I am excited to launch "The Parsha Discussion," a new project that I am inaugurating for 5777. It is a weekly post that is designed to stimulate a discussion around the Shabbat table, especially with teenagers, based around the parsha.
Let me explain how this project was born.
A past-student contacted me and asked me to learn with him when he was visiting Israel. He wanted to study Parshat Hashavua with me. I was surprised. Why come half way around the world to study parsha; there is so much already on the internet!
He explained: "I love to discuss the parsha at the Shabbat Table. When my kids were young, we did a parsha quiz. Y'know - How many animals entered the Ark? How many sons did Noah have? For how many days did it rain? But now, my kids are 8 and 12; they don't want these informational questions. They find them childish. And I don't know how to raise discussions which are informed and relevant to them."
I find that many of my friends, even those who have learned in yeshiva, sometimes don't have the time, or lack the confidence to engage the young-adults and other adults around their tables in significant Torah discussions.
I plan to send out a post every Thursday in preparation for Shabbat which will be short, text-based, and will include questions for discussion.
Others have done this before; one fabulous book of this genre is Aryeh Ben-David's "Around the Shabbat Table." This is yet another crack at that whip: לא עליך המלאכה לגמור, ולא אתה בן חורין להבטל ממנה.