Embodied within the Torah are values which teach us how to treat others.
Several years ago at Simchat Torah, I showed the children in my class a small Torah Scroll and asked, “What is this?”
“A Torah!” several children shouted.
“What is inside the Torah?” I continued.
“Writing!” “It’s a book,” “No, it’s a scroll!”
I nodded. “It’s all those things, but what do the words in the Torah tell us?”
None of the children responded.
When I told the children that the Torah was the story about the Jewish people, the children still looked confused. “Would you like to hear a Torah story?”
“Yes!” the children responded.
“This is the first story in the Torah,” I explained as I told the children the story of Creation. “We celebrate Shabbat because God rested on the seventh day. He was very tired after making the whole world.”
“My daddy gets tired from working too.”
Next I read the story of Noah’s Ark. Many of the children were familiar with the story and added the names of several of the animals on Noah’s Ark.
The children, almost as if a chorus, said, “I like Torah stories!”
We decided that each Friday we would read a different Torah Story, & make our own classroom Torah.
The next week, after reading a story, I asked, “The Torah tells us how we should treat each other. Can you think of how we treat our friends in this classroom?”
“We share,” “We don’t hit.” “We help each other.”
The following week I showed the children pictures I had taken of them celebrating holidays, sharing, helping each other and playing together.
“Can you think of a way these pages can become a Torah Scroll?”
“Put them in a book? “Put them in a folder?” “We can draw the Torah?” “We can read it?” “We can glue the pages together?”
And so, our class made our Torah.
My newest Sammy adventure celebrates the holiday of Simchat Torah. As I wrote the story, the children from this class were my inspiration.