Category Archives: PS

Kids’ Questions: Kol HaLev, Cleveland Ohio

These questions were asked by a 5th – 7th grade community of inquiry that meets as part of Kol HaLev’s shabbat morning programming. This inquiry convened October 2014. Question-askers’ names were attributed, but have been removed.

  1. Why are there no more sea monsters? ()  A
  2.  Why is the world today different than the new world described? ()  A | B
  3. Why is light seen to be good and not darkness? ()  B
  4. Why does God see everything He makes as good? ()  B
  5. What if God didn’t see everything He made as good?  ()  B
  6. Did God use trial and error, and not mention / “see as good” the failures?  ()  B
  7. When God created things, did he eliminate some? ()  A | B
  8. Why did God decide life had to eat vegetation? ()   C
  9. Why did God create all these diseases? ()  C
  10. Why separate ‘water-above’ from ‘water-below’? ()  C
  11. (from 4, above) Why did God at first see everything as good, but later many things (cancer, war, ebola) turned out to be bad? ()  A | B | C

Chosen categorizations:
A= why or how things change/changed (from original creation to today)
B= nature of goodness / recognizing / judging goodness
C= why is the world this way / why was the world created this way?

Caring for Animals – Sources – LowerPS

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What does the way we treat animals say about us?   

Proverbs 12:10 מִשְׁלֵי

יוֹדֵעַ צַדִּיק  נֶפֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּוֹ

 A righteous man knows the soul of his animal

You should not sit down to eat until you have first fed your animals.

(Talmud,  Berachot. 40a; Gittin, 62a)

dog bowl


You should not buy an animal unless you can guarantee it will have an adequate food supply. (Jerusalem Talmud, Ketubot, 4:8)feeding animals


Moses and David are often described in our tradition as devoted shepherds who gave every animal in their flock personal attention. It was this trait of their personalities that made them worthy in God’s eyes of leading the Jewish people.( Exodus Rabbah 2.2)

Once, while Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, one young sheep ran away. Moses ran after it until the sheep reached a shady place, where he found a pool of water and began to drink. When Moses reached the sheep, he said: ‘I did not know you ran away because you were thirsty. Now, you must be exhausted [from running].’ Moses put the sheep on his shoulders and carried him [back to the herd]. God said, “Because you tend the sheep belonging to human beings with such mercy, you shall be the shepherd of My sheep, Israel.”

Exodus Rabbah 2:2

Discussion Plan: Leaving Home – PS

Discussion Plan: Leavings

  1. Do you think we all have to ‘leave home’ in order to grow up? Explain.
  2. Avram took his extended family with him – so what was he really leaving behind?
  3. If you go away but you still think about people a lot, and text them/e-mail them, have you left them behind?
  4.  If you still hear them speaking to you – telling you what to do – have you left them behind?
  5. In growing up – do you think the important thing is what you are leaving, or what you are heading towards?
  6. Are you attached to places as well as people? Describe these places.
  7. Which do you think would be more difficult – to leave individual people, or to leave your language and culture?

Lech L’cha (Bereshit 12:1-5) בְּרֵאשִׁית

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Bereshit 12:1-5   בְּרֵאשִׁית יב :א-ה
1. God said to Avram, “Go, take yourself
from your land
and from where you were born,
and from your father’s house
to the land that I will let you see:
א  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם, לֶךְ-לְךָ
,וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ 
.אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ 
 2.   I will make you a great nation
And I will bless you,
I will make your name great.
And be a blessing.
 ,ב  וְאֶעֶשְׂךָ, לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל
וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ
וֶהְיֵה, בְּרָכָה
3. I will bless those people who bless you
And those that curse you, I will curse;
And all the families of the earth shall find
blessing through you [by way of you.”
,ג  וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ
;וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר
.וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה
4. Avram went, as God had told him,
and Lot went with him.
And Avram was seventy-five years old
when he went out of Haran.
,ד  וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָם, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלָיו יְהוָה
;וַיֵּלֶךְ אִתּוֹ, לוֹט
,וְאַבְרָם, בֶּן-חָמֵשׁ שָׁנִים וְשִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה
.בְּצֵאתוֹ, מֵחָרָן
5. Avram took Sarai, his wife,
and Lot, his brother’s son,
and all their belongings that they had gained,
and the people they had made their own in Haran;
and they went to go to the land of Canaan.
ה וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם אֶת-שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ
,וְאֶת-לוֹט בֶּן-אָחִיו
,וְאֶת-כָּל-רְכוּשָׁם אֲשֶׁר רָכָשׁוּ
,וְאֶת-הַנֶּפֶשׁ, אֲשֶׁר-עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן; וַיֵּצְאוּ
.לָלֶכֶת אַרְצָה כְּנַעַן, וַיָּבֹאוּ, אַרְצָה כְּנָעַן 










Noach (Bereshit-9:8-9:17) – בְּרֵאשִׁית

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Noach (Bereshit 9:8 -9:17) – בְּרֵאשִׁית

8 And God said to Noach, and to his sons with him, saying: ח  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל-נֹחַ, וְאֶל-בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ לֵאמֹר.
9 ‘As for Me, here, I now set up [establish] my covenant with you, and with your seed [children] after you; ט  וַאֲנִי, הִנְנִי מֵקִים אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתְּכֶם, וְאֶת-זַרְעֲכֶם, אַחֲרֵיכֶם.
10 and with all living creatures that are with you, the fowl, herd-animals, and all the wildlife of the earth with you;  with all those going out of the Ark, of all the living things on the earth.

י  וְאֵת כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה אֲשֶׁר אִתְּכֶם, בָּעוֹף בַּבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל-חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ אִתְּכֶם; מִכֹּל יֹצְאֵי הַתֵּבָה, לְכֹל חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ.

11  I will establish my covenant with you; never again shall all flesh be cut off again by waters of a flood; never again shall there be a flood, to destroy the earth!

יא  וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתְּכֶם, וְלֹא-יִכָּרֵת כָּל-בָּשָׂר עוֹד מִמֵּי הַמַּבּוּל; וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה עוֹד מַבּוּל, לְשַׁחֵת הָאָרֶץ.

12 And God said: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I set between me and you and all living creatures that are with you, for all ages to come:

יב  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, זֹאת אוֹת-הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר-אֲנִי נֹתֵן בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם, וּבֵין כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, אֲשֶׁר אִתְּכֶם–לְדֹרֹת, עוֹלָם.

13 My bow, I set in the cloud, so that it shall serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

יג  אֶת-קַשְׁתִּי, נָתַתִּי בֶּעָנָן; וְהָיְתָה לְאוֹת בְּרִית, בֵּינִי וּבֵין הָאָרֶץ.

14 And when I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen, in the clouds

יד  וְהָיָה, בְּעַנְנִי עָנָן עַל-הָאָרֶץ, וְנִרְאֲתָה הַקֶּשֶׁת, בֶּעָנָן.

15  I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and all living creatures of all flesh; so the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

טו  וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי, אֲשֶׁר בֵּינִי וּבֵינֵיכֶם, וּבֵין כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, בְּכָל-בָּשָׂר; וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה עוֹד הַמַּיִם לְמַבּוּל, לְשַׁחֵת כָּל-בָּשָׂר.

16 When the bow will be, in the cloud; I will see it, and remember the covenant between God and all living creatures – all flesh that is on the earth

טז  וְהָיְתָה הַקֶּשֶׁת, בֶּעָנָן; וּרְאִיתִיהָ, לִזְכֹּר בְּרִית עוֹלָם, בֵּין אֱלֹהִים, וּבֵין כָּל-נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה בְּכָל-בָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרֶץ.

17 And God said to Noach: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.’

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, אֶל-נֹחַ:  זֹאת אוֹת-הַבְּרִית, אֲשֶׁר הֲקִמֹתִי, בֵּינִי, וּבֵין כָּל-בָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר עַל-הָאָרֶץ.

18 And the sons of Noach, that went out from the Ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth; and Ham is the father of Canaan.

יח  וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי-נֹחַ, הַיֹּצְאִים מִן-הַתֵּבָה–שֵׁם, וְחָם וָיָפֶת; וְחָם, הוּא אֲבִי כְנָעַן.

Exercise: What do we eat and why / why not? -PS

Exercise: What do we eat and why / why not?

I eat this Someone else in my family eats this Other people in my culture eat this In the Torah it says we shouldn’t eat it People from other cultures I know of do eat it I don’t think anyone eats this – but it wouldn’t be wrong if they did No-one should eat this– it is morally wrong
Dried  Pineapple              
Raw eggs              
Animal Hair              
Blood sausage              
Human Beings              
Someone else’s half eaten sandwich              
A pen              



Discussion Plan: Deciding what we should eat- PS

Deciding what we should eat

  1. Do you think parents should decide what food their pre-school child should eat?
  2. Do you think your family should decide what you eat now?
  3. Are there food you can eat too much of?
  4. Are there foods you can eat too little of?
  5. Are their kinds of food that it is hard to stop eating once you start?
  6. If a species is endangered, should people continue to eat it? (even if it acceptable to eat it)
  7. Are there animals you don’t think we should eat because it is wrong to kill them?
  8. If you raise an animal and look after it – would it be wrong to eat it? (Would this be the same if you lived on a farm?)
  9. In many ways, animals are like people – is that a reason not to kill them?
  10. Think of eating an animal’s eye – disgusting? Why does this disgust you?
  11. To what extent do you think that your culture decides what it is possible for you to eat?

Discussion Plan: Deciding what we eat – PS-HS

Discussion Plan: Deciding what we eat

  1. Is there any kind of food that you personally choose not to eat?  Why?
  2. What makes certain foods attractive to you  – such that you want to eat them?
  3. What makes certain foods unattractive to you – such that you don’t want to eat them?
  4. Do you eat the same range of food now as you did 5 years ago?
  5. Do you eat the same range of food now as you did when you were a baby?
  6. Can people’s diets change, even when they are adults? Can you give an example?
  7. Do you think that what you eat affects your health?
  8. Do you think that what you eat affects your mood?
  9. Can you look at what someone eats and draw any conclusion about their values
  10. Do you think that what you eat or don’t eat can make you a better person?

Noach (Bereshit-9:1-7)- בְּרֵאשִׁית

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Please note: A lower primary school version of the Biblical text is offered here


Noach (Bereshit-9:1-7) – בְּרֵאשִׁית

1. And God blessed Noach and his sons, and
said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply [be
many], and fill the earth.
א  וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-נֹחַ וְאֶת-בָּנָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ, וּמִלְאוּ אֶת-הָאָרֶץ.
2. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall
be upon all the wildlife of the earth, and upon
all the fowl of the heavens, and all that crawl
on the soil, and all the fish of the sea – into
your hand are they given.
ב  וּמוֹרַאֲכֶם וְחִתְּכֶם, יִהְיֶה, עַל כָּל-חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ, וְעַל כָּל-עוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם; בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר תִּרְמֹשׂ הָאֲדָמָה וּבְכָל-דְּגֵי הַיָּם, בְּיֶדְכֶם נִתָּנוּ.
 3. All things crawling about that live, for you
shall they be, for eating, as with the green
plants, I now give you all of it.
 ג  כָּל-רֶמֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר הוּא-חַי, לָכֶם יִהְיֶה לְאָכְלָה:  כְּיֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב, נָתַתִּי לָכֶם אֶת-כֹּל.
4. However – flesh with its life, its blood, you
shall not eat.
ד  אַךְ-בָּשָׂר, בְּנַפְשׁוֹ דָמוֹ לֹא תֹאכֵלוּ.
5. And for your blood, of your own lives, I will
demand satisfaction – from all wild animals
I will demand it, and from humankind, from
every man regarding his brother, will I
demand satisfaction for human life.
ה  וְאַךְ אֶת-דִּמְכֶם לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם אֶדְרֹשׁ,
מִיַּד כָּל-חַיָּה אֶדְרְשֶׁנּוּ; וּמִיַּד הָאָדָם,
מִיַּד אִישׁ אָחִיו–אֶדְרֹשׁ, אֶת-נֶפֶשׁ
6. Whoever now sheds human blood, for that
human shall his [own] blood be shed, for in
Elohim’s image he made humankind
ו  שֹׁפֵךְ דַּם הָאָדָם, בָּאָדָם דָּמוֹ יִשָּׁפֵךְ
כִּי בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים, עָשָׂה אֶת-הָאָדָם.
7. As for you – bear fruit and be many, swarm
the earth and become many on it.
ז  וְאַתֶּם, פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ; שִׁרְצוּ בָאָרֶץ, וּרְבוּ-בָהּ