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ב"ה

Parsha Parenting

Shlach

Shelach

It is a land that consumes its inhabitants (13:32)

The Hebrew word for "its inhabitants" in this verse, yoshvehah, literally means "its settlers".

Thus Chassidic master Rabbi Yitzchak of Varka explained the deeper significance of this statement: the Holy Land does not tolerate those who settle down, content with their achievements…

The growth of children is miraculously rapid, their brains are constantly developing and their skills and sizes change very often. Often, when we watch videos of our children from only a few months back, we are shocked at how different they are now. Or, when we see young relatives whom we have not seen for what seems like only a short period of time, we are amazed at how much they’ve changed and grown!

As parents, we must never be satisfied with our own achievements. The same growth and movement from level to level which is apparent in our children must take place within our own thoughts, speech and action. What is good enough for today, must be a little bit better tomorrow. A healthy parent is a parent who is growing together with his/her child. In Judaism, there is no such idea as “settling” with one level; that is detrimental, as we see in this week’s Parsha.

This Shabbos, reflect on the past week and your accomplishments as a parent. Set new goals for the coming week a step higher, elevating yourself, your environment and your family.

May we merit to truly settle in Eretz Yiroel in a positive sense with the coming of Moshiach Now!

Beha'aloscha

Beha’aloscha

This Chodesh (new moon, month) shall be to you the head of months; it shall be for you the first of the months of the year (12:2)

Time is the first creation (see Sforno on Genesis 1:1); thus, the sanctification of time is the first mitzvah commanded to Israel.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

“If only there were more hours in a day… If only we had the time to…”

TIME is a very precious creation of Hashem… it is actually the first creation! And just as with any other created thing, when used for productive and holy purposes, it increases. Seconds, minutes, hours and days seem to be scientifically measured and counted. Yet, we have all experienced success and failure with time. On one day, a task or errand can take five minutes; on another, the same activity can take an hour. We are granted success with our time when we use it wisely.

As parents, we can get caught up with the many priorities a day’s challenges present. But we must constantly be aware of an essential need of every child: OUR TIME. Giving a child quality time is one of the biggest investments you can make in the relationship with your child. Quality time is mutually enjoyable and creates a space for very important interactions. When you set a consistent routine of spending at least ten minutes of one on one time for each child daily (which both parent and child are enjoying), you are indeed elevating the creation of time and building the foundation for a crucial relationship.

This Shabbos, look for ways to create special times within the day for quality interactions with each child. You will be surprised at how many opportunities there are within your busy daily routine to incorporate this…

May we merit a time when we will once again be able to sanctify the new moon in the Bais Hamikdash in Yerushalayim!

Naso

Naso

May G-d bless you and keep you (6:24)

With G-d's blessing comes His protection of the blessing. A mortal king has a servant in Syria while he himself lives in Rome. The king sends for him. He sets out and comes to him. He gives him a hundred pounds of gold. He packs it up and sets out on his journey. Robbers fall upon him and take away all that he had given him and all that he had with him... But when G-d blesses one with riches, He also guards them from robbers. (Midrash Rabbah)

As parents, we are the recipients of G-d’s greatest treasure—precious Jewish children. As we know and have experienced, the great responsibility of caring for and raising our young ones can be very daunting and can lead us to worry or sometimes fear. But Hashem promises us in this week’s parsha that His blessings come as a package deal together with His protection. Of course we have to do our part, but we be must be assured that Hashem is constantly protecting our blessings. In fact, the Rebbe teaches us that the act of focusing on positive, non-worrisome, non-fearful thoughts causes Hashem’s goodness to shine in an open, revealed and tangible manner. This is based on the Tzemach Tzedek’s saying, “think good and it will be good.”

This Shabbos, be aware of any worries you have about your children and their future. Focus on what you are doing right now and what you plan to do to create positive outcomes and then erase any trace of worry or fear from your mind. Verbalize your complete faith in Hashem’s protection, “I am so happy because I know that Hashem is going to help you grow up and be so healthy and strong!” May we merit Hashem’s ultimate blessings and protection with the coming of Moshiach Now!

Bamidbar

Bamidbar

Raise the head of all the congregation of the children of Israel... by the number of names (Bamidbar 1:2)

A census expresses two paradoxical truths. On the one hand, it implies that each individual is significant. On the other hand, a head-count is the ultimate equalizer: each member of the community, from the greatest to the lowliest, counts for no less and no more than "one." G-d repeatedly commands Moses to count the Jewish people to emphasize both their individual worth--the fact that no single person's contribution is dispensable--as well as their inherent equality. (The Chassidic Masters)

As parents, we are given the opportunity to highlight the unique contributions each one of our children make to the family. Depending on the personality of each child, some are more naturally recognized for specific qualities while it might take extra effort on our part to uncover others’. With the counting in this week’s Parshah we are refocused to believe in the vital and indispensable gift which every Jew possesses. Together with that is the awareness that in our highest essence, we are all equally G-dly. One individual’s virtues does not make their essence any greater than another’s.

This Shabbos, verbally acknowledge something special about your child which you might have overlooked lately. Appreciate the value of that specific characteristic, and how it makes your family beautiful. “Every time you smile at the baby, it teaches him how to smile! Thank you!”… “I appreciate how you remember to clear your place at the table! You are helping to make our home into a Sanctuary for Hashem.” Every child has something else which can be underlined, and we must be aware that each one of those are equally special.

May we merit a time when our G-dly essence will be openly revealed with the coming of Moshiach Now!

Behar-Bechukosai

Behar

Lag Ba’omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, is a day of great joy and celebration. It is the birthday of Jewish Mysticism., for on this day many years ago, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai revealed the deepest secrets of the Torah before passing away.

One of the ways which Lag BaOmer is celebrated is by taking the children to the fields to play, and  there is a time old tradition of using bows and arrows. The Rebbe explains the symbolism of the bows and arrows to represent the power of inwardness. When facing a challenge, the first step in overcoming it is to turn inside to our essence. The inventor of this device first had to grasp the paradox that the deadly arrow must be pulled back toward one's own heart in order to strike the heart of the opponent, and that the more it is drawn toward oneself, the more distant an adversary it can reach.

This Shabbos, look back at your week and at the opportunities you wished you would have taken to spend more time with your children and spiritual growth. Plan ahead for the coming week to invest a few more minutes in your foundational priorities and pray to Hashem that you will see the success with time that will come. In order to make this happen, discuss your plans with your children—they will remind you! “I was thinking of riding our bikes together after school on Monday to visit Grandma…”

May we experience the ultimate promise of Hashem’s brachos with the coming of Moshiach Now!

Bechukosai

And if you will say… what will we eat in the seventh year?... Hashem will command His blessings and there will be plenty (Vayikra)

The mitzvah of Shemittah is given to us in this week’s parsha—the mitzvah to rest the land every Seventh year and to occupy our days with only Torah and good deeds, as the Sabbatical. Hashem reassures us clearly not to fret about having enough to eat, although logically there does not seem to be a natural way of having enough.

We learn a very basic tenet of belief from the above encouragement and command. When we set ourselves to fulfill the will of Hashem with joy, we are promised that everything will be taken care of in a tangible manner. At times, it is hard to stay focused on important priorities when it seems that there is “hardly enough time for anything!” Yet, ultimately, Hashem is the one who grants us true success with our time!

This Shabbos, look back at your week and at the opportunities you wished you would have taken to spend more time with your children and spiritual growth. Plan ahead for the coming week to invest a few more minutes in your foundational priorities and pray to Hashem that you will see the success with time that will come. In order to make this happen, discuss your plans with your children—they will remind you! “I was thinking of riding our bikes together after school on Monday to visit Grandma…”

May we experience the ultimate promise of Hashem’s brachos with the coming of Moshiach Now!

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