Reconciliation & Forgiveness

Even Isaac and Ishmael were able to set aside their distance and differences to focus on what united them.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Obviously, people are not all the same. We feel differently about how neat to keep our rooms, what we eat, and the activities we like. It's easy to dwell on the differences, but there are many core similarities that we share, and we need to focus on them.

Isaac and Ishmael were Abraham's two sons. They were half-brothers from different mothers and very different in age, temperament, experiences, mannerisms, and character. Yet this week's Torah portion, Haye Sarah, emphasizes that when the time came to bury and mourn for their father Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael did so together. Even Isaac and Ishmael were able to set aside their distance and differences to focus on what united them.

Can we set aside our differences for the common good? Not everyone can or should be the same, and we often feel that another person is very wrong. But we all have much in common. While we must be realistic about acknowledging our differences, we need to focus on what unites us, such as family, values, community, and interests, and seek ways in which we can work together in harmony.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS about respecting differences in family members.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

· Give an example of an insignificant difference between you and another family member.

· Give an example of a major difference between you and another family member.

· What do you have in common with that person and how can you work together?

· Why is this important?

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Rabbi Moshe Becker is a co-founder of the Jewish Renaissance Experience, an innovative Jewish education and outreach program in Westchester County, NY. He has done advanced research in Jewish Law, philosophy and history at The Jerusalem Kollel and with the Hashkafa Circle and has lectured and written extensively on these topics.