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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Paskin

Mitzvah Muscles


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From Rabbi David

In this week's Torah portion, Sh'mot we read:

וַיְהִ֣י ׀ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֗ם וַיִּגְדַּ֤ל מֹשֶׁה֙ וַיֵּצֵ֣א אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו וַיַּ֖רְא בְּסִבְלֹתָ֑ם וַיַּרְא֙ אִ֣ישׁ מִצְרִ֔י מַכֶּ֥ה אִישׁ־עִבְרִ֖י מֵאֶחָֽיו׃
Some time after that, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his kinsfolk and witnessed their labors. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen.

Teaching our children about right and wrong; about fairness and injustice is something that happens in little ways every day in school. As our children grow to understand that they are separate beings from others and that others have feelings just like them, they begin to develop these mitzvah muscles.

It took a long time for Moses to realize the injustice going on all around him and that he was a part of so we should forgive our children for not having a full understanding of fairness at this young age. And while we hope they will grow in their compassion toward others we also want to teach them that it is okay to feel frustrated or upset. Teaching our children to care for others cannot come at the expense of teaching them to care for themselves. Like most things - it is a delicate balancing act.

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