Shabbat Shalom HaNegev! It’s Carly Rosner, your Education Chair on the Rel/Ed GB here with this week’s Parasha.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word family? Is it your mom, your dad, your siblings, or even your dog? When I hear the word family, I think of unconditional love and kindness; which is what USY provides me with. This week’s Parasha is Mishpatim. Parashat Mishpatim begins with the revelation of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The Jewish people receive the 613 mitzvot from Moshe. Moshe interprets the laws to them to try to find a mutual understanding throughout the nation. The commandments Moshe portrays to the nation discuss the rules of property damage, stealing, dietary restrictions, crime against others, and most importantly, how to be kind to one another, love your neighbor as you love yourself, and how to be a family.
USY is more than a youth group- we’re a family. USY offers a sense of support and protection. It provides teenagers with love and happiness. These feelings of emotion occur through different ways of being nice, or showing kindness to our family. However, these feelings cannot be achieved if we commit the sin of Lashon Hara. When is the last time you gossiped, or talked badly about someone behind their back? Although we know gossiping is wrong and prohibited, we still continue to exhibit these horrible actions. Often times we don’t realize how mean we are to each other. It’s important for us to take a step back and think about how we are treating someone else. We need to stop letting Lashon Hara be a part of our daily lives.
Another factor of the laws pertaining to acts of kindness is treating other’s possessions with care. We often ask our siblings or friends to borrow clothes and other items that are important to them. We need to recognize that we must treat their possessions as we would our own. Just because it doesn’t belong to us, doesn’t mean we should be less responsible or careful to it. Furthermore, if something bad happens to the belongings we borrowed, it’s our responsibility to take fault in our actions. We must own up to our mistakes and repay them for the item. In addition, we must not steal the possessions they let us borrow. Our friends and siblings trust us with their belongings, thus we must return them. Also, we cannot take things without asking. Even if we are just wearing our sisters’ dress for several hours at a party, it is not fair to take it without permission.
Moreover, we should be kind and open new people. We should welcome them to our community and treat each other with respect. We must not close our selves off to cliques. Be your own person, be open minded, and don’t follow a crowd. So, this Shabbat remember to be kind to one another. We need to think before we talk, so we are not hurtful to each other. We are all a part of a family and we must be loving and kind.
Education Chair on the Religion and Education General Board 2014-15