Each year when this parasha roles around I discuss jealousy with my girls. I wish the lesson were more effective, as they struggle with jealousy a great deal.
Riddle: How do you make a child with a lollipop sad?
Answer: Give their sibling two lollipops.
A big component of jealousy is not valuing yourself and what you have. In theory my kids understand this. Gabi remarked, "Korach was very poor."
"No, actually he was very wealthy," my husband corrected her.
"No, but he wasn't rich, because umm- eze hu ashir..." Gabi clarified. She was citing the mishna in Perkei Avot which states, "Who is a rich man? He who is happy with his lot."
Our method for fighting jealousy is building self-worth, complimenting their talents and deeds. This week there was a talent show at school. This led to discussions on what is a talent and how can they be shown off. I thought this week's project should reflect them and their talents. And then I looked and saw that is what we did last year. But neither the girls, nor I remember it (it was approaching the end of our time in Australia and that period is blurry.). The girls said, "We should make candied almonds!" Which is what we did two years ago. Along with these challot.
In the end we improved on last year's project and made candied almonds.
After numerous discussions about our strengths, talents, gifts, personalities, etc., I had the (big) girls sit with pen and paper. They each had to write at least 5 things about themselves and 3 about their other sisters (we actually left Tova out. Next year, Baby.) I wrote a few for each of them as well. And then I typed up their lists (in different fonts and colors) and printed photos of the girls. I mounted their photos on cardstock the size of the picture frames while they cut out their talent lists. Ruti cut her own with great assistance from me.
And then they glued the words around their photos. Glue sticks would have been easier. I put glue on Ruti's and she stuck them down.
I think the results this year were more meaningful and better keepsakes. Hopefully with them hanging on the wall, a physical reminder of individual self-worth, we can work to better combat jealous.
And if all else fails, I will enjoy the candied almonds!
May the holiness of this coming Shabbat bring back our boys!