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!
On Har Sinai, ה׳ gave us rules… (for living with ה׳)
Last week, in parshas Mishpatim, ה׳ gave us rules… (for living with other people!)
Why did ה׳ give us so many rules? He wanted us to be a… (מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ/priests and holy people!)
What does HOLY mean? (Special to ה׳!)
ה׳ told מֹשֶׁה that if we built a מִשְׁכַּן , He would come live with us there!
What did משה need to build the משכן? (gold, silver, copper, wool, fabric, jewels and oil)
ה׳ told משה to ask בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל… (to bring presents to build the משכן)
ה׳ said to ask… (all the people, and everybody who wanted could give)
Why not just the כֹהֲנִים (kohanim/priests), the נְשִׂיאִים (princes) or rich people? (the משכן belongs to all of כלל ישראל!)
After that, ה׳ gave instructions for all the sections of the משכן.
The lobby was called the… (חָצֵר, the courtyard); The main room inside was called the… (קֹדֶשׁ, the holy place)
The smaller room inside the main room was called the… (קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים, holiest of holies, the holiest place)
Do you remember what HOLY means? (Special to ה׳!)
There were different כֵּלִים, tools, to put in each part of the משכן. Everything had to be exactly right!
It was covered up, inside and out, with a layer of… (זָהָב טָהוֹר/pure gold) with a… (זֵר זָהָב/golden crown around the top)
On top of the aron, ה׳ said to make… (two כְּרֻבִים/kruvim/cherubs) out of… (זָהָב טָהוֹר/pure gold).
What were the כרבים like? (they had the faces of children and wings like eagles)
When בני ישראל did מצוות, the כְּרֻבִים would face each other; when בני ישראל did עברות, the כְּרֻבִים would face apart.
Everything for the משכן had to be made so that בני ישראל could… (carry it along when they travelled)
בני ישראל could carry the ארון with… (long בַדִּים/poles that went through rings on its side)
The table was made of… (עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים/wood) covered with… (זָהָב טָהוֹר/pure gold). It also had a… (זֵר זָהָב/golden crown).
We don’t know what the לחם הפנים looked like, but it stayed fresh all the time – it never went bad!
How was this different from the other כלים? (The other keilim were only wood covered with a thin layer of gold.)
The מנרה had to have… (seven branches… three on each side and one in the middle)
The מנרה had to be decorated all over with… (shapes of cups, knobs, and flowers)
How did משה know exactly which way to make the מנרה? (ה׳ showed him on הַר סִינַי what it should look like)
There were more instructions coming!
ה׳ said to make… (יְרִיעֹת, beautiful curtains, to go all the way around the outside and over top of the משכן)
ה׳ said to make… (קְּרָשִׁים and אֲדָנִים, planks and sockets, to make the walls of the משכן solid and sturdy)
ה׳ also explained how to make the… (מִּזְבֵּחַ/Mizbeach/altar) out of… (עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים/wood), covered in… (נְחֹשֶׁת/copper)
This big מזבח was where בני ישראל would bring their most important קרבנות (korbanos/offerings).
Do you remember from Parshasיִתְרוֹ what bringing קרבנות reminds us of? (תפילות/tefillos, our davening!)
Climbing the ramp to the מזבח to bring a קָרְבַּן helped בני ישראל… (feel they were climbing closer to ה׳).
This reminds us of how we should… (think about “climbing” closer to ה׳ when we daven).
Just like everything else in the משכן, the מזבח could be… (carried on poles when בני ישראל travelled)
משה received the instructions in this parsha, but בני ישראל wouldn’t put the משכן together for almost a year.
They still had a lot to learn before they would be ready – and so do we!