When you read a story to your children, do they want to hear it again as soon as you have finished it? What do they like about hearing the story again? Why do we like to hear familiar stories over and over?
On Simchat Torah, it's as if the entire Jewish community is shouting "Again!" as we finish the Torah and begin it anew.
In this family discussion guide, reasons for reading the Torah each year will be looked at on three different levels, to provide conversation starters for children of all ages. Of course, each idea can be adapted for all ages.
Discussion Questions for ages 4-8
- Which story in the Torah do you like to hear over and over again?
- Why do you like the story?
- What is your favorite part of the story?
- Who is your favorite character?
- If you could change something in the story, what would you change?
- Why do you think you like to hear stories repeated?
Discussion Questions for ages 9-13
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- Why do you think that we read the Torah over again each year?
- Read the verse from the book of Joshua and discuss the question below.
- According to the verse, why should the Torah constantly be studied?
- What lessons have you learned from the stories in the Torah?
- What values have you learned from the laws in the Torah?
- Do you think that you learn more from the stories in the Torah or from the laws? How is each type of learning different?
- What types of lessons do you think are learned best through stories?
Discussion questions for ages 14 and up
- What is Ben Bag Bag referring to when he says to "Turn it over"?
- What does it mean to turn it over? What are you actually doing?
- According to Ben Bag Bag, why should a person continue to study Torah over and over again?
- If everything is in the Torah, do you think that Ben Bag Bag sees a reason to study anything else? Do you agree with that opinion?
- If we are familiar with the Torah from reading it a few times, why do we have to continue reading it until we are old? What might we gain from additional study?
- How do your life experiences change the way you understand Torah stories? What story do you look at differently now from when you were a small child? What has made the difference? Do you think that future life experiences might change your perspective?