July 24, 2003
For the Kids
Promises Made, Promises Broken
Have you ever broken a promise? You promised to call your Mom when you got to your friend's house, but you forgot. You promised your friend that you would give her some of your lunch, but you ended up eating it all at lunchtime. In Parshat Matot, we are told that one must keep the promise one has made.
But what if you make a promise that you can't keep? Well, in this parsha there is also a section that says: if you take a vow (make a promise) that is too difficult to fulfill, you may go ask permission from the rabbis to break it. So take care to do the things you have promised to do. But be careful about making those big promises that you know you won't be able to keep.
Jerusalem by Moonlight
Here is a beautiful description of a walk through the Jerusalem night, by Aaron Goss, 13. He lives in Farmington Hills, Mich.
It was 2 a.m., walking home with my large family after our seder. We walked along the narrow sidewalk in groups of twos and threes. We passed many apartment buildings, built of cream-colored Jerusalem stone. The older stones had orange-and-brown stains.
I tried to keep up with my 6-year-old cousin, Bene, who was riding a silver-and-blue Razor scooter. The streetlights made it sparkle. Every so often, I reached out and grabbed the foam handles of the scooter to give Bene a push. With each push he let out a hearty laugh.
The cool air brushed against me as I ran. The street lights created a road of light toward our home. We could see shadowy figures moving in every direction and the darkness kept everyone's image a secret. We would not recognize each other if we met the next day. And yet, I felt a bond with them, knowing that they, like me, were returning from a late-night seder.
I knew we were almost at the hotel when I saw the bridge my uncle's company had built. Finally, in my bed, I fell fast asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was a great night and a great memory that I will carry with me always.