Dear Parents: We had a busy day on Sunday this week! We began with the 15 minutes of prayer as a whole school. The kids are learning Ma Tovu and the Sh'ma. Perhaps we can go over it in class also, because they will really enjoy knowing those prayers better and better, to sing together. We then started the next three "parsha's" (portions) from the Torah, in our year-long Torah project. This included a LOT of action, from the parsha's called Vayeira, Chayei Sarah, and Toldot. In a "journalistic" way, we used a grid that shows the people, events, places and numbers (Judaism loves numbers!) in these Torah portions. We also talked about stories and themes that are interesting in this 3-parsha storyline. The highlights include Isaac's birth and the test Abraham goes through from Gd about (not) sacrificing Isaac; Abraham "arguing" with Gd to try to save Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 50 and then down to even 10 good people; Lot's wife "looks back" and turns to salt; Eliezer finds Rebecca as a wife for Isaac; the birth and early lives of Esau and Jacob, including the birthright and Isaac's final blessing - which ends with the "younger" twin Isaac getting the birthright and blessing, but running away due to Esau's anger. That's a lot! The students started to express some of these stories and themes and we'll continue with that next week so they can complete them. We also play some interactive games and we may continue to explore some questions that were behind the portions today: 1. Who Gets Chosen? (HInt: everyone has their path.) 2. Why Did Sarah Laugh? (Hint: what do we do when we're told we will get something good we never expected to happen for us?) 3. Why did Lot's Wife Look Back (Hint: We need to move on from bad things probably.) 4. Why Did Abraham Argue with Gd for Sodom and Gomorrah? (Hint: We all count in making a good world, even 1 person, or at least 10.) 5. Who is Rebecca? (Hint: she passed Eliezer's test in caring for the camels, and she also preferred and made it so that Isaac selected Jacob over Esau for the future of the Jewish people.)
We also talked about "Mind" (Jacob) and "Heart" (Esau). As a family at home, you might ask the students: what do you think about how we need to use both and how each one might help the other?
We're looking forward to next week, to continue the discussion and some new ways to work on learning!
~ Shirah H