Wednesday, November 24, 2010

two brothers and twelve sons

Pertaining to Parasha Vayishlach: Gen. 32:4-36:43, Hosea 11:7-12:12, Hebrews 11:11-20
In this parasha, the two brothers (Ya'akov and Esav) are reunited and Ya'akov fathers twelve sons and a daughter. Our character traits this week were GRACE and FORGIVENESS. Esav forgives Ya'akov for his deceitfulness, and Ya'akov praises G-d for His grace to Ya'akov by promising him in Genesis 32 that his descendants will be "as numerous as the grains of sand by the sea, which are so many they can't be counted."
To remember this promise, we played in a "sandbox" (it's really dry oats, but it works!).

We made paper dolls for all of Jacob's children (yeledim shel Ya'akov) and labeled them all by name. Trying to learn all of their names and meanings in Hebrew is great for older children. Some other significant Hebrew words are: "ach" (brother), "achot" (sister), "Yisrael" (wrestles with G-d, or rules with G-d) and "matanah" (gift). Just as Ya'akov gave his brother Esav an elaborate gift, we talked about giving and bought/sent a few friends special gifts (which is great because Hanukkah is almost here!). This parasha also provides an opportunity to review/teach body parts to little ones because Ya'akov's hip was dislocated by the Angel. Because I didn't have much computer access, I simply drew Ya'akov and we labeled some of his body parts. Now my toddler knows where her hips are, and although I did not teach her to do this, she sticks one way out to the side and laughs when I ask her where they are. She's pretty funny!

Other than this, we just continued with our colors (blue) and letters (G), and worked to get back on schedule after all of the birthday excitement and family visits. Still working on that one! :)

dreaming of angels...

Pertaining to Parasha Vayetzei: Gen. 28:10-32:3, Hosea 12:13-14:10, John 1:19-51
We really enjoyed this parasha! One of the coloring pages from is shown above. I found instructions somewhere to make a night scene by brushing watered down black tempera paint over a picture done with crayons because the paint will not stick to wax and allows the colors to show through. I substituted watered down washable finger paint because that is what I had, but the crayon did come through some. It was a cool project to do. We talked a lot about angels and the fact that no one really knows what they look like, but because small children sometimes need visual aids, I basically drew outlines with wings and called them "angels." :) We sang "Shalom Aleichem" an extra time this week in addition to Friday night (Erev Shabbat), which is sung to G-d's ministering angels. We also made a "ladder" out of Popsicle sticks and glued on fabric "angels" to represent Ya'akov's dream of angels on the "ladder"/"staircase" (which in the book of John is called the "Son of Man," but now my little one knows what a ladder is!)

We also made an "angel tube" which was fun until the toddler put a hole through the wax paper angel. The instructions for that are here: Older children might appreciate it a little more.

This is a good time to talk about "standing stones" for remembrance, just as Ya'akov set one up after his dream. We don't have a lot of stones just lying around in Brooklyn, but I thought it would be fun to find and paint one for the purpose of remembering something special by words and/or pictures.

An important part of this parasha was in Genesis 28:22 when Ya'akov vows to give G-d a tenth of everything he receives. It worked out perfectly that our family had already begun a tzedakah box (charity bank), and my daughter had just received birthday money. So she was able, at her tender age, to put some money in the bank "for Yeshua." I look forward to developing and encouraging her gift of giving. Older children can learn to calculate what ten percent is, but for now we are still learning to count to ten!

I also desire to begin teaching new Hebrew words with each parasha, and for this week, "Beit El" (House of G-d) and "Malach" (angel) stood out as important. It is also crucial to teach our children how to develop their character based on Scriptures, and some praiseworthy characteristics this week were GENEROSITY (in giving to others) and SACRIFICE (in giving to G-d, because we can't truly be generous towards G-d because He owns everything. However, He can be generous to us!) This is also a great time to talk about the significance of remembering what G-d does for us. My family has begun a gratitude journal, which I will expound upon in a later entry.

We are also learning the color red and the letter F. It continually amazes me to see how much my newly-two-year-old daughter can absorb and remember. Children are truly sponges, so don't ever worry that you are trying to teach them too much, especially when it comes to Torah. As long as learning is a fun and positive experience for them, teach them until you have nothing left to teach them (and pay attention to what they will teach you along the way!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

double trouble

Pertaining to Parasha Toldot: Gen. 25:19-28:9, Malachi 1:1-2:7, Rom. 9:1-13

For Parasha Toldot, we talked a lot about twins and brothers. We used two "Bible friends" from for Ya'akov and Esav, painting Esav red. My daughter adores babies (in fact, she just received about 5 or 6 new baby dolls for her second birthday!), so she enjoyed looking at baby pictures and searching for twins in magazines, etc. I cut out pictures of twins from the magazines and/or the internet and we glued them on construction paper for a twin collage.

This week we looked at and colored the letter E, looked for words that start with E (like Esav!), and listened to the sounds that E makes on a "Fridge Phonic" Leapfrog magnet toy that my daughter has. This was a special letter because her name also begins with E, and she is learning to recognize it when I spell it aloud for her. We looked for things that are the color purple (which she pronounces a little too similar to "poo poo".) All in all, this parashah was a little complicated for a two year old, but it's never too early to introduce a child to Torah!