The Wisdom Of Moral Aphorisms

“Human beings are always searching for simple, easy ways to grasp complex and important ideas. It’s not an accident that for thousands of years, in every culture and language in the world, people have been sharing short, pithy sayings that capture eternal truths in a few well-chosen words. In fact, one such saying has found …

Vayishlakh2 (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

I have three sisters. Two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was eight years old. In the months leading up to her birth I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy, and I might end up with a …

Vayekhi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

A woman in our congregation whose son will soon be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah came to see me today with a heavy heart. She told me a sad but unfortunately all too familiar tale of enmity and anger, silence and deep-seated hurt between members of her immediate family. How her mother hasn’t spoken to her …

Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

When I was sixteen my family moved from Santa Monica to Sacramento. I had just finished my first year of high school and had been selected to play drums with the SAMOHI jazz band in the Hollywood Bowl (which I did the night before we moved). I was certainly not looking forward to leaving behind …

Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

“All dreams follow the interpreter.” Talmud, Berakhot 55b Everyone has dreams. Some of us dream of heights we intend to scale, battles we intend to win, glories we intend to capture. Some of us dream of love, or riches, or fame, or the quenching of our deepest desires. Some dreams are vast, and deep, and …

Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

There are moments when I suddenly glimpse the frightened, fragile child beneath the false bravado of an adult who has come to me for counseling, and my breaks with their pain and sadness. Indeed, there have been many moments when it seemed that the only response possible was to cry. This past week was one …

The Importance of Travel With Children

““Are we there yet?” What parent has heard that little voice coming from the back seat of the car five minutes after driving out of the garage at the very beginning of a long trip and hasn’t sighed and asked themselves, “Is this all really worth it?” When it comes to taking your children along …

Vayishlakh (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is offer a silent prayer of thanks for being alive. The traditional morning blessing (which I recite silently to myself in Hebrew while still lying in bed), says modeh ani lefanekha, melekh khai vekayam, she-he-khezarta bee nishmati bekhemla, rabba emunatekha – “I give …

Setting a Good Example

“If I could teach parents just one lesson from all the parenting books that I have read, and all the lectures I have heard and all the articles that I have either read or written, there is absolutely no question in my mind that what one lesson would be. It is the most important message …

Parents are the Most Important Teachers

“Even though “character education” has become fashionable only in the past few year, I have had the privilege of spending the last twenty years of my life teaching, lecturing, and giving workshops to parents about the challenges of raising children who are steeped in values and whose daily behavior is a reflection of good character. …

Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

I remember how foolish I felt at first. There we were, my wife Didi and I, creeping around at midnight, quietly threading our way through low shrubs and overhanging trees where the beach met the foliage about twenty yards from the water. It was nearly pitch dark with only the light from the stars and …

The Wisdom Of Moral Aphorisms

“Human beings are always searching for simple, easy ways to grasp complex and important ideas. It’s not an accident that for thousands of years, in every culture and language in the world, people have been sharing short, pithy sayings that capture eternal truths in a few well-chosen words. In fact, one such saying has found …

Haye Sarah 2005 (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

One of the greatest blessings of being a rabbi is the privilege I so often have of being witness to the remarkable power of the human spirit. Being a rabbi, and particularly serving the unique community where I live and work given me the opportunity to be part of some of the most amazing collections …