click here to jump to start of article
Join Our Newsletter

Join 400,000 Aish subscribers
Get Email Updates




Toldot(Genesis 25:19-28:9)

Toldot 5765

If you would like to support the Shabbat Shalom Weekly, please click here:

GOOD MORNING!   I don't believe I have ever heard anyone say, "Gee, raising kids sure is easy!" What's incredibly puzzling is when two children in the same family go in different moral directions. In this week's Torah portion Isaac and Rebecca have two sons - the righteous Jacob and the wicked Esau. For thousands of years Jewish parents have consoled themselves when they have had children who were less righteous than they had hoped for that even our righteous patriarchs and matriarchs also had problems with their children.

Perhaps the following precepts set forth by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin will help you nurture your children.


21 KEY IDEAS FOR BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR 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?"


Torah Portion of the Week
Toldot

Rivka (Rebecca) gives birth to Esav (Esau) and Yaakov (Jacob). Esav sells the birthright to Yaakov for a bowl of lentil soup. Yitzhak (Isaac) sojourns in Gerar with Avimelech, king of the Philistines. Esav marries two Hittite women bringing great pain to his parents (because they weren't of the fold).

Yaakov impersonates Esav on the counsel of his mother in order to receive the blessing for the oldest son by his blind father, Yitzhak. Esav, angry because of his brother's deception which caused him to lose the firstborn blessings, plans to kill Yaakov, so Yaakov flees to his uncle Lavan (Laban) in Padan Aram - on the advice of his parents. They also advise him to marry Lavan's daughter.

Esav understands that his Canaanite wives are displeasing to his parents, so he marries a third wife, Machlath, the daughter of Ishmael (Ishmael).

 

Dvar Torah
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And Yitzhak was forty years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of Besuail the Aromite, from Padan Arom, the sister of Lavan the Aromite, for himself for a wife" (Genesis 25:20)

The Torah has already stated (in last week's Torah portion) that Rivkah was the daughter of Besuail, the sister of Lavan, and was from Padan Aram. What do we learn from this seemingly superfluous information?

Rashi asks this question and answers that the Torah is emphasizing the praises of Rivkah. She was the daughter of an evil person, the sister of an evil person and lived in a community of evil people. Nevertheless, she did not learn from their behavior!

Many people try to excuse their faults by blaming others as the cause of their behavior. "It's not my fault I have this bad trait, I learned it from my father and mother." "I'm not to blame for this bad habit since all my brothers and sisters do it also." "Everyone in my neighborhood does this or does not do that, so how could I be any different?" They use this as a rationalization for failing to make an effort to improve.

We see from Rivkah that regardless of the faulty behavior of those in your surroundings, you have the ability to be more elevated. Of course, it takes courage and a lot of effort to be different. The righteous person might be considered a nonconformist and even rebellious by those in his environment whose standard of values are below his level. However, a basic Torah principle is that we are responsible for our own actions. Pointing to others in your environment who are worse than you is not a valid justification for not behaving properly.

If you ever find yourself saying, "It's not my fault I did this. It's because of the way I was raised or because I learned it from so and so," change your focus to, "I'll make a special effort to improve in this area to overcome the tendency to follow in the footsteps of others."

Blaming others for your faults and saying that you cannot do anything to change them will be a guarantee that they will remain with you. Make a list of the negative traits you picked up from your early environment. Develop a plan of action to improve in those areas!



CANDLE LIGHTING - November 12:
(or go to http://www.aish.com/candlelighting)

Jerusalem  4:06
Guatemala 5:12  Hong Kong 5:23  Honolulu 5:31
J'Burg 6:14  London 3:56  Los Angeles 4:31
Melbourne 6:44  Miami 5:15  Moscow 4:11
New York 4:22  Singapore  6:34



QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Kindness is a language the deaf can hear
and the blind can see.



In Honor of the
Naming of My Granddaughter
Rebekah Danit Ronkin
17 Sivan, 5764 Coral Springs, FL
With Great Love,
Sharon Samole




Published: November 6, 2004

Give Tzedakah! Help Aish.com create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.


  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment
stub
Sign up today!