Meaningful discussions on the parasha are an excellent tool for challenging children to clarify their thoughts on a particular topic. When introducing a meaningful discussion based on Parashat Ha-Shavua, we create an opportunity to bring the weekly Torah portion into our everyday lives, spark curiosity, encourage critical thinking, and teach respectful discourse. 

Below, please find discussion topics for both younger and older children that may be utilized in the physical or virtual classroom, in a family or informal group setting, and more. For tips on how to host meaningful parasha discussions for younger children, click HERE. For tips on how to host meaningful parasha discussions for older children, click HERE.

 

DISCUSSIONS FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN

Parashat Vayikra - פרשת ויקרא

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Did you ever notice how a really good person doesn’t need to call attention to himself/herself but can be recognized by some of the quiet things they do? Do you know anyone like this? Can you describe him or her? 

The book of Vayikra begins with the words “And God called to Moses.” But you will notice that the Aleph at the end of the Hebrew word “Vayikra  is written small and the word reads more like “Vayikar.” Why would a letter be made small? “Vayikar” means that something happened just by chance. The midrash explains that this is an example of Moses’s humility. He did not want it to seem that God was calling only for him because he is more important than anyone. The small Aleph reminds us of Moses’s humility. Isn’t it amazing what you can learn from the size of a letter?!

 

DISCUSSIONS QUESTION #2

The first parshiot of Vayikra describe the details of the mishkan (Tabernacle) and the korbanot (sacrifices). Korbanot are hard to understand today – but simply put, they were a way that people would bring gifts to God. Sometimes, these gifts would be a way to say, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake,” or “thank you,” or for other reasons.  It was a way to feel closer to God.

Do you have to be rich to give a really good present? In Parashat Vayikra, we learn that all gifts were equal – whether you are rich or poor. A rich person would bring a cow as a gift and a poor person could bring a bird or even just fine flour. What’s most important is that a person gives it with sincerity.

Did you ever give a person a gift that was small, but you gave it with all your heart? Describe what it was and how you felt? How was the gift received?

Parashat Tzav - פרשת צו

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

If you were out playing and got yourself and your clothes really dirty, would it be important to change into different clothes to eat dinner? To go to school? To go to synagogue? Why? In this week’s parasha, we read that even the priests had different clothes for different tasks.

Look inside the text (Vayikra 6:3-4),

וְלָבַשׁ הַכֹּהֵן מִדּוֹ בַד וּמִכְנְסֵי בַד יִלְבַּשׁ עַל בְּשָׂרוֹ וְהֵרִים אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֲשֶׁר תֹּאכַל הָאֵשׁ אֶת הָעֹלָה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְשָׂמוֹ אֵצֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ:
וּפָשַׁט אֶת בְּגָדָיו וְלָבַשׁ בְּגָדִים אֲחֵרִים וְהוֹצִיא אֶת הַדֶּשֶׁן אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה אֶל מָקוֹם טָהוֹר

The priests had one set of clothes which they used when they performed the service of the sacrifices, but when they needed to take out the ashes they first changed their clothes. It would not be fitting to serve God in the same clothes as they make dirty as they remove the ashes and take them outside.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

Among the korbanot (sacrifices) in Parashat Tzav, we learn about the Korban Todah, the thanksgiving offering. This was a way people could say thank you to God for different important events in their life, for example, recovery from an illness, or arriving home safely after a difficult or dangerous trip. Nowadays, we still remember this korban (sacrifice) with a special prayer, called Birkat Ha’Gomel

In this manner, the Torah teaches us the importance of gratitude. Look around you and give a special thank you to someone. Think about what has happened recently that you would like to say thank you to God. How does saying “thank you” make you feel?

Look inside the text (Vayikra 7: 12)

אִם עַל תּוֹדָה יַקְרִיבֶנּוּ וְהִקְרִיב עַל זֶבַח הַתּוֹדָה חַלּוֹת מַצּוֹת בְּלוּלֹת בַּשֶּׁמֶן וּרְקִיקֵי מַצּוֹת מְשֻׁחִים בַּשָּׁמֶן וְסֹלֶת מֻרְבֶּכֶת חַלֹּת בְּלוּלֹת בַּשָּׁמֶן

If he offers it for thanksgiving, he shall offer together with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes with oil mixed in, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of choice flour with oil mixed in, well soaked.

Parashat Shmini - פרשת שמיני

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Is it always OK to be spontaneous, or are there times when you have to be sure to obey the rules and laws? If you see a sign, “danger, don’t cross or enter”, but you’re very curious, can you ignore the sign?

In Parshat Shmini, the inauguration of the Tabernacle, a day which the nation had anticipated with great excitement turned to tragedy.

Look inside the text (Vayikra 10:2),

 וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה אֵשׁ זָרָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא צִוָּה אֹתָם:
 וַתֵּצֵא אֵשׁ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָֹה וַתֹּאכַל אוֹתָם וַיָּמֻתוּ לִפְנֵי יְהוָֹה

Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s sons were punished severely because they do something which God had not commanded. As priests, they had to be exacting in their performance of all their duties before the nation. There were very specific laws and procedures for service in the Tabernacle and to disobey it would be dangerous.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

In Parashat Shmini, we learn about which animals, fish, and birds are kosher. After the rules are started, the next verse explains that we are commanded to eat kosher food to be holy because God is holy.

How can eating become holy? Doesn’t everyone just have to eat?

Look inside the text (Vayikra 11:45)

כִּי אֲנִי יְהֹוָה הַמַּעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִהְיִיתֶם קְדשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי

For I the Lord am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy.

Parashat Tazria - פרשת תזריע

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

This parasha teaches us about a malady called “tzaraat”. The Rabbis explain that this was a punishment for speaking badly about another person and spreading rumors. The Rabbis teach that harmful speech would hurt three people – the person saying it, the person being gossiped about, and the person who listened to the story. How can you be hurt just listening to someone saying bad things about another? What can you do if someone starts speaking badly about another?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

In Parashat Tazria, we learn about an unusual sickness called tzara’at. If someone was afflicted with this disease, they didn’t go to the doctor and get medicine to help them feel better – instead, they went to the kohen (priest)  who would diagnose them and instruct the sick person to leave their home, and live outside the camp or the city for a week. The rabbis explained that this was not a regular kind of sickness, but a punishment for lashon hara  – speaking badly about others and hurting them or gossiping about them. This disease worked as a sort of “time out” – a person who was mean to others did not deserve to be together with others but was sent away to think about what he did and how to be a better person.

Have you ever been hurt by something mean someone said about you? Were they punished? Did you ever have a “time out”? How did you feel about it? 

Look inside the text (Vayikra 13: 2-3)

אָדָ֗ם כִּי יִהְיֶה בְעוֹר בְּשָׂרוֹ שְׂאֵת אוֹ סַפַּחַת אוֹ בַהֶרֶת וְהָיָה בְעוֹר בְּשָׂרוֹ לְנֶגַע צָרָעַת וְהוּבָא אֶל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אוֹ אֶל אַחַד מִבָּנָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים׃

When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling, a rash, or a discoloration, and it develops into a scaly affection on the skin of his body, it shall be reported to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons, the priests.

וְרָאָה הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַנֶּגַע בְּעוֹר הַבָּשָׂר וְשֵׂעָר בַּנֶּגַע הָפַךְ לָבָן וּמַרְאֵה הַנֶּגַע עָמֹק מֵעוֹר בְּשָׂרוֹ נֶגַע צָרַעַת הוּא וְרָאָהוּ הַכֹּהֵן וְטִמֵּא אֹתוֹ׃

The priest shall examine the affection on the skin of his body: if the hair in the affected patch has turned white and the affection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is tzara’at; when the priest sees it, he shall pronounce him unclean.

Parashat Metzora - פרשת מצורע

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

In Parashat Metzora, we continue reading about the disease of tzara’at and about what a person needed to do to be able to return home. There was a special korban (sacrifice) he had to bring and things he needed to do, and the kohen (priest) would check that he was really ready to return.

When a person hurts another by the things they say what do you think they can do to make amends and show they will not do it again?

Look inside the text (Vayikra 14:2)

זֹאת תִּהְיֶה תּוֹרַת המְּצֹרָע בְּיוֹם טָהרָתוֹ וְהוּבָא אֶל הַכֹּהֵן׃

This shall be the ritual for a person with tzara’at at the time that he is to be cleansed. When it has been reported to the priest.

 

Parashat Aharei Mot - פרשת אחרי מת

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Does being in a bad environment influence you in a bad way? For example, if you are in a class with a substitute teacher and many of the students are shouting and throwing things and it’s chaotic -are you tempted to join? 

When the Jewish people lived in Egypt they lived in a society where slavery was a way of life. When they came to the land of Canaan, idol worship and violence were a way of life. There was a danger that this would influence the type of society they would build. In this parasha, we are commanded not to learn from their behavior, and be loyal to the Torah.

Look inside the text: (Vayikra 18: 3,4)

 כְּמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁבְתֶּם בָּהּ לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ וּכְמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ וּבְחֻקֹּתֵיהֶם לֹא תֵלֵכוּ:
 אֶת מִשְׁפָּטַי תַּעֲשׂוּ וְאֶת חֻקֹּתַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ לָלֶכֶת בָּהֶם אֲנִי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

You should not copy the practices of the land of Egypt where you dwelt, or of the land of Canaan to which I am taking you; nor should you follow their laws. My rules alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow My laws: I am your God.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

In Parashat Aharei Mot we read about the unique service in the mishkan (Tabernacle) and later in the Temple, and the laws of Yom Kippur. During the year, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) would wear a magnificent uniform with a blue (tchelet) and gold. Yom Kippur was the only time he was permitted to enter the Kodesh Ha’Kedoshim (Holy of Holies), the holy place where the Aron Kodesh (Ark of the Covenant) was kept. Before entering he had to go to purify himself and change his clothes to plain white garments (This was done five times!)

Although the Temple was destroyed, we have many customs on Yom Kippur to remind us of the service then. We read about it in the Torah reading and also in the prayers of Yom Kippur and it’s a custom to wear white on Yom Kippur. How do these customs help us get into the spirit of Yom Kippur? How do you feel when you look around the synagogue on Yom Kippur?

Parashat Kedoshim - פרשת קדושים

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Parashat Kedoshim is filled with many mitzvot bein adam l’chaveiro (between man and his fellow), among them, we read:

ואהבת לרעיך כמוך – You should love your fellow man as you love yourself  (Vayikra 19:18).

Can you really love another person as much as you love yourself? In the Talmud, Rabbi Akiva writes that this is a fundamental principle of Judaism. Hillel explained,  ”Don’t do something which is hateful to you to another person.” Nachmonides explains that it’s impossible to love another person as oneself, but the intention is to be happy for another person’s success and wish them all the good things you would want.

 

 

Parashat Emor - פרשת אמור

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Emor is the parasha about the holidays. But at the end of the description of the holiday of Shavuot, we read a law not connected to the holidays. Shavuot is a harvest holiday and a time for special family meals and celebrations. The Torah uses this opportunity to remind farmers that when they harvest their field they must leave crops for the poor to collect -the corners of their field and anything which drops to the ground.  When someone has a lot of food and is enjoying it do you think it’s easier or harder to remember to share with those less fortunate?

Look inside the text (Vayikra 23:22)

וּֽבְקֻצְרְכֶם אֶת קְצִיר אַרְצְכֶם לֹא תְכַלֶּה פְּאַת שָֽׂדְךָ בְּקֻצְרֶךָ וְלֶקֶט קְצִירְךָ לֹא תְלַקֵּט לֶעָנִ֤י וְלַגֵּר תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָם אֲנִי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you should leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am your God.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

In Parashat Emor, we read a review of the holidays. The list begins with Shabbat and continues with Passover. Then there is a description of the omer offering (the first barley harvest) and the verse we read before counting the omer every night between Passover and Shavuot. Can you think of an event for which you actively count the days until it happens? (your birthday? A special vacation? The end of school?) How does counting days help? How does it make you feel?

Look inside the text (Vayikra 23:15), 

  וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה

And from the day on which you bring the omer offering—the day after Shabbat—you should count off seven weeks. They must be complete.

We are commanded to count the seven weeks and days between Passover and Shavuot. This is unlike any other mitzvah we have – to count days and weeks with a blessing! Some explain that this is an expression of our excitement to receive the Torah.

Parashat Behar - פרשת בהר

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Parashat Behar teaches the laws of Shmitah. On the seventh year, the land is given Shabbat – a rest! The farmer is not supposed to work his land and anything that grows is free for anyone to use. Why should the last get a rest on the seventh year – it’s not like a person who works hard and needs Shabbat to rest? Doesn’t the land belong to the farmer to do with it whatever he wants? The rabbis explain that one of the important lessons of Shmitah is respect for the land and also the fact that the land belongs to God and the farmer uses the land and should recognize that the land (and everything) is a blessing from God.

Look inside the text (Vayikra 25:2-4),

דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂראֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלהֶם כִּי תָבֹאוּ אל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם וְשָׁבְתָה הָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַה’׃ 

שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים תִּזְרַע שָׂדֶךָ וְשֵׁשׁ שָׁנִ֖ים תִּזְמֹר כַּרְמֶךָ וְאָסַפְתָּ אֶת תְּבוּאָתָהּ׃ 

וּבַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן יִהְיֶה לָאָרֶץ שַׁבָּת לַה’ שָֽׂדְךָ לֹא תִזְרָע וְכַרְמְךָ לֹא תִזְמֹר׃

Speak to the Israelite people and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a Shabbat to God.

Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield.

But in the seventh year, the land shall have a Shabbat of complete rest, a Shabbat of God: you should not sow your field or prune your vineyard.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

In Parashat Behar, we have a source for the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity). It is interesting to note that a poor person is described as  ”your brother” and the mitzvah is to help him be able to live with you. Maimonides describes 10 different ways of giving tzedakah, and the best is to help someone be able to “stand on their own feet” and not need tzedakah.  

What are some ways to give tzedakah in your community? What do you think is a good way of giving tzedakah?

(Look inside the text, Vayikra 25:35)

 וְכִי יָמוּךְ אָחִיךָ וּמָטָה יָדוֹ עִמָּךְ וְהֶחֱזַקְתָּ בּוֹ גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב וָחַי עִמָּךְ

If your brother, being in trouble, reach out to help him, and if he comes to stay by you even though he is not a citizen, let him live by your side:

Parashat Behukotai - פרשת בחוקותי

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

In Parashat Behukotai, we read about the rewards and punishments for keeping the mitzvot. About ten verses describe the rewards, and thirty describe the punishments which are called the tochacha, “rebuke.” When this section is read in the synagogue it is often read quickly in a quiet voice – as if we don’t want to really hear about the punishments and want it over as quickly as possible.

Does knowing about a punishment help people do the right thing?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

Parashat Behukotai discusses the rewards for obeying and then the punishments for disobeying.  Do you think that the possibility of a reward encourages you to do the right thing? Does the possibility of punishment stop you from doing the wrong thing? Maybe you should do the right thing because you believe in it and not because of a possible reward or punishment? What do you think? Can you think of specific examples when the promise of a reward helped you, or the promise of a punishment stopped you?

DISCUSSIONS FOR OLDER CHILDREN

Parashat Vayikra - פרשת ויקרא

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

This parasha is all about korbanot, sacrificial offerings to God. The word korban is often translated as “sacrifice,” which means something very different from the word korban itself which implies something to bring us closer to God. Do you think that God wants us to give things up in order to get closer to Him? Do you think that for us to feel closer to God we need to give something up?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

There are special offerings we are obligated to bring when we sin even without being aware that our actions were forbidden. Why should we be accountable for things that we do not know or are not aware of? How about in interpersonal relationships – should we feel guilty about hurting someone unintentionally? Should we feel slighted when someone says something innocent that happens to hurt us?

Parashat Tzav - פרשת צו

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Much of this parasha describes the same things that are already mentioned in the previous one, with the main difference being that Vayikra focuses on the sacrifices from the perspective of the people while Tzav presents the perspective of what the kohanim need to know. The question of the need to know is an important one in matters of security but raises important issues in other areas of life. Should the internal ethics governing the medical community be shared with the masses? What should parents hide from their children or their aging parents? What kind of culture do we create when some people in the same organization know more than others?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

The Torah provides an incredibly detailed description of how Moses dresses Aaron and prepares him for his role. It feels a little like a slow-motion scene of dressing a bride before her wedding. What is it about details that make such a difference in our experience? How does it make you feel when you know that someone invested a lot of thought in the small things? How do we know when we are focusing too much on the small things and not enough on the big things?

Parashat Shmini - פרשת שמיני

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

While the Torah does not advocate vegetarianism, the laws of kashrut suggest a preference for non-predatory animals, that is, animals that prey on others are forbidden to eat. What responsibility do humans have for the animal kingdom? If humans are supposed to avoid eating predators, why is it appropriate for humans themselves to be predators? Does Judaism condone hunting for sport?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

Given his position as Kohen Gadol (High Priest), Aaron was denied the opportunity to manifest the mourning for his sons, and the Rabbis commend him for his silent strength through the ordeal. How much of their private lives are public figures expected to sacrifice for the benefit of their constituents? Is the public standing of a leader enhanced or diminished in displaying human emotion or weakness?

Parashat Tazria - פרשת תזריע

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

The Torah is famous for its democratization of knowledge. All knowledge is available to anyone who seeks it. Good translations make all classical Jewish texts available to all. Tazria describes the intricate details of diagnosing tzar’aat, even though it is likely that few people ever really understood those details. Is it sometimes better to know less, or is it always better to have all of the information ever produced accessible at our fingertips? Is some information too dangerous, either for our physical or our spiritual well-being, to be accessible to all? For example, the Talmud tells the story of four great Torah scholars who entered the “pardes” of Jewish learning, only one of whom emerged unscathed.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

Tzara’at is a spiritual disease that has physical manifestations. One of the interesting features of tzara’at is that even with clear signs of tzara’at, the person  (or the house)  is not considered “infected” until he or she is declared impure by the kohen, so much so that the kohen tells the afflicted person to clear the house before he pronounces the decision of pure/impure lest the person’s property is declared impure when the declaration is made. Imagine someone who has violated the norms of their society – a child molester, someone who seduced someone else’s spouse, someone who put friend’s money in bad investments to make himself lots of money – so much so that they need to be shunned, banned, excommunicated, or jailed. How are we to treat the people surrounding them – their parents, spouses, children, siblings? Can we, should we, separate between them and those in their close orbit, or does that minimize the power of the social exclusion?

Parashat Metzora - פרשת מצורע

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

When a house was afflicted with tzara’at, it had to go through various stages of purification, including removing the affected stones to dismantling the entire house. According to one midrash, God afflicted some of the houses in the Land of Israel with tzara’at so that the Israelites would dismantle them they would discover a treasure hidden there by the previous residents. What seemed like a terrible punishment turned out to be a gift from God. Have you ever had a bad thing happen to you that you later realize turned out to be an amazing opportunity? How do we turn every negative consequence – both for ourselves and for others – into an opportunity for meaningful growth?

Parashat Aharei Mot - פרשת אחרי מות

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

The Torah details a series of forbidden sexual or marital relationships. Some of those are currently accepted as alternatives in contemporary society. How do we navigate the tension between the Torah’s instructions forbidding certain things and a contemporary culture which protects the right to do those very things? Are there limits to the kinds f things we tolerate and protect and those which we declare to be completely unacceptable? If yes, what criteria do we use to draw those limits?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

The Torah hints that there are things that are more forbidden in the Promised Land than in other places and that the consequences for violating them in the Promised Land are more serious than the consequences for violating them in other places. What makes a place sacred? Why is it that there are behaviors (like walking around in a bathing suit or speaking loudly) which are considered acceptable in certain places and not in others? How do we deal with situations in which different people have varying understandings about what it means for a place to be sacred (like a Holocaust museum, a concert theater, the president’s house, or a synagogue) and what kinds of behaviors are acceptable in each?

Parashat Kedoshim - פרשת קדושים

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

The Torah often emphasizes that we need to be nice to strangers because we were strangers in Egypt. If we recall correctly, our experience in Egypt was not exactly one of great hospitality and warm feelings. Are we supposed to turn a blind eye to the bad in order to find some redeeming quality in everything? What are the downsides of turning a blind eye to the evil that others do? What kind of people do we become if we remember only the bad in others? What do we become if we remember only the good in others?

Parashat Emor - פרשת אמור

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

Kohanim (priests) live with an extra set of restrictions, specifically regarding their encounter with death and who they may marry. This sets them apart from the rest of the people. Should we expect a higher standard of practice from our leaders? Does being a role model generate greater responsibility, or is that unfair? Do higher expectations make our leaders more or less accessible, more or less available as role models?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

Every culture has holidays. Those are special days for celebration and rejoicing. When the Torah speaks of holidays, it inserts into each of them some obligations – both obligations to God and obligations to other humans. What message does the presence of these obligations send? How do obligations transform us as people?

Parashat Behar - פרשת בהר

DISCUSSION QUESTION #1

The Torah establishes standard “valuation” for people, depending on gender and age. When everyone is treated the same does that increase or decrease our individual sense of value? Does that increase or decrease our motivation to contribute to society and move forward? What are the benefits and drawbacks of competition?

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION #2

There is a distinction between real estate deals in cities and those in farm countries. If someone sells a house in a city they have one year to “redeem” it back, and if they do not then the sale is permanent. By contrast, in farm country, they have until the Yovel (Jubilee) year to redeem it, and if they are unsuccessful then it reverts back to the original owner automatically. In what ways are the connections between the people and the land different for farm people and city people?  How does living in a city affect us differently?

Parashat Behukotai - פרשת בחוקתי

A significant part of this parasha focuses on Divine punishments for Israel’s wrongdoing. Do punishments have a positive side? How can we distinguish between a constructive punishment and a destructive one? Is there a difference between punishment on the scale of a family and those imposed by a broader society?