Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Haftorah Beam - VaEra

The Haftorah reading for this parsha echoes the theme of punishment meted out to the Egyptians.  Lost in the gory details of punishment, however, is the underlying purpose:
25 Thus said the Lord God: When I have gathered the House of Israel from the peoples among which they have been dispersed, and have shown Myself holy through them in the sight of the nations, they shall settle on their own soil, which I gave to My servant Jacob, 26 and they shall dwell on it in security. They shall build houses and plant vineyards, and shall dwell on it in security, when I have meted out punishment to all those about them who despise them. And they shall know that I the Lord am their God.
The purpose of the punishment is to create security for the Jewish people to:

  1. gather in Israel to settle on their own soil;
  2. build houses;
  3. plant vineyards;
  4. know G*d.
The phrase "and [they] shall dwell on it in security" is repeated twice.  It is not enough to come to the Promised Land -- one must feel secure enough to build permanent homes, as well as do the long-range planning of agriculture.  Why vineyards?  There are two reasons.  First, we are told that the ultimate goal is to "know G*d" -- the vineyards are for the purpose of making the sacramental wine.  Beyond that, however, is the level of both security and comfort which must be achieved for people to afford the luxury of wine.  It is a non-essential food item, so the basics must already be covered.  But also, one must be pretty secure to permit oneself to be intoxicated, lest one's enemies take advantage of the compromised revelers.

This blog talks about adoption and special needs from a Jewish perspective.  I recently read a guest post on an adoption blog by an adult who was adopted at age 16.  She writes:
As a parent, you must provide a safe place for all of your children. This is your primary responsibility. This comes before making them productive citizens, helping them to adjust to your expectations, or feeling the same way about them that you feel about other children.
Before addressing the issues of productivity, expectations, and emotions, it is our job to provide our children with safety.  Without the battles with "Pharaoh", we will not be able to create the space for our children to "dwell in security".

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