Simchat Torah

Lesson Objective:
Know what Simchat Torah is and why we celebrate it
Understand the importance of the Torah

Lesson Outcome:
By the end of the lesson, the children will have understood the meaning and importance of Simchat Torah and created something precious

Resources:
Torah Scroll
Shema
Shema Bubble Writing
Torah Mantles
Torah Mantle Template
Mezuzot/Pictures of Mezuzot
Mezuzah Fact Sheet
Activity Option 3: Air dry clay, Mezuzah Text, Clay, Mezuzah pictures, ribbon
Activity Option 4: Matchboxes, Mezuzah Text
Tree of Life

 

Introduction

  • Brainstorm about Simchat Torah – Recap prior knowledge about Simchat Torah. Encourage children to name any customs or traditions we have and do on Simchat Torah. Simchat Torah is a celebration marking the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. There is great rejoicing, dancing and celebration. Most communities will honours members by asking them to read the first and last portions.

 

Main Teaching

  • Look at the Torah Scroll – Using a small Torah scroll (or even the main scroll), unroll it to show the children the first and last portions (this is obviously quite tricky with the main scroll and so you may wish to just show part of the scroll). Tell the children that the first portion is all about Creation of the World and that the last portion in the Torah is about Joshua leading the Israelites to the Promised Land after the death of Moses.
  • Teach the children about the Torah scroll – How to hold it, how to read from it, why it is so special and why we decorate it with special cloth, jewels and shields. Talk to them about how it is written by a scribe and how precious it is. Compare to the most precious item that children have. Why is the Torah so precious to Jews?

 

Activity

  • Option 1: The Importance of the Scribe – Display the word Shema in Hebrew on the board. Ask the students to copy it onto a piece of paper. They can have several attempts to make the word as perfect as possible. Make the connection between the Shema in a mezuzah and a Torah scroll – both written on parchment, both need to be perfect. Younger children to decorate the word shema to show how important one word is. Older children should write the word out in bubble writing and decorate it.
  • Option 2: Decorate a Torah Cover – Children to use templateto create a beautiful cover for a Torah Scroll. This should be well decorated, covered with patterns and pictures from the Torah stories. Children to spend time making sure that it is a cover that would be suitable for the Torah
  • Option 3: Make a Clay Mezuzah – Give the children some air drying clay and ask them to make a mezuzah case. Make sure it has a hole at each end so it can be nailed to the wall and that there is an opening to put in the mezuzah text. (See picture in resources). Encourage children to decorate their mezuzah with a shin on the outside. Give each child a copy of the Shema or to write it themselves. Children to roll it up and tie with a ribbon to be placed inside their mezuzah when it is dry.
  • Option 4: Make a Matchbox Mezuzah – Same as activity option 3, but children to make a mezuzah out of a matchbox (or similar). Children to cover the box in paper and decorate with the shin in any style they wish. Children to add the Shema text or write it themselves.

 

Plenary

  • Look at the Torah – Look again at the Torah scroll and see whether children can recognise any Hebrew words.
  • Tree of Life Children to sing “It is a Tree of Life” and discuss the words and the meaning behind the words. Why is the Torah scroll known as the Tree of Life?