Attitude Shows What Is Happening Inside

Metzora: A resource for families.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Attitude is crucial to living well. For both children and adults, the attitude we have has a lot to do with how one we experience our life as well as how we experience one another. For example, how we approach our required tasks each day signifies a great deal about how we live our lives. If we approach them with dread and resentment as opposed to acceptance and relative good cheer, we communicate negatively to our children about how to get through life and its obligations. To teach our children well about tasks and responsibility means living well ourselves.

Our parashah this week is about leprosy. Some commentators see leprosy as a result of spiritual illness--it is an external growth that signifies what is amiss inside. It is kind of a “Picture of Dorian Gray” phenomenon--what you look like reflects who you are.

thumbs upToday, people don’t really suffer from leprosy. Nor do people in our culture generally believe that our appearances are afflicted when we suffer from spiritual illness. But perhaps attitude, as opposed to our appearance, is the external signifier of what's happening inside. Reflecting on our approach to life and our daily attitude is one way to begin exploring the state of our spiritual health.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS:

About the way their attitude affects how they approach their life.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:

·    What are the things you have to do every day?
·    Make a list of which things you like most, which least, and why.
·    How would you describe your attitude towards the things you have to do?
·    What can you do in your daily life to make the tasks that you like least more enjoyable?

© Copyright 2011 Joyce and Fred Claar

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.