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Shavuot Family Parsha

May 9, 2009 | by Nesanel Yoel Safran

A story and discussion questions for parents and kids about Shavuot and the importance of unity.

Shavuot is one of the most important days of the Jewish year.

On Shavuot the whole nation stood together at Mount Sinai and God gave them the Torah. The same Torah we have today!

A wonderful thing happened when they stood together at that mountain. They felt an awesome unity. In the presence of God, everyone forgot their selfish feelings and they all cared about each other just as much as they cared about themselves. They were like "one person with one heart."

Every year since then, for over 3000 years, we try to recreate these feelings of unity on Shavuot. We try to appreciate the special gift of the Torah, and remember that when we all look out for each other, amazing things can happen.

In our story, a group of individuals become a team and reach the highest heights.


"All Together Now"

"Coach, I think we should just give up now," sighed Barry, the center of the Rams basketball team.

His team-mates nodded in agreement.

It was half-time of the championship game and the Wolves were ahead of the Rams by 20 points.

"What are you talking about?" answered the coach confidently.

"But coach, they're killing us." groaned Barry. "Each one of them is a superstar. We just can't compete!"

Coach Manhig wiped his brow and said "I know how you guys feel. They are a bunch of stars. But that's just why I think we can beat 'em."

The boys' perked up a little and waited for the coach to go on.

" We might not be as talented as they are, its true. But we have one advantage over them, we know how to play as a team. I can see that the Wolves are all out for themselves and that they have no teamwork. In the end its gonna backfire. If you all get back out there and try not to be selfish, work together and help each other out, you' ll win. So go out there and DO IT!"

The coach slapped each one of the boys on the back as he sent the team onto the court for the second half of the game.

Sure enough the Rams played with togetherness and with a minute left in the game the score was tied!

Now the Wolves had the ball. Each one of them was screaming to his team-mate to pass him the ball so that he could be the hero. But the player with the ball took the shot himself and it was a wild shot that missed by a mile.

Barry, the Rams' center caught the ball, and was about to take a shot. But then he thought of his coaches words, "try not to be selfish" and decided to pass the ball to his team-mate, Jonny who was closer to the basket.

Jonny scored an easy hoop just as the buzzer sounded, ending the game. The Rams had won!

After the game coach Manhig asked the team to vote for the "star of the game award." But he cracked a big smile when everyone gave him the same answer: "We all were!"


Age 3-5

Q. If there was something big and heavy that had to be moved, do you think it would be easier to move it by yourself, or if you and some of your friends moved it together? Why?

A. It would be easier if we did it all together. When we work together we can really get things done that would be much harder to do alone.

Q. How would you feel about your friends after you finished working together and got the job done?

A. We would feel very close and friendly to each other since we had all worked together.

Age 6-9

Q. What do you think makes people feel united with each other? What makes our family united?

A. When people feel like they have something in common with each other, and they have similar goals, they feel united. When people love and care for each other, they feel united. When God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, they all felt like they were one family and had the same special goal of keeping the Torah.

Q. What causes disunity and fights between people or countries?

A. One big cause is selfishness. When people are only concerned with what they want and don't care about the other guy's needs there are likely to be bad feelings and fights.

Age 10-13

Q. What does it mean that "the whole is greater than the sum (total) of its parts"?

A. Often when things or people come together, something more comes out than would if they were separate. For example: bread, cheese, and tomato sauce all taste pretty good by themselves, but when you eat them together as pizza, it all tastes much better. With people also, when they unite and work together there is the potential for much greater things than even the combined efforts of each of them working separately.

Q. Do you think a person should be willing to give up some of his own good or comfort for the common good of a larger group such as a) his family, b) community, or c) the world? Why or why not?




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