This might involve a slight bias, but we love what the Memphis Kollel started doing Sunday mornings.
They use Torah Live’s resources as the base of their weekly program. It makes perfect sense, actually. You have the relevant concepts, engaging videos, and fun challenges already prepared.
Your families show up – and the fun begins.
An exciting notice about the new program in Memphis
How does the Memphis Kollel do it?
(Torah Live can even help you come up with the activities. There are tens of ideas here.)
The Memphis Kollel is far from the only shul running a Torah Live program. We love how Rabbi Zev & Rebbeca Gubbay's shul in London uses Torah Live for their parent-child learning program.
For this particular program, the shul set out with a simple goal: get kids excited about honoring their parents.
Now, we all know that’s easier said than done. Even when you know it’s the right thing to do, listening to parents is not always fun. The Yetzer Hara has a sneaky way of getting involved.
That’s why the shul had a very structured program. They wanted to teach the lessons from several different angles – and make sure it felt relevant enough that it would actually affect the way kids honored their parents.
They broke the program down into different segments.
The shul rabbi spent a minute explaining the schedule for the program and why they chose this specific topic.
The shul prepared two starter activities, each catering to a different age group. This way everyone present had an interactive way to get introduced to the idea of honoring parents.
For older children: Read the story of Dama ben Netina
It happened once that one of the precious stones fell out of the Kohen Gadol’s breastplate and was lost.
Seeking a replacement, the sages were referred to a certain Dama ben Netina who purportedly had the exact jewel in his possession. They offered him one hundred dinar — which was an enormous sum — and Dama accepted their offer. When he went to fetch the jewel, however, Dama discovered that he could not access it without waking his father.
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 Dama's 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 father for mere coins? I refuse to derive any tangible benefit from the honor of my father!"
The Talmud Yerushalmi 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.
For younger children: The Candy Test
Each parent-child ‘group’ receives 8 candies and a bag or small box with 8 questions. Children take turns choosing a question from the box. Whoever is the “answer” receives a candy from the pile.
By the end of the game, the parents should have received all the candies.
After older children read the story of Dama, parents can discuss the following questions with them.
For younger children, the facilitator leads the discussion:
You read 8 questions on a range of amazing things that your parents have done for you. However, I have a ninth question – what is the greatest gift that your parents have given you?
The goal is to get kids to answer in line with 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.
A person should recognize and repay any kindness done to him. He shouldn’t be ungrateful, which is behavior Hashem dislikes.
Think about the fact that your parents are the reason you’re in this world and therefore you should do all you can for them. (Even if you do everything possible, you’ll still never be able to do as much for them as they did for you.)
Now that we learned a little about the mitzvah of honoring parents, it’s time for the film. The facilitator plays Honoring Parents for the crowd.
The facilitator leads a group discussion:
Learning becomes real with action. Encourage kids to make a tangible difference with Rabbi Siddur’s honoring parents chart. Together with their parents, children can decide which action they want to take to bring this mitzvah to life on a daily basis.
Make it fun!
Consider offering a reward system for kids who bring back a complete chart. Encourage children to be creative. For example, if they say they’ll take out the garbage, they can make a dramatic video depicting the scene. At your next program, show the submissions and offer prizes to the most creative projects.
Before the program ends, hand out certificates to anyone who participated. They’re now Torah Live-certified as honoring parents experts 🙂
… and here are the results!