Family Corner: Parshat B'shalach

Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Posted by: Family Corner

Family Corner is a space to offer interactive and thoughtful ideas for family engagement with the Parshat Hashavua (weekly Torah reading).  

This week in the Parsha we encounter themes of song, freedom, miracles and impatience. 

Parsha Summary

  • The Children of Israel escape across the Sea of Reeds from Pharaoh and his army, who drown when God drives back the sea. (13:17-14:31) 
  • Moses and the Israelites sing a song praising Adonai. (15:1-21) 
  • In the wilderness, God provides the grumbling Israelites with quails and manna. God instructs the Israelites to gather and prepare on the sixth day food needed for Shabbat. (15:22-16:36) 
  • The people complain about the lack of water. Moses hits a rock with his rod and brings forth water. (17:1-7) 
  • Israel defeats Amalek, Israel's eternal enemy. God vows to blot out the memory of Amalek from the world. (17:8-16) 

Tu B'Shvat  

Monday, January 17th is Tu B’Shvat (15th day of the month of Shvat).  

Tu B'Shvat or the "New Year of the Trees" is Jewish Arbor Day. The holiday is observed on the 15th (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shvat. Scholars believe that originally Tu B'Shvat was an agricultural festival, marking the emergence of spring. In the 17th century, Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu B'Shvat that is similar to a Passover seder. Today, many Jews hold a modern version of the Tu B'Shvat seder each year. The holiday also has become a tree-planting festival in Israel, in which Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of loved ones and friends.  

Activities, Videos, Crafts and More!   

A Kid's Guide to the Tu B'Shvat Seder! 

  • You can even include a Seven Species Challah at your Seder table! 
  • Sign up for our FREE Tu B'Shevat Hike at the Houston Arboretum on Sunday, January 16 at 10:00 AM and our FREE Virtual bedtime story, Planting Friendship: Peace, Salaam, Shalom on January 16 at 6:30 PM with author, Melissa Stoller.

PJ Library Recommendation 

Happy Birthday, Tree! by Madelyn Rosenberg 
Ages: 3 to 4 Years
Synopsis: The Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, also known as the Birthday of the Trees, celebrates the critical role that trees play in life. In this story, a little girl presents her favorite climbing tree with a special birthday gift. 

Devash (Published by Hadar): 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. Devash is designed for kids aged 7-11 to read independently, or together with families and teachers.  

Israel Corner – Did you know? 

Israel is one of the only countries in the world that has more trees today than it had 100 years ago! 

In order to prevent people from cutting down trees, Israel legislated against it. Since 2008, cutting down a tree in Israel without approval from the ministry of agriculture, even one in your private property, is a criminal offense.  

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Category: Family Corner