercy and bring Moshiach! 

Shmini

These shall you eat of all that are in the waters: whatever has fins and scales (11:9)

All fish that have scales also have fins (and are thus kosher). But there are fish that have fins but do not have scales, and are thus impure. If so, the Torah could have written only "scales," without having to also write "fins"? ... Said Rabbi Abahu, and so it was learned in the study house of Rabbi Yishmael: This is so that "Torah be increased and made great" (Isaiah 42:21). (Talmud, Niddah 51b)

The Rebbe explains the fins and scales of a kosher fish to represent two aspects of Torah learning. The fins represent the talents and capabilities which one uses to propel forward in his success. The scales are the “armor” - the constant awareness of Hashem’s Presence—the Yiras Shomayim. Both are very important, but the above teaching portrays the importance of Fear of Heaven—scales, which will always deem a fish kosher.As parents, we each possess a strong desire to develop our children’s talents and capabilities. Indeed, these will propel them forward for success! But we must remember the importance of imparting the awareness of Hashem. When one has a strong sense of Yiras Shomayim, their talents will naturally blossom and propel them forward like fins. The desire to do the will of Hashem will motivate the depths of the soul to express itself.

This Shabbos, think about increasing the awareness and awe of Hashem in your family. Telling children stories of Tzaddikim and about miracles of Hashem really fortifies this concept. “Hashem is always with us! And He knows what is on our minds and hearts—so let’s make Him proud!” May we experience a time of true safety and peace with the coming of Moshiach Now!

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