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The Fine Balance In Raising Our Children



Is it fair that we impose our values on our kids? To what extent are we, as parents, responsible for how our children behave? What if parents and kids don't think alike?

These questions are profoundly complex and emotionally charged. After all, we love our children more than anything else. As a result, we want what we think is in the best interests of our children.

However, we often forget about one key ingredient.

There is an allusion to this in our weekly Torah portion. In relaying G‑d’s command to kindle the Menorah the verse uses the words “When you raise up the lamps”, Rashi explains that the priest should apply the flame to the wick “until the flame rises on its own,” and shines its own unique light.

This teaches us an important lesson in the way we raise our kids. Yes, it is true that we have a profound responsibility to imbue our children with the timeless Jewish values, which we received from our ancestors, going all the way back to Moses.

This is especially true in today's world where there is a concerted effort to strip the next generation of any vestige of traditional moral values.

However, we must also remember that as we ignite the candle (the soul of our children), we should be sensitive and patient in allowing for their flame to rise up on its own. By doing so, we are allow our children to discover their own unique light.

This process of ignition of the flame was the duty of the High Priest at the time of the temple. Metaphorically, though, this is a timeless imperative for all Jews.


Each and every one of us has an obligation to kindle the flame of our fellow Jews. We do so by conveying a kind message, a thought of the Torah or an inspiring story that will raise the morale of our brothers and sisters.

At the same time, however, we have to be sensitive to the unique circumstances and perspectives of every individual. Only then will we be able to light up the world with the purest and brightest light.


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