p.s. If you have arrived at this post because you’re looking for decent parsha resoures, may I also (humbly) suggest that you take a look at a few of mine while you’re here…? I write a Parsha Poem for kids each week, and I’m also writing a narrative summary/overview of each weekly parsha.
I wasn’t sure about The Shabbat Book: A Weekly Guide For The Whole Familywhen we first got it out of the library. Honestly, I thought it was some “light” Reform-style parsha thing. Dunno; guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its fun clay-sculpture cover.
I am liking The Shabbat Book more and more as we read each parsha. Eventually, we’ll have to return it, but I saw it in Israel’s for about $22 last week, so I may just have to buy it. (they had a newer edition, with a slightly different cover, but the same inside)
For each weekly parsha, the book presents a VERY short, 1-2 paragraph summary, synopsis, or touches on a major theme (some of the parshiyos don’t have plots, as such). There’s a clay-sculpture illustration to match, and usually a sidebar with a Hebrew term, passuk or something similar to add depth.
At the bottom of the page, there is a discussion of a middah (character trait), mitzvah, or similar idea in Jewish thought, related to the weekly parsha.
- Short, sweet, to the point discussions
- Hebrew names used throughout for people and places
- Presented on children’s level, easy to understand
- Marvellous illustrations
- Well-researched, with concepts drawn from pshat, midrash and elsewhere
- Two-page spreads clearly indicate the start of a new chumash (book), along with the overriding theme of that book
- Offers a section of zemiros at the back of the book
What I didn’t love:
- Lacks depth, breadth or any elaboration on themes in the parsha (you’ll need another parsha book to cover the whole story)
- Complete description of most parshiyos
- Uses Sephardi, not Ashkenazi pronunciations (but that’s just my thing)
- Doesn’t assume kids come from a home where Shabbat is observed
As far as I’m concerned, the advantages – especially the fact that this is a parsha book that pre-literate kids can pick up and “learn” on their own with pictures – far outweigh the disadvantages, and this is a book worth acquiring for any kid’s Jewish library if you can afford it (ie if WE can afford it).
Here’s a page view from Toldos, this week’s parsha. Yaakov is “stealing” Eisav’s bracha:
A couple more typical page views, with two parshiyos on a page:
And a double spread for the start of chumash Devarim, illustrating the wanderings of bnei Yisrael:
ISBN & copyright info follows if you want to find a copy for yourself.