Parashah for Preschoolers

Torah tips for ages three to five.

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Theme 2: Helping

In its stories and laws, the Torah contains many examples of how to help others.
preschool tips
For instance, in Genesis 24, in Parashat Haye Sarah, we read about Abraham's servant, who is sent to find a wife for Abraham's son, Isaac. The servant goes to a well, where people come to get water. Along comes Rebekah who gives water first to the servant, and then to his camels.

This is a wonderful story about sharing and helping. Parents can discuss with children ways they can help others--especially those who cannot help themselves like the camels.

This theme of helping continues throughout the Torah. In Exodus 35, in Parashat Vayakhel, Moses commands everyone to help build the Tabernacle--the portable Temple in the wilderness. The long sections detailing how to build the Tabernacle can provide opportunities for kids to discuss their own homes, all the people who helped build them, and the ways that they can maintain their homes by helping with chores.

Theme 3: Making Mistakes

Like many classic fairytales, the Torah tells troubling stories about imperfect heroes and heroines. Take the story of the golden calf, for example, in Exodus 32, in Parashat Ki Tissa. Children may not necessarily connect to the sin itself, but they can likely identify with the emotions behind it.

In discussing the way that the Israelites made a mistake, some possible questions to think about include:

·    How do you think the people felt when Moses was late coming down the mountain?

·    Has anyone ever been late to pick you up? How did you feel?

·    How did Moses feel when he saw the people dancing around the calf? How did he show his anger? What do you do when you’re angry? Do you ever throw things? 
Needless to say, the people in the Torah make mistake after mistake and continue to have a hard time doing "good listening." See, for example, in Numbers 11, in Parashat B’ha’alotekha, when the people complain about the manna in the desert instead of saying thank you for their food. 

In many ways, the children of Israel wandering in the desert have much in common with all young children, who are just starting to learn right from wrong.

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Sarah Gershman

Sarah Gershman is a Teaching Fellow at the Partnership for Jewish Living and Learning in Rockville, MD. Sarah is the president of Green Room Speakers.