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What the Number Three Teaches Us about Parenting Do’s and Don’ts

January 27, 2023 2:15 AM

Dear Reader,

“My children are constantly fighting,” laments Susan, a mother of three. “They bicker about the size of their dinner portions. They argue over whose turn it is to do a chore. They fight over who is smarter or friendlier. Will there ever be peace in my home?”


This week’s Torah reading, Yitro, records the momentous event of the Jewish people receiving the Torah.

“In thethird monthafter the exodus of the children ofIsraelfrom Egypt, they came to the desert of Sinai . . .and Israel encampedthere opposite the mountain.”(Ex. 19:1–2)

The Mechilta notes: Everywhere else it is written, “theytraveled . . .they encamped” in the plural, meaning with dissenting opinions. Here, however, it is written “and Israel encamped,” in the singular form, since all were equally of one heart.

Although it is natural for a multitude of people to have dissenting opinions, when the Jewish people arrived to receive the Torah they were “as one man, with one heart.”

The time in which this occurred—during the third month after the Exodus—helped create the condition for this exceptional harmony.

The Talmud notes the predominance of the number three: “A threefold Torah, to a threefold people, through a third-born, on a third day, in the third month.” (Shabbat 88a)

What is so special about the number three that the Torah, whose purpose is to bring peace and unity to mankind, was given in this month? And what psychological quality can we learn from this number in our efforts to foster greater harmony among our children?

The giving of the Torah in the third month teaches us that Torah values diversity and individuality.

“One” implies that there exists only a single reality and suggests absolute conformity. “Two” indicates divisiveness and disparity, as in two opposing, rival approaches. “Three” finds an underlying unity between disparate entities.

When two biblical passages contradict each other, the meaning can be determined by a third biblical text, which reconciles them both by finding their deeper, concealed harmony. On the surface, the two verses may seem to disagree. But the third verse resolves their disagreement, not by “taking sides” and agreeing with one verse over the other, but by showing that the two are actually in consonance. (Sifra, Intro).

The Torah wasn’t given in the first month.

The number “one” suggests exactness and conformity. While the Torah expects law and order, it still respects our individual natures and our creative expressions.

Conflict may arise between people when conformity is demanded. As a parent, do you hear yourself saying, “The rules in this house are that everyone must strictly follow this routine”? What happens when a child doesn’t comfortably fit into your neat box? What if a child isn’t able to follow a set regimen, a firm schedule, or an inflexible list of expectations?

Recognizing and validating a child’s uniqueness may curtail some of the strife among siblings.

The Torah wasn’t given in the second month of the year.

The number “two” is indicative of two rivaling opposites.

Conflict arises when people feel that they are being compared to, or “pitted” against, each other. As a parent, do you hear yourself saying: “Why can’t you be like your sister, whose room is always so neat?” or “Why doesn’t your brother ever need to be reminded to do his chores?”

One of your children may be particularly neat, while another might be highly creative. Contrasting the two is not only unfair; it can be destructive.

The Torah, whose purpose is peace, was given in the third month.

The message of “three” is the beauty of having a world full of endless possibilities, nuances, and talents coming together in the harmonious goal of creating greater goodness.

So, teach your child the power of three:

1) To appreciate himself for who he is—not by comparing himself to another, nor by judging himself against a rigid set of expectations.

2) To value the special qualities that she has, rather than see herself as lacking a specific quality.

3) To realize that working with others won’t diminish him, but will help him (and those around him) achieve a greater, common good.

Our mission as parents is to utilize the power of three—to uncover and actualize the special talents and contributions of all of our children.

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.

Mazal Tov! We Turn Seventeen This Week!

January 25, 2023 12:23 AM

Dear Reader,

Thirty-five years ago, shortly after the passing of his life partner and soulmate, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, and in her honor, the Rebbe asked that each of us celebrate our birthdays.

Why is a birthday celebrated?

The day you were born is the day that G‑d said, YOU are needed in My world; YOU are important to Me! Your talents and abilities are necessary to fix your specific corner of the world.

However, along with that, the Rebbe taught us to ponder: What have I accomplished by being here? Did the world change because of me? Did I have any impact on others? What more can I do?

TheJewishWoman.org was born 17 years ago, on the 22nd of Shevat in honor of the yahrtzeit of the Rebbetzin, who lived a life completely devoted to others. Though precious little is known about her due to her fervent desire not to have attention drawn to herself, her selfless dedication, sacrifice and love for the Jewish people is legendary.

TheJewishwoman.org has had an incredible 17 years of rapid growth as a website. But theJewishWoman.org is so much more than just a site. We are an all-inclusive community and online home for women, empowering women to find their unique voices through learning and education, inspiration and life experiences, and practical tips and advice.

On our birthday, it is our time to ask: What more can we do? How can we make a bigger impact?

On a Jewish birthday, it’s customary to get together with family and friends to celebrate. And so, we turn to you, our dear readers, and ask you to help us reach even more women.

Share with us what you like about TheJewishWoman.org and what you would like to see on our site. Have we made an impact on your life? How can we improve?

Do you use social media? Please visit us and like us on our Facebook page. Are you signed up to receive our free emails, full of interesting articles and inspiring lessons? Do you have friends or family members who would appreciate receiving our inspiration? Are you signed up to receive our Be a Leader weekly Study Packets. Please share all these things with your friends.

We invite you to celebrate our birthday with us. Help us become an even bigger and better home for every Jewish woman across the globe!

And, on this special day of the Rebbetzin’s yahrtzeit, as we celebrate the Rebbetzin’s life, and the life lessons and insight that she and the Rebbe granted us, perhaps there is a special resolution that you’d like to take on?

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW

P.S. We really do love to hear from you, so let us know how TheJewishWoman.org is a part of your life.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
Often we need a break from our daily routine. A pause from life to help us appreciate life.

A little pat on the back to let us know when we're on track. A word of encouragement to help us through those bleak moments and difficult days.

Sometimes, we just yearn for some friendship and camaraderie, someone to share our heart with. And sometimes we need a little direction from someone who's been there.

So, take a short pause from the busyness of your day and join Chana Weisberg for a cup of coffee.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of six books. Her latest book, Shabbat Delights, is a two-volume series on the weekly Torah portion.
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