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Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition


Covenant & Conversation is kindly sponsored by The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation. The Family Edition is kindly sponsored anonymously.


As part of the weekly Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition, we encourage readers under 18 years old to submit questions on the topics discussed. Each month or so, we will be selecting some of the best questions received, each of which will be sent an inscribed copy of the wonderful Koren Aviv Weekday Siddur! To read the selected questions received so far, and answers provided from Rabbi Sacks, please click here.

Click on the links below to download the latest Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition, an educational accompaniment to Rabbi Sacks’ weekly Covenant & Conversation essay on the parsha.

Ki Teitse: Animal Welfare

Shoftim: The Ecological Imperative

Re’eh: Collective Joy

Eikev: The Politics of Memory

Va’etchanan: Why is the Jewish People So Small?

Devarim: The Teacher as Hero

Masei: The Religious Significance of Israel

Matot-Masei: Priorities

Pinchas: The Crown All Can Wear

Balak: Not Reckoned Among the Nations

Chukat: Losing Miriam

Korach: Argument for the Sake of Heaven

Shelach Lecha: Fear of Freedom

Beha’alotecha: Camp and Congregation

Naso: Leading a Nation of Individuals

Bamidbar: Leading a Nation of Individuals

Bechukotai: The Birth of Hope

Behar: Evolution or Revolution?

Emor: Three Versions of Shabbat

Kedoshim: From Priest to People

Acharei Mot: Thinking Fast and Slow

Metzora: The Power of Speech

Tazria: The Sacrifices of Childbirth

Shemini: Between Hope and Humanity

Tzav: Destructive and Self-Destructive

Vayikra: The Pursuit of Meaning

Pekudei: On Jewish Character

Vayakhel: The Beauty of Holiness or the Holiness of Beauty

Ki Tissa: A Stiff-Necked People

Tetzaveh: Brothers: A Drama in Five Acts

Terumah: A Portable Home

Mishpatim: Loving the Stranger

Yitro: Mount Sinai and the Birth of Freedom

Beshalach: The Divided Sea: Natural or Supernatural

Bo: Against Their Gods

Va’era: The God Who Acts in History

Shemot: The Light at the Heart of Darkness

Vayechi: The Future of the Past

Vayigash: Does My Father Love Me?

Mikketz: The Universal and the Particular

Vayeshev: Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope

Vayishlach: Physical Fear, Moral Distress

Vayetse: When the “I” is Silent

Toldot: The Courage of Persistence

Chayei Sarah: On Judaism and Islam

Vayera: God and Strangers

Lech Lecha: Four Dimensions of the Journey

Noach: A Drama in Four Acts

Bereishit: The Three Stages of Creation

About Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition

As many of you know, each week I send out a commentary essay on the week’s parsha (Torah reading). I have called these essays Covenant & Conversation because this for me is the essence of what Torah learning is – throughout the ages and for us now.

The text of Torah is our covenant with God; the interpretation of this text has been the subject of an ongoing conversation that began at Sinai and has never ceased.

We need to learn more Torah with our children because that is how we can truly secure the Jewish future. That is why I am so excited by the new Family Edition of Covenant & Conversation for this year’s Torah cycle.

The Family Edition, expertly compiled by Dr. Daniel Rose Ph.D (who I worked with on the “Ten Paths to God” curriculum project), is a wonderful accompaniment to the main Covenant & Conversation essay each week.

It has two main aims. First, to present the ideas in Covenant & Conversation in a simplified way, making my ideas more accessible to children and teenagers. Second, to act as an educational resource for parents, teachers and anyone else to engage their children and students in meaningful and stimulating conversations about the parsha.

I hope you find this a useful addition to your learning during 5779. You can watch this short video explaining the project, and download the Family Editions for each parsha below. The Family Edition will also be available as a download from the main Covenant & Conversation email which is sent out each week. If you are not already subscribed to my free mailing list and would like to be, please fill in your details here.

How it works

Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition is a new and exciting initiative from The Office of Rabbi Sacks for 5779. Written as an accompaniment to Rabbi Sacks’ weekly Covenant & Conversation essay, the Family Edition is aimed at connecting older children and teenagers with his ideas and thoughts on the parsha.

Each element of the Family Edition is progressively more advanced; The Core Idea is appropriate for all ages and the final element, From The Thought of Rabbi Sacks, is the most advanced section. Each section includes Questions to Ponder, aimed at encouraging discussion between family members in a way most appropriate to them.

We have also included a section called Around the Shabbat Table with a few further questions on the parsha to think about, and an Educational Companion which includes suggested talking points in response to the questions found throughout the Family Edition.