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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


·        The parasha elaborates on Hashem's command to Moshe to build the Mishkan.
·  Hashem tells Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael to bring "trumot" (donations) in order to build the Mishkan. Every Jew should bring just what they are able to bring.
·  Afterwards, the Torah gives exact instructions how to build the Mishkan and its "keilim" (vessels)- Aron Hakodesh, Kaporet, the Shulchan, the Menorah, the Clothes which will cover the Mishkan, the wooden Planks used to build the Mishkan, the Parochet, and the Mizbeach HaNechoshet.


Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other.
( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and bat (daughter...) and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)

This week's Parsha starts out by saying that Hashem told Moshe to tell Bnei Yisrael "Vayikchu li teruma”- And let them take for Me an offering.
The ALSHUCH asks, why does the parsha begin with the words take for me a teruma when it should have said,  give for me a teruma. The explanation is that  the person who gives tzedaka gets a lot more than if he receives. 
We can learn from here that a person who gives tzedaka will be matzliach.  He will have שפע, ברכה והצלחה.   The gematria of those three words equals Vayikchu li truma.

In Perek 25/18 the Torah tells us about the keruvim. According to Rashi, these keruvim had the face of a baby.  In Bereishit 3/24 it also talks about the keruvim when Hashem took Adam out of Gan Eden.  There it states that they were angels of destruction.
The question is, what were these Kruvim?  Were they beautiful angels or angels of destruction?  We can learn from here that the environment can strongly influence the actions of children.  If children are sent to good schools and they see positive influences at home, they can hopefully turn into beautiful angels.  If they are in a bad environment, they can turn into angels of destruction.


 Hashem spoke to Moshe in this week’s Parsha,
And asked that Bnei Yisrael bring a truma.
Each person should bring what his heart desired,
There was no specific amount that was required.

Anything they give would be perfect, just right,
Gold, brass, silver, or oil for the light.
Skin of ram dyed red, skins of seals, acacia wood,
Everyone contributed whatever they could.

Scarlet yarn, fine linen, goats hair that was great,
And onyx stones for the eifod and for the breastplate.
Or incense of spices and oil for anointing,
These are ideas of what they could bring.

They could contribute one thing, they could bring more.
Do you know what they needed all of these things for?
There is a famous quote that Hashem does guarantee,
“I will dwell amongst you if you make this for me”.

Can you find this pasuk, can you say it out loud?
You know this week’s riddle and I am so proud.

This week’s parsha we learned in detail how the Bnei Yisrael were supposed to build the Mishkan.  We learn how they built the kruvim (Cherubs).  And the Kruvim  shall stretch out their wings on high... and their faces shall look one to another (Terumah-25:20)
When Bnei Yisroel fulfilled Hashem’s commands, the Kruvim would face each other; and when Bnei Yisroel did not fulfill Hashem’s commands, the Kruvim would face the walls of the room..
Have 2 players sit back to back each holding a doll or a stuffed animal.  Tell some things about yourself that are true or false.  Have each player face the doll towards them if they think it is true or away from them if they think it is false.  Have them look at each other’s dolls to see if they have the right answer.  Talk about the kruvim and how they faced each other or turned away from each other. 
  This weeks parsha talks about lechem hapanim.  Why not set some time to bake Challot with your kids.  You could have them help you roll it, knead it, separate the challa and glaze it.  They will be proud of their accomplishments at the Shabbat table.  
·        This week’s parsha talks about the ability of giving something that is yours to someone else.  Give Tzedaka with your kids this week.  Go through their closet and let them pick something they do don’t wear anymore and give it to a poor person.


What you will need:
1.     A small rectangular cake
2.     Pipe cleaners
3.     2 plastic babies
4.     Marshmallows
5.     Long candy sticks
6.     Frosting
·        Frost the rectangular cake.
·        Place the pipe cleaners on each end of the cake.
·        Stick the candy sticks through the pipe cleaners.
·        Place the 2 babies on top, facing each other.
·        Stick the marshmallows with marshmallow fluff to hold in place.
What you will need:

·        Gold round candies
·        Flower looking candies
·        Button looking candies

Design the menorah out of the candies.  Gold colored candies work best.

Lechem Hapanim:
What you will need:

1.     Cookie dough
2.     Sprinkles

·   Divide the cookie dough into twelve balls.
· Braid each cookie dough.
· Sprinkle brown and or white sprinkles on top to look like seeds.
·  Bake and then place it in a rectangular tray- 4 rows of 3.

Cookie Dough:
    * 1 1/2 cups margarine, softened
    * 2 cups white sugar
    * 4 eggs
    * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    * 5 cups flour
    * 2 teaspoons baking powder
    * 1 teaspoon salt


1.     In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Divide the cookie dough into twelve balls. Braid each cookie dough.

Sprinkle brown and or white sprinkles on top to look like seeds.

2.     Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3.     Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Place in a rectangular tray- 4 rows of 3. 

Thought of the week:
The Midrash teaches us that when the Shechina of Hashem descended to "dwell" in the Mishkan, it was the first time that the Schechina dwelled in this world since the sin of Eytz Hada'at. The Midrash also teaches us that when Hashem would speak to Moshe, the "voice" of Hashem would descend from the heaven and project from between the two Kruvim. It is truly inspiring to know that the vessels and Mishkan, all man made objects, were raised from the mundane to the highest levels of holiness. Similarly, the Nefesh Hachayim teaches us that our mitzvoth can ascend to reach even the loftiest of spiritual worlds. Conversely, the Nefesh Hachayim also teaches that when Titus defiled the physical Beit Hamikdash, he was only able to do so because the Jews had already defiled the spiritual Beit Hamikdash with their sins. Man has the ability of reaching the highest spiritual levels or to defile them. If we set our minds to it, our Torah and Mitzvot can rebuild the spiritual Beit Hamikdash which will be quickly followed with the physical Beit Hamikdash as well.     

  Answer to parsha puzzle: 
(The Bnei Yisrael were bringing all these items to build the mishkan.  “Veasu li mikdash veshachanti betocham”.)    
             Enjoy!  Have a great Shabbat!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Parshat Beshalach
                                Happy Tu Bshvat!!!             

Minhag on Shabbat Shira to leave crumbs for the birds. (Pretzels, chocolate and candy treat)

  •    Moshe takes Yosef's remains as they leave Mitzrayim
  •  Meanwhile, Pharaoh and the Egyptians regret their decision to free Bnei Yisrael. They chase after them and almost catch up to them at the Red Sea.
  •  When Bnei Yisrael see the Egyptians approaching them they start to complain to Moshe.
  • Hashem tells Moshe to lift his staff over the sea. Moshe does so and the sea splits in half and Bnei Yisrael cross over. 
  • When the Egyptians try to follow them, the sea closes over them and drowns the whole army.  
  • When Bnei Yisrael see that they were saved they sing a song of Praise to Hashem 
  • Bnei Yisrael travel to two places and in both places complain to Moshe about something they are missing. Hashem provides them with water and meat. Finally, Hashem decides to give Bnei Yisrael heavenly food every day (except Shabbat; on Friday they gather double) called Munn.
  • When Bnei Yisrael travel to Refidim, they encounter Amalek who attack Bnei Yisrael. Yehoshua, Moshe's student, leads the army, while Moshe stands on a mountain with his hands raised supported by Aharon and his nephew Chur. Bnei Yisrael defeat Amalek. Bnei Yisrael are then commanded to wipe out Amalek.
Something we are taught both at home and school,
That we should follow every rule.
And appreciate all that we’ve got,
Because Baruch Hashem we have a lot!

Sometimes it might be hard to tell,
That we do have it really well.
We might complain and want some more,
And not be happy with what we had before.
Eizehu Ashir Hasameach Bichelko,
Be happy with what you have, that for sure you know.
If your friend has more than you,
Be happy for them, that is what you should do.
In this week’s parsha we can see,
That Bnei Yisrael were not so happy.
Even though they should be in awe,
From all the nissim that they saw.
They felt something was missing, that it was a pain,
And then they started to complain.
What 2 things did they miss? That they had none,
And because of this Hashem brought the Munn.
If you know the answer, then I am glad to say,
You really know your Parsha today!
  • Then Moshe and the Children of Israel will sing this song. . ." The Shabbat of Parshat Beshalach is known as Shabbat Shira, the Shabbat of Song, because the parsha contains the SHIRAT HAYAM, the "Song of the Sea" which was sung after the miracle of the parting of the red sea.
Singing at the Shabbat table is a beautiful way to enjoy Shabbat.  Why not make a fun game out of singing in honor of Shabbat Shira.  The first person starts a song and everyone joins in.  When the song ends listen for the last letter of that song.  Try to start another song beginning with that letter.  Keep trying different songs and even have someone stop a song in the middle and use the last letter of the word that you stopped at.
Go around the table and each person should say something good that happened to him this week and something good he did to someone else. This is an activity we like to do every week at our Shabbat table.  Sometimes it is hard to think about the good that has happened and it is important to appreciate the good things in life!

  Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
 "ויקח משה את עצמות יוסף עמו", and Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him. Gemara Sotah 13/1 teaches us, how beloved the mitzvot are for Moshe Rabbeinu.  While all of the Bnei Yisrael were busy gathering the gold of Mitzrayim, Moshe was busy doing the mitzvah of taking care of Yosef's bones.

Even though, taking the spoils of Mitzrayim was also a mitzvah, Moshe was not interested in the riches.  In Mishlei 10/18 it says "חכם לב יקח מצוות".    A smart person will take mitzvot.  If Moshe was such a smart person, he could have done both, gather the wealth and the bones.

Moshe Rabbeinu wanted to teach Bnei Yisrael a valuable lesson.  Yosef was the man who had all the gold and silver in the world, yet when he left the world the only thing he had left were his bones. The riches and wealth did not matter.

Every day is important in life and everyday counts.  At the end of the day, a good name is what will remain.  Make every day count.  Do an act of kindness and good deed.  That will always be remembered.

Thought of the week:
Why was it significant for the Torah to specify that Miriam and the women went out with Tupim to thank Hashem after Kriyat Yam Suf? Rashi explains that the women were sure that Hashem would make miracles for the Jewish people and they therefore brought tupim with them from Egypt in order to have the means to thank Hashem for those future miracles. The Tupim therefore symbolize the women's steadfast emuna that Hashem constantly watches over us and will even break the ironclad laws of nature to save the Jewish people.

In fact, the Gemara in Sota informs us that we were redeemed from Egypt through the merit of the Jewish women who had steadfast emuna that Hashem would keep his promise and take us out of Egypt. That emuna allowed them to continue having children despite the evil decrees of Pharaoh to drown all the male Jewish babies. We see that the power of emuna is immense. That is why Habakuk tells us that the foundation of Judaism is:  וצדיק באמונתו יחיה      
Tof Miriam:

What you will need:

1.     Round cake
2.     Frosting
3.    Round cookies

·   Insert the round cookies into the cake all around.
·   Frost the cake
There you have Miriam’s tambourine!
Splitting of the Sea:
Since this parsha talks about splitting of the sea, why not create your own kriyat yam suf cake.  It will be hard to “split” this cake, you will want it all for yourself!   Watch out, this cake can disappear in a “split” second! 
What you will need:
1.     One big rectangular cake
2.     Blue frosting
3.     Cookie dough
4.     Horse-shaped cookie
5.     People-shaped cookies
6.     Fish gummies

·        Cut the cake in half.
·        Fill in the middle with the blue frosting (whip with blue food coloring).
·        Put the cookie people upside down to resemble the mitzrim.
·       Stick the fish gummies in the frosting
·        Place the horse cookies on their sides.

Chur, Aharon and Moshe:

What you will need:

1.   Cookie dough
2. People shaped cookie cutter
  • Make three people cookies.
·Put up their hands and attach it to each other.
·Bake and enjoy.

Discuss with your kids about how when Moshe’s hands were raised that was a sign from Hashem that Bnei Yisrael will win the war over Amalek.

Added Suggestion:
·        Make split pea soup (For the “splitting” of the sea).

Split Pea Soup:

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic crushed
2 cups dried green peas
8 cups stock
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Fry the vegetables in the oil for 10 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the peas, stock,  and seasoning.
Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  
Simmer on low for at least 1 hour 15 minutes.
(answer to parsha puzzle:  Water and meat)

                               Have a wonderful Shabbat!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Delicious Seder Plate, Zroah, Beitza, Karpas, Maror, Charoset, Chazeret

  Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
In this week's parsha it says:
Cquote2.svg  וַיְהִי חֹשֶׁךְ אֲפֵלָה בְּכָל אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים. לֹא רָאוּ אִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו וְלֹא קָמוּ אִישׁ מִתַּחְתָּיו, שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים. Cquote1.svg
שמות, י׳, כ״א-כ״ג
"There was a thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days:  they saw not one another, neither did anyone move from their place, for three days..."  The greatest darkness that there can be is when לא ראו איש את אחיו. When a fellow Jew is in need and-  לא קמו איש מתחתיו, no one does anything to help him out, and turns away, that is the greatest darkness.

 Happy Anniversary to my wonderful parents!  May you have many more wonderful years together ad meah veesrim!


  • Hashem brings another two plagues on the Mitzrim: locusts and darkness.
  • Hashem tells Moshe of his plan for the last plague: Makat Bechorot, death of the first born. He explains to Moshe that this will push Pharoah to let Bnei Yisrael go free.
  • Moshe and Aharon learn about the mitzvah of Rosh Chodesh from Hashem and teach it to Bnei Yisrael.
  • Bnei Yisrael slaughter lambs to use as a Korban Pesach, and use the blood to mark their doorposts so Hashem passes over the Jewish houses as He kills all the first born Egyptian boys.
  • At midnight, Hashem passed over Egypt and killed all the firstborn Egyptian boys. Pharoah panics and rushes to find Moshe to tell him that the Jews are free to go and that they should leave immediately.
  • Bnei Yisrael left Egypt the next morning and left with lots of gold and silver and cattle. They traveled to Ramses and Sukkot, until they reached the Red Sea.
  • Hashem commands Bnei Yisrael to sanctify all the firstborn males, in remembrance of makat bechorot


In this week’s Parsha, Parshat Bo,
There are a lot of things we know.
Pharaoh said “no” as was predicted,
And then three more plagues Hashem inflicted.
First came the locusts, it destroyed the crop,
The Mitzriyim screamed, please make this stop!
And once it stopped, without a doubt,
He did not allow the Jews to go out.
And then came darkness no one could see,
But the Jews all saw just perfectly.
Pharaoh was stubborn he said o.k.,
He will let the Jews out right away.
He then said no, so each first born male will die,
The Mitzriyim all began to cry.
Just let them go, and do it quick,
That last makka seemed to do the trick.
There is a date and a certain holiday,
The Jews made something quickly and were on their way.
Do you know the answer, do you know this clue,
You are a Parsha Wiz then if you do.


At midnight of the appointed night, the last plague falls upon the Mitzriyim, with every non-Jewish firstborn dying, including Pharaoh's own son. Pharaoh quickly sends the Jewish people from Egypt. The Bnei Israel travel forth in a hurry with the great wealth they have just been given by the Egyptians.
Give each child an empty plastic bag.  Without warning them, tell them they have one minute to fill it up with what they think is important.  When they come back to the table, have each one show what they placed in their bag.  Each person can also make up a story with the items in their bag.  See how many different stories you could come up with, with the same items.  Discuss how Bnei Yisrael left in such a hurry.  How does it feel?  What would you take with you if you had to leave in a hurry?  Why? What would you leave behind?

    Blindfold each child and spin them around.  Have them try to walk around the room without banging into anything.  Discuss how it feels like to be in darkness.

· Look at the moon this week.  Describe the different phases of the moon and how it pertains to Rosh Chodesh.


Korban Pesach:
What you will need:
1.     Cookie dough
2.     Cookie cutter in the shape of a sheep
3.     Small rectangular cake
4.     Long thin licorice
5.     4 round wafer cookies
·   Make Sheep shaped cookies.  Add chocolate chip to make an eye.
·   Once they are cool, you could add marshmallows to them (using marshmallow fluff to stick it together) to make it look like sheep skin.
·  Place the rectangular cake on a plate or covered cookie sheet.
·   Place the round wafer cookie on each side to make it look like a bedpost.
·   Lean the sheep cookie against the rectangular cake and tie a licorice piece around its neck.
·   Tie the other end to the bedpost.
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange, minced
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Chocolate paste:
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons warm vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans
Prepare the chocolate paste by placing the cocoa and oil in a small bowl
and mix well. Add a drop or more of oil if the mixture appears too thick.
For the cake, in a large bowl, blend the oil with the sugar , scraping the bowl often.  Blend in the eggs and stir in the vanilla, water, orange juice, and zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet ingredients.

Pour one third of the batter into a smaller bowl. Stir the chocolate paste to make a chocolate batter and add the chocolate chips. Pour alternating portions of white and chocolate batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cakes for 35 to 40minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes.
Seder Plate:

What you will need:  

1.     10 inch round cake.
2.     Frosting
3.     Fondant or paper muffin holders
4.     Bone candies
5.     Candies that look like eggs
6.     Praline candies
7.     Green candies
8.     Marshmallows
9.     Green candies
    ·        Frost the round cake. 
·        Either take 6 paper cups and place it around the cake or make the holders out of fondant.
·        Your Seder plate is now ready.  Add each of the candies to their place.  Put the egg candies- symbolizing the beitza  on the top right, the bone candies- symbolizing the zroah on the left and so on.  Use your imagination….

Thought of the week:

In Parshat Bo, Hashem commands the Jews in Egypt and all future generations to fulfill the mitzvah of the Korban Pesach. The Ramban discusses the significance of using a lamb for the Korban Pesach. He explains that when Hashem punishes a nation, he also destroys their god. This helps teach the nations of the world that Hashem is the true God. Therefore, since the lamb was the god of Egypt, Hashem commanded the Jews to use the lamb for the mitzvah of Korban Pesach. It is also no coincidence that Hashem vanquished the Egyptians during the zodiac of aries (whose symbol is a ram) since that is the time of the year when their god was at its strongest. Rashi explains that this is why Hashem destroyed Sdom at daybreak when both the sun and the moon were present since both were worshipped by the people of Sdom. Looking back at history can help strengthen our belief in Hashem which is why the Torah writes:    "זכר ימות עולם בינו שנות דור ודור שאל אביך ויגדך זקניך ויאמרו לך".

Have a wonderful Shabbat!  Ruchie