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Covenant & Conversation: Family Edition – Archive


Covenant & Conversation is kindly sponsored by the Wohl Legacy. 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.


Ha’azinu 5780: The Arc of the Moral Universe

Nitzavim – Vayelech 5780: How to Renew a Nation

Ki Tavo 5780: Be Silent and Listen

Ki Teitse 5780: Does Love Conquer All?

Shoftim 5780: A Sage is Greater than a Prophet

Re’eh 5780: The Good Society

Eikev 5780: The Covenant and the Love

Va’etchanan 5780: The Infinite Game

Devarim 5780: Followership

Matot – Masei 5780: My Teacher: In Memoriam

Pinchas 5780: Moral vs. Political Decisions

Balak 5780: The Hidden Meaning of the Bilam Story

Chukat 5780: Kohelet, Tolstoy and the Red Heifer

Korach 5780: How not to Argue

Shelach Lecha 5780: What is going on?

Beha’alotecha 5780: Loneliness and Faith

Naso 5780: The Blessing of Love

Bamidbar 5780: Egalitarian Society, Jewish-Style

Behar – Bechukotai 5780: The Power of a Curse

Emor 5780: Radical Uncertainty

Acharei Mot – Kedoshim 5780: The Ethic of Holiness

Tazria – Metzora 5780: Words That Heal

Shemini 5780: Limits

Tzav 5780: Left- and Right-Brain Judaism

Vayikra 5780: The Prophetic View of Sacrifice

Vayakhel-Pekudei 5780: Communities and Crowds

Ki Tissa 5780: Moses Annuls a Vow

Tetzaveh 5780: Dressing to Impress

Terumah 5780: What do we receive when we give?

Mishpatim 5780: We will do and we will hear

Yitro 5780: The Universal and the Particular

Beshallach 5780: Crossing the Sea

Bo 5780: The Story We Tell About Ourselves

Vaera 5780: The Weighing of the Heart

Shemot 5780: Faith in the Future

Vayechi 5780: Family, Faith and Freedom

Vayigash 5780: The Future of the Past

Mikketz 5780: Joseph and the Risks of Power

Vayeshev 5780: The Angel who did not know he was an Angel

Vayishlach 5780: No Longer Shall You Be Called Jacob

Vayetse 5780: Laban the Aramean

Toldot 5780: Isaac and Esau

Chayei Sarah 5780: To Have a Why

Vayera 5780: Negative Capability

Lech Lecha 5780: A Palace in Flames

Noach 5780: The Light in the Ark

Bereishit 5780: The Genesis of Love


Ha’azinu 5779: Let My Teaching Drop As Rain

Vayelech 5779: The Torah as God’s Song

Nitzavim 5779: Not Beyond the Sea 

Ki Tavo 5779: A Nation of Storytellers

Ki Teitse 5779: Animal Welfare

Shoftim 5779: The Ecological Imperative

Re’eh 5779: Collective Joy

Eikev 5779: The Politics of Memory

Va’etchanan 5779: Why is the Jewish People So Small?

Devarim 5779: The Teacher as Hero

Masei 5779: The Religious Significance of Israel

Matot-Masei 5779: Priorities

Pinchas 5779: The Crown All Can Wear

Balak 5779: Not Reckoned Among the Nations

Chukat 5779: Losing Miriam

Korach 5779: Argument for the Sake of Heaven

Shelach Lecha 5779: Fear of Freedom

Beha’alotecha 5779: Camp and Congregation

Naso 5779: Leading a Nation of Individuals

Bamidbar 5779: Leading a Nation of Individuals

Bechukotai 5779: The Birth of Hope

Behar 5779: Evolution or Revolution?

Emor 5779: Three Versions of Shabbat

Kedoshim 5779: From Priest to People

Acharei Mot 5779: Thinking Fast and Slow

Metzora 5779: The Power of Speech

Tazria 5779: The Sacrifices of Childbirth

Shemini 5779: Between Hope and Humanity

Tzav 5779: Destructive and Self-Destructive

Vayikra 5779: The Pursuit of Meaning

Pekudei 5779: On Jewish Character

Vayakhel 5779: The Beauty of Holiness or the Holiness of Beauty

Ki Tissa 5779: A Stiff-Necked People

Tetzaveh 5779: Brothers: A Drama in Five Acts

Terumah 5779: A Portable Home

Mishpatim 5779: Loving the Stranger

Yitro 5779: Mount Sinai and the Birth of Freedom

Beshalach 5779: The Divided Sea: Natural or Supernatural

Bo 5779: Against Their Gods

Va’era 5779: The God Who Acts in History

Shemot 5779: The Light at the Heart of Darkness

Vayechi 5779: The Future of the Past

Vayigash 5779: Does My Father Love Me?

Mikketz 5779: The Universal and the Particular

Vayeshev 5779: Refusing Comfort, Keeping Hope

Vayishlach 5779: Physical Fear, Moral Distress

Vayetse 5779: When the “I” is Silent

Toldot 5779: The Courage of Persistence

Chayei Sarah 5779: On Judaism and Islam

Vayera 5779: God and Strangers

Lech Lecha 5779: Four Dimensions of the Journey

Noach 5779: A Drama in Four Acts

Bereishit 5779: 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; In A Nutshell gives a brief overview of the parsha, and one straightforward question for all ages. The Core Idea is appropriate for all ages, It Once Happened gives us an additional related story and encourages readers to connect it to the themes of the week, 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, guests and/or students 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.

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