Growth through Discomfort: This Week's Conversation Starter from Values and Ethics
This week's Torah portion, Yayeilech, finds Moses near the end of his life, old and frail. This does not stop him from making the most of his days, using his time to speak to his people and impart final words of guidance and wisdom. It isn't easy for him but he feel urgency to share his message. Despite his discomfort, he sees a challenging situation as a valuable growth opportunity.
This insight from the weekly reading is included in the Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today, which discusses thoughtfully (and briefly) each of the 54 Torah portions and then pairs it with two or three specific values to be learned from the text, such as compassion, courage, gratitude, and patience.
For example, this week's story of Moses is paired with a discussion about setting goals and the effort it takes to accomplish them. Contributing author Rabbi Moshe Becker writes that "Society has conditioned us to identify happiness with extreme comfort and the satisfactio of our material desires. There's more to life than comfort. We must be willing to put ourselves out there when someone needs help and when confronting those whom we upset or who upset us. Challenges give us the opportunity to flex our 'muscles' and take another step toward becoming the person we want to be."
Questions titled "Making Connections" include:
- What makes you happy?
- Do you have role models who have pushed themselves through difficult situations?
- How does accomplishing your goal feel after working hard?
Each parasha also has simple hands-on activities to enhance the learning. Values & Ethics can be used in a number of ways. Bar and bat mitzvah students can find deeper understanding of their Torah portion. Educators can search through the index to find a certain value they’d like to discuss through a Jewish perspective. Use it in the classroom or at home to encourage discussion.
Click on the image to download this week's parashah, Vayeilech.
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