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Jacob Style Parenting!

Thursday, 20 December, 2018 - 11:42 pm

After an uplifting family Shabbos in New York commemorating my mom’s eighth Yahrtzait, I traveled to South Florida to spend a day with Shoshana, who is studying at the Rohr Bais Chaya Academy in Coral Springs. Although I only had 9 hours with her, we enjoyed every second, as we chatted, laughed, caught up on her school grades and discussed life and its intricacies. We rode a beach surrey along the Hollywood boardwalk, enjoyed fine Kosher dining in Aventura and even got to see some reptiles at Miami’s Jungle World; when it was time for me to leave, it was hard for both of us. Parenting has interesting twists and turns, but for me the key has been to learn the language of each individual child and speak to them accordingly.

In this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, the last in the book of Genesis, we read of Jacob’s final words to his beloved tribes before his passing. In what is undoubtedly a healthy mixture of rebuke, fatherly hopes, prophecy and blessings, Jacob respected the individuality of each child and talked to them in a way that resonated most with them, telling them each what they needed to hear most. He could’ve blessed all of them together “Y'all shall all be Torah scholars, righteous leaders and pious Jews”, but collective blessings don’t tap into the exceptionality of each person, allowing their inimitable personalities to shine; individual focus does.

I admit that at times, I wish that my kids would journey through life as angels without any hiccups along the way. Yet Jacob taught us that some kids are warriors, some kids are scholars, some kids are businessman and some kids are farmers. Every nation, every family, needs a diverse group of souls who each contribute something special to the family and the world. It's the wish of Chavie and I, indeed our every prayer, that Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny and Chana Laya, all grow to be Chassidim, soldiers in G-d’s army of world illumination, but how they go about that task, it is our hope that they do it with their distinct touch. In the words of Reb Mendel of KotzkIf I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But, if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you”.

Are you the best you?

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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