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Inspired Parenting

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Lev Elchonon Presents:
Inspired Parenting
By Rabbi Moshe Weinberger
Aish Kodesh Institute, (2000)
Item # TS 018 - 10 audio cassettes

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - January 6, 2002

Inspired Parenting is a collection of lectures delivered by Rav Moshe Weinberger, a noted lecturer and scholar. This boxed set, which is contained in a sturdy collector's case, contains 10 audio cassettes. Nine of the cassettes are devoted to a series of lectures that Rav Weinberger gave over the summer of 2000 to a group of women seeking insights on how to obtain chizuk (strength) in the area of child rearing and education. The lectures where recorded live, and the sound quality is very good. This collection also contains a recording of a lecture that Rav Weinberger gave in Passaic, New Jersey to a group of parents, entitled Inspiring our Children, Inspiring Ourselves. This tape succinctly provides an overview of the nine-part Inspired Parenting series. It also serves to highlight the most salient points in regard to accruing chizuk. It also shows how we can excel at the job that HaShem has given to us, to inspire our children to excel - both intellectually and spiritually.

Rav Weinberger based the Inspired Parenting shiurim (classes) on a kuntres (treatise) written by Rav Silberberg. Throughout the course of these lectures, the entire 28 page kuntres is studied. Rav Weinberger conducted these lectures by reading the kuntres, line by line, in Hebrew (and occasionally in Yiddish). After each sentence or passage is read, he offers an English translation, taking special care to explain particularly difficult or ambiguous words. He than provides an in-depth analysis of each passage. And in turn, he offers real life examples that help to reinforce the ideas under discussion, and which serve to show how other people have handled similar situations. Throughout, these lectures are spiced with tales from the Torah and the Talmud, as well as with some Chassidic stories.

The topics covered in these lectures are extensive. Rav Weinberger covers how to raise and educate your children in order to bring out their best qualities, and how to infuse them with more yiddishkeit (Judaism). He offers advice on how to motivate and inspire your children, and points out that even the most difficult child has unlimited potential. To see this potential a parent has to learn not to look at a child as a child, but to look at him for what he might become. In essence, you should treat all children as if they "...are destined to a lofty status," and help guide them in that direction. He also touches on controversial issues as what happens when someone cannot have children. And he shows that they can still fulfill the mitzvah (commandment) of having children by teaching Torah, thereby increasing the amount of yiddishkeit in the world. He also explains the purpose of creation and why it is necessary to bring children into the world, and how everyone, parents, teachers, friends, etc. must unite in the effort to educate all Jewish children. Furthermore, he explains how, by bringing up our children in a G-dly manner, we are actually serving to bring more of HaShem's presence into the world, thereby continuing the work of the creation.

Rav Weinberger also considers the subject of how teachers should treat their students. Basically, teachers should treat students as if they were their own children and by extension, each home should be treated as if it was a school. He also offers advice on how parents can best deal with their child's school in order to insure the best education of each particular child. Rather than offering a methodology of education, Rav Weinberger advocates that the point is to have a healthy mind set in regard to rasing children rather than a strict format to follow. While these lectures are primarily geared toward parents, many of the topics discussed are addressed directly to teachers.

The lectures in Inspired Parenting also cover the mitzvot concerned with having and raising children, the importance of prayer and Torah study, and our relationship with HaShem. Rav Weinberger illustrates how, through our personal prayers and study, we can help our children, while also helping ourselves. He also delves into the special role assigned to women, and how the special strength that women have has a tremendous impact upon the intellectual and spiritual development of children, and the Jewish people on a whole. He particularly points out the power of a woman's prayers and how she can positively influence the course of a child's development.

Rav Weinberger in an inspirational teacher. Although these tapes are geared toward providing support in raising and educating children, the principles discussed during these shiurim apply to all aspects of life. And although these lectures are geared toward a frum (religious) audience, they are readily accessible to 'beginners'. In part this is due to Rav Weinberger's phenomenal teaching style and the care he takes to translate everything into English. It is also due to the essential nature of the message delivered during these lectures. A message which Rav Weinberger's aptly summarized with the statement, "The only way to raise inspired children is by becoming inspired parents." Another reason that these lectures are also accessible for beginners is that there is a certain degree a repetition in them. This is engendered, in part, by the fact that they were given over a period of time, and at each new lecture a brief overview was given of what went before. As well, there is a degree of repetition inherent in Rav Silberberg's kuntres. Combined, these repetitions serve to highlight the most important points under discussion, thereby insuring that you gain a full understanding of the overall thesis as well as more intricate aspects of the classes. Without doubt, these lectures will inspire you and make you a stronger parent. It will also inspire you to strive for higher level of yiddishkeit in your own life.

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