Welcome to the very first edition of the J's Family Corner! We will use this space to offer interactive and thoughtful ideas for family engagement with the Parshat Hashavua (weekly Torah reading). Each week we will offer a summary of the weekly portion as well as videos, crafts, a brief thought, a book recommendation from PJ Library and more. We hope you enjoy!
Parsha Summary – Parshat Chayei Sara
- Abraham purchases the cave of Machpelah in order to bury his wife Sarah. (23:1-20)
- Abraham sends his servant to find a bride for Isaac. (24:1-9)
- Rebekah shows her kindness by offering to draw water for the servant's camels at the well. (24:15-20)
- The servant meets Rebekah's family and then takes Rebekah to Isaac, who marries her. (24:23-67)
- Abraham takes another wife, named Keturah. At the age of one hundred and seventy-five years, Abraham dies, and Isaac and Ishmael bury him in the cave of Machpelah. (25:1-11)
A Torah Thought for the Week
וְאַבְרָהָ֣ם זָקֵ֔ן בָּ֖א בַּיָּמִ֑ים
ֹֽAbraham was now old, advanced in years... (Gen. 24:1)
This verse can also be translated to mean that “Abraham came to his old age with all his days.” Perhaps this means that looking back on Abraham’s life, we can conclude that there was never a wasted day. Use this idea to talk to your kids about what it means to “have a good day” or to “lead a good life”. I once read that a day that goes by without doing an act of kindness for someone else cannot be counted as a day of one’s life. Ask your children what other actions / activities are so important that we want to do them every day.
Honoring the Deceased
One of the themes of this week’s Torah portion is honoring the deceased. We read about the death of Sarah and Abraham's purchase of a burial plot for her. Here is a link to a gentle and sensitive video about Jewish morning rituals. Parents may want to watch it before sharing it with children.
We welcome and thank Hilary Kamin from PJ Library for book recommendations! This week, related to the theme of kindness, our book recommendation is The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc (click here to learn more on the PJ Library website). For more information about PJ Library and how to sign up to get books delivered to your home, email Hilary Kamin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Explaining Shalom Bayit
As Abraham tries to find a wife for Isaac, his son, the theme of positive family relationships, Shalom Bayit, emerges as a major theme of Parshat Chayei Sara.
This wonderful video is a great way to explain Shalom Bayit (peace in the home) to your family. Sibling rivalry is in full fling at the Plony home. Fighting over toys, towels and attention are making Mama and Papa crazy, plus the house is a mess and no one got any challah for Shabbat! SHABOOM! The Sparks concoct a little magic (and a few monkeys) to bring peace to the home with Shalom Bayit.
Make your own Family Tallit
As a family, you can create a sacred family tallit - Here's what you'll need:
- Rectangle Fabric (size of your tallit)
- Fabric markers or fabric paint
Once you've got your materials, you can continue to the instructions!
Devash is a weekly parashah magazine that makes learning Torah sweet. By engaging directly with texts and taking kids seriously as Jews, Devash helps children and grownups discover new ideas, values, and sweet morsels in the weekly Torah portion.
Learn a little bit about Israel each week! This week, 104 years ago, the Balfour Declaration was issued by the British government.
The Balfour Declaration was issued during the First World War, and was the first significant political achievement of the Zionist movement. The declaration described the support of the British Government in the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Israel. After the declaration was published it gained public support by France and Italy. The Balfour declaration is mentioned in the Israeli Declaration of Independence, and many places in Israel are named after it to this day.