Special this week! Check out these fun half-shekel math sheets!
As always, If anybody is reading these things, feedback is welcome. I’d love to think these summaries were helpful to anyone besides me and my kids!
This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a “Q&A” format adaptable for kids of any age. Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash. Be open to anything your child might have to say!
If you have a collection, maybe you sometimes like to count how many things you have in your collection!
That’s because you love the collection so much. It probably feels good to count how many you have.
Maybe you feel proud that you have collected so many.
In the Torah, Hashem counts bnei Yisrael over and over and OVER. Why?
Just like when you have a collection – bnei Yisrael are very special.
Counting is Hashem’s way of saying we are EACH special.
Every one of us is more than a number – every one of us is an important part of the collection.
What is the collection? Klal Yisrael!
Hashem is still giving instructions for the Mishkan, but suddenly he stops!
He stops to tell Moshe that he must… (count bnei Yisrael)
Because each person is special, he has to use a special way of counting!
Each person must give one… (silver half-shekel coin)
At the end, Moshe should… (count up how many coins he collected; that’s how many of bnei Yisrael there are)
Hashem said to build a… (kiyor, a large copper washbasin / sink)
The kiyor would stand… (near the big mizbeach) so the kohanim could… (wash their hands and feet)
They should also mix up spices to make the… (ketores mixture) to burn on the… (small gold mizbeach)
Finally, they should mix up… (fragrant oil), a kind of perfume to dab on…(the mishkan and all the kohanim).
Who would be in charge of building the Mishkan?
We already know from Parshas Yisro that Moshe was busy from morning until night… (judging the people!)
We know he was too busy to be the kohen, so Hashem chose… (his brother, Aharon)
Now, he was too busy to build the Mishkan, so Hashem chose… (Betzalel ben Uri ben Chur)
Hashem knew he would pay careful attention and… (build the whole mishkan exactly right!)
Once the Mishkan project started, it would be more important than everything – except Shabbos!
Moshe knew Betzalel was a tzaddik who would be careful about building – and even more careful to stop for Shabbos.
Hashem carved the words of the Aseres HaDibros on… (beautiful luchos made of stone)
Moshe told bnei Yisrael he would be gone for forty days, but they… (counted the days wrong)
After he was gone for a long time, bnei Yisrael started to worry… (that he was never coming back)
So they decided to make a… (new leader, made out of all the gold earrings the people wore).
Moshe came down from Har Sinai exactly on time and saw… (bnei Yisrael davening to the calf!)
He was so furious with what he saw that he… (smashed down the stone luchos Hashem had written)
Hashem was also furious; even though he was angry, Moshe… (davened to Hashem to save bnei Yisrael)
Hashem agreed to save the people, and told Moshe to… (come up on Har Sinai so he could receive new luchos)
Even though Hashem was angry, he remembered Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and his promises to them!
(maybe He also remembers how precious bnei Yisrael is now that He has counted each and every one)
“Come,” Hashem tells Moshe; “You’re going somewhere very special – eretz Yisrael! You’ll need new luchos to bring with you. But you will have to come up the mountain and carve these ones yourself. I won’t do it for you this time.”
Moshe was the only person to ever speak with Hashem face to face, like a friend.
Did you ever try looking directly at the sun? Don’t try it! It’s too bright; it will hurt your eyes!
Moshe became so holy from being with Hashem that his face was too bright for bnei Yisrael to look at. He had to always cover his face after that so the bright light wouldn’t hurt them.
With this second set of luchos, bnei Yisrael were ready at last… to start building the Mishkan: a home for Hashem!