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, click HERE for younger children and HERE for older children.

Parasha Discussions for Younger Children
(By Barbara Freedman)
Check out our tips for meaningful parasha discussions here.

Sefer Bereshit – ספר בראשית

Parashat Bereshit - פרשת בראשית

Can you resist temptation? In this week’s parasha, the snake tempts Eve with his words, but she is also tempted because the fruit on the forbidden tree looks good. Eve then takes some and gives some to Adam. Has someone ever tried to tempt you to do something that you knew was wrong? What kind of strategies did they use to try to convince you? When is it hard to avoid temptation? When is it easy?

Look inside the text (Bereshit 3:1) – The snake tempts Eve to eat from the forbidden tree by saying, 

אַ֚ף כִּֽי־אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֔ים לֹ֣א תֹֽאכְל֔וּ מִכֹּ֖ל עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן
“Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” 

PARASHAT NOACH - פרשת נח

Should you defend someone who did the wrong thing? In this week’s parasha, God tells Noah that He is about to destroy the world and tells him how to build an ark to save himself, his family, and some of the animals. Chazal (The Rabbis from the time of the Talmud) criticize Noah for not trying to ask God for mercy for the people (as Abraham does for Sodom when God tells him about their destruction and Moses does for the Jewish people). Do you think it’s important to defend someone, or ask for mercy when they have done something wrong? If they “did the crime” shouldn’t they “pay the time”?

Look inside the text (Bereshit 6:13-14) – God tells Noah of the plan to destroy the world by saying, 

וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֜ים לְנֹ֗חַ קֵ֤ץ כָּל־בָּשָׂר֙ בָּ֣א לְפָנַ֔י כִּֽי־מָלְאָ֥ה הָאָ֛רֶץ חָמָ֖ס מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם וְהִנְנִ֥י מַשְׁחִיתָ֖ם אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ….עֲשֵׂ֤ה לְךָ֙ תֵּבַ֣ת עֲצֵי־גֹ֔פֶר
God said to Noah, “I have decided to put an end to all flesh, for the earth is filled with lawlessness because of them: I am about to destroy them with the earth…Make yourself an ark of gopher wood

 


Parasha
Discussions for Older Children

Check out our tips for meaningful parasha discussions here.

Sefer Bereshit – ספר בראשית

Parashat Bereshit - פרשת בראשית

When Shet (the third son of Adam & Eve) is born, his name is explained that he is the replacement for Hevel, whom Kayyin had killed. When a parent names a child after someone else (usually deceased, in the Ashkenazic tradition, or alive, in the Sefardic tradition) does it place an unfair burden on the child or is it a gift of a legacy?

Parashat Noach - פרשת נח

Noah decrees that his grandson, Canaan, is to be a servant to his brothers. Does that suggest that, for all eternity, Canaan’s descendants are destined to slavery? Can such a “decree” be undone? Can it be that our fate is predetermined by the actions of our ancestors?