Friday, February 01, 2008


Two weeks ago, I posed a question about a young man whose parents were unhappy with his choices – how would you have replied to the young man’s dilemma?

In response to popular demand, I will share my actual answer, but first a story and a plea.

The story is about our 3-year old Yoseph. The other night when I was putting him to bed, after we’d finished the epic thriller, There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, he confessed, “I like it when you hurt me when I’m bad.”

I thought I'd misunderstood him, because I’ve never used corporal anything on the kids. Maybe he was thinking about the other day when he was being “chuzpadik” and I took him (yelling) to his room an hour before his bedtime and said, “You’re being chuzpadik so the day is over for you, please stay in bed, good night.”

Or maybe I heard him wrong. “What did you say?”

“I like it when you hurt me when I’m bad. But now I’m good, so I’m going to hug you and kiss you.”

Question for your table: What did Yoseph mean?

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Reader survey – I’m interested to know your interest in and level of knowledge about Israel.

1. Have you had a chance to tour Northern Israel and Jerusalem?

2. Do you have family or friends who live in Israel?

3. Do you desire to travel to Israel in the next 5 years?

A few fast Israel facts:

In Israel, you can visit the lowest elevation on Earth.
In Israel, you can experience 5 climactic zones in a single day’s drive.
Israel has a parliamentary democracy, which to an American (me) is less user-friendly than a representative democracy.
In Israel, Moslem women can vote, drive cars, etc.
Yahoo is establishing – in the footsteps of Google, Microsoft, Intel and scores of additional global giants - an R&D center in Haifa. The latest Intel chips and Windows OS were developed there.

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OK, so let’s end with the two young men under discussion.

Here’s what I told the young man:

I told it to him straight and simple - that the mitzvah of honoring parents governs how we speak to our parents (including not contradicting them) and helping them (including calling and visiting them), but does not mean that we need to accept their opinion when it comes to our own choices.

Regarding Yoseph: Children want to know the first part, which is why Yoseph said what he said. Children want to learn loving discipline and respect. They need it. But they need to learn how to choose, too. That means that even when they are young we should perhaps stay out of their choices that are not a moral or safety issue.

Shabbat Shalom.

Travel/speaking schedule:
January 28 – Baltimore - “Judaism and Islam”
February 6-7 – Los Angeles
February 18-20 – Chicago and Deerfield
March 18-19 – Miami area

For details, send an email!

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