The Oppressive Power of Speech

פרשת תרומה
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Written by:
SAR Staff
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

Ask each person to say their name. When they share their name, the rest of the group claps for them.

מספר נוכחות:

On a scale of 1-10 how present are you? How much are you here right now? 1=you may see me but my mind is in a totally different place, 10= I am completely with you, energized and fully locked in to whatever is happening here. 

You can try: Now, get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was lower than yours. Get up and sit in the seat of someone whose number was higher than yours. 

סיפור שלי להיום:

In one or two sentences, what is your story for today? What’s going on for you today? 

This can be done going around one by one or by breaking people into pairs.

After סיפור שלי להיום:

You can try: Does anyone have any follow up questions for anyone about their story?

Take 2-3 questions and let the person answer. 

Or try: Get up and sit in the seat of someone’s story you related to. Ask one or two students to share why they related to this person. 


  1. The parnas chooses one question from the questions below to talk about:
    • Describe a time during the week that you most enjoy
    • What is a show that you watch, enjoy watching
    • What type of music do you listen to? What do you like about it?
    • Tell a funny story from your childhood.
    • What is your earliest memory?
    • Something that people don’t know about me is…
    • What’s your full name and why are you called that?
    • Who in your family are you most similar to? Different from?
    • The last place you would find me is…
    • If you had a million dollars what would you do with it?
    • Who is a role model of yours? Someone you would like to be like?
    • My favorite time of the week is..
    • What’s your favorite chag / Jewish holiday? Why?
    • What does a typical Shabbat look like for you? A special one?
    • What’s a Torah idea/Torah teacher that you found particularly
      meaningful? Why?
    • Tell about a time when you felt a strong connection to Torah/the Jewish community.
    • What’s a part of tefillah that is meaningful to you and why?
    • Who is a Jewish role model for you? Why?
    • What is your favorite mitzvah and why?
  2. Choose one question from the questions below and TELL A STORY about it - it is important that it is a story!

Allow follow up questions to parnas/it

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

Here’s a script if its helpful - feel free to play around with it:

For the next few weeks of Vaad we are going to spend some time on parsha. We are going to pick an idea from the parsha and talk about how its relates to what’s going on in our lives right now. This is both an opportunity to get to know Torah better, and also to get to know ourselves better through learning Torah. 

This week’s parsha is parshat תרומה. In it, Hashem commands Bnei Yisrael to build the mishkan.

שמות כה, ח

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

Then we learn about a ton of details that went into the building of the mishkan. 

I would try the limmud in chavruta (5 minutes), or you can do it as a whole class. (Chavruta sheet at end of doc - I will make copies for every other student and they will be available in the office). 

In chavruta:

אבות דרבי נתן יא

Rabbi Tarfon says: Even God does not cause God's Presence to dwell upon Israel until they do the labor [of building the Mishkan], as it says, 'Build me a holy place and [then] I will dwell amongst them.

שמעיה אומר: שמעיה אומר - ׳אהוב את המלאכה׳ (אבות א:י) וכו׳. רבי טרפון אומר אף הקב״ה לא השרה שכינתו על ישראל עד שעשו את המלאכה, שנאמר ׳ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם׳

  • Summarize what the source is trying to say 
  • What is your relationship like with shul currently? When do you like going to shul? When is it hard? 
  • Did the pandemic change your relationship to shul?
  • Have you ever worked at going to shul, or worked at making shul meaningful? What did that look like? What can that look like?

In the whole group - each person share one line their partner said that stood out for them.

ברכה אחרונה

Choose any one of the following:

  • What is your מספר נוכחות now?
  • What is one thing you learned about someone else today?
  • What is one thing you learned about yourself today?

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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