This program was prepared by Torah Live for a parent-child learning program in Rabbi Zev & Rebbeca Gubbay's shul in London.
Goal: Getting children excited about the mitzvah of honoring parents.
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Parent-child activity
Part 3: Group discussion
Part 4: Video
Part 5: Follow up discussion
Part 6: End of event activity - the challenge
Part 1: Introduction
Goal of the event etc..
(Parents and children at the event)
Part 2: Parent-Child Activity
(The following are two suggestions, one is reading + discussion and the other is more interactive. Maybe older kids would do better with the reading activity)
The story of Dama ben Netina
It happened once that one of the precious stones fell out of the High Priest's breastplate, and was lost. Seeking a replacement, the sages were referred to a certain Dama ben Netina who purportedly had the exact jewel they required in his possession. They offered him one hundred dinar, and Dama accepted their offer. When he went to fetch the jewel he discovered that he could not access it without waking his father. So he returned and informed his clients that he could not provide them with the item they sought. Assuming that he was trying to renegotiate the price, they increased their offer until they reached a sum of 1000 dinar. When his father finally woke up he brought them the jewel, and they were still willing to pay him their final offer of 1000 dinar. Dama, however, was only willing to accept their initial offer of one hundred, saying: "What? Do you think that I would sell the honor of my fathers for mere coins? I refuse to derive any tangible benefit from the honor of my fathers!" The Jerusalem Talmud goes on to ask what heavenly reward Dama received for such meritorious behavior. The answer given was that on that very night a pure red heifer – essential for attaining ritual purity – was born to Dama's cow, and so the Jews purchased this extremely rare item from him for a small fortune.
Questions for parent-child discussion:
What is the message that we learn from this story? Why is this such a big deal? He could have woken up his father for a second and he would have fallen back asleep!
Have you ever experienced something like this? How did you respond?
The Candy Test:
Each parent-child ‘group’ receives 8 candies and a bag or small box that has 8 questions.
Parent sits opposite the child, places the candies in the middle and asks the child to choose a question from the bag: Whoever the answer applies to, takes a candy from the pile.
Who pays the bills in the home?
Who buys my clothes?
Who takes me on errands/trips/vacations?
Who pays for the groceries?
Who’s in charge of making sure the home is warm and comfortable?
Who in the family is in charge of my education?
Who makes sure that I’m always safe?
Who has invested in me above and beyond without asking for anything in return?
Parents receive all of the candies:)
Follow up discussion between parent and child (topic for discussion to be determined by the event facilitator)
Part 3: Group Discussion
Event facilitator to kids: You have all read 8 questions on a range of amazing things that your parents have done for you. However, I have a 9th question - What is the greatest gift that your parents have given you?
Encourage the kids to answer the question, the goal is to get them to say what the Sefer Hachinuch says.
Source for the answer: Sefer Hachinuch -מצוות כיבוד אב ואם -
משורשי מצוה זו: שראוי לו לאדם שיכיר ויגמול חסד למי שעשה עמו טובה, ולא יהיה נבל ומתנכר וכפוי טובה, שזו מדה רעה ומאוסה בתכלית לפני אלוקים ואנשים. ושיתן אל לבו כי האב והאם הם סבת היותו בעולם, ועל כן באמת ראוי לו לעשות להם כל עבודה ותועלת שיוכל, כי הם הביאוהו לעולם, גם יגעו בו כמה יגיעות בקטנותו.
וכשיקבע זאת המידה בנפשו – יעלה ממנה להכיר טובת האל ברוך הוא, שהוא ִסבתו וִסבת כל אבותיו עד אדם הראשון. ושהוציאו לאויר העולם, וסיפק צרכיו כל ימיו, והעמידו על מתכונתו ושלימות איבריו, ונתן בו נפש יודעת ומשכלת. שאילולי הנפש שחננו האל – יהיה כסוס כפרד אין הבין. ויעריך במחשבתו כמה וכמה ראוי להיזהר בעבודתו ברוך הוא
This could also be a great opportunity to ask additional questions for the kids to participate.
Now that we learned a little about the mitzvah of honoring parents. It’s time to go to the movies! This short film is all about the mitzvah of honoring parents!
Part 4: The Video
Torah Live “Honoring Parents”
Part 5: Follow up questions
What did you enjoy the most in the video?
Were there any scenes that you were able to relate to? Why?
Part 6: The Challenge
Hand out the “Rabbi Siddur” honoring parent chart:
Parent-child discusses what 4 actions for honoring parents the child is choosing for the coming week.
Encourage creativity - if for example, the child says he/she will take out the garbage, they should make a dramatic video about it and submit it for review before the next event (most creative ideas win prizes!). It will be very cool for kids to see each other's creative projects on the mitzvah of honoring parents.
At the end of the event you can hand out certificates to the kids/students! They are now officially certified in honoring parents🙂
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