ReadingTorahMitzvah Project Ideas Based on Torah Portions

Sometimes looking for a mitzvah project is overwhelming, but this list lets you explore ideas based on your Torah portion! Click on your Torah portion and you may find a few things:
1) Themes — These are big ideas that are found in that Torah portion.
2) P’shat — P’shat is the simple meaning that relates to the theme. It is a Hebrew phrase with its English translation which you may find in the verses you are reading for your b’nei mitzvah!
3) Possible Organizations/Ideas — These are links that you may follow to get you to information on organizations that fit with the Torah portion, theme, and/or p’shat.

We always appreciate your input. Email us if you have suggestions for additions, or if you find a broken or incorrect link within our site.

Parshat B'reishit

 

Main Theme:  Beginning, Creation, Kiddushin (Holiness), Shabbat Menucha (Rest), Knowledge
P’shat:   Bereshit Bara Elohim — In the beginning, God created the world

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:  Blindness
P’shat:   Vatifachena Einei Sheneihem — Their eyes were open

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:  Nakedness
P’shat:   Arumim Hem — They were naked

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:  Pikuach Nefesh — Saving a Life
P’shat:   Damim — Blood

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:  Responsibility for others: V’Ahavta L’Reyacha Kimocha​
P’shat:   Shomer Achi Anochi? — Am I my brother’s keeper?

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Noach

Main Theme:    Building
P’shat:    Aseh Lichah Tevat Atzei-Gofer — Make yourself an ark made of gopher wood

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Migdal Bavel — Multiple languages, cultures
P’shat:     Havah nivneh lanu eer u-migdal — Let’s build a city and a tower, Vayifetz Adonai Otam — God scattered them

Possible Organizations/Ideas


 

Main Theme:   Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof — Pursuit of Justice — Sin vs. Righteousness
P’shat:   Noach Eesh Tzadik — Noah was a righteous man, Vatishachet Ha-aretz — The land was corrupted

Possible Organizations/Ideas

 

Parshat Lech Lecha

Main Theme:    Brit — Covenant

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Famine
P’shat:   Ra-av — Famine

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Go forth, calling

P’shat:   Lech Lecha Miartzecha — Go forth from your land

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayera

Main Theme:    Welcoming the stranger — Hachnasat Orchim

P’Shat:    Shalosh Anashim — Three Men

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof — Pursuit of Justice — Warning against wrongdoing, promoting justice

P’Shat:    Nitziv Melach — pillar of salt

Possible Organizations/Ideas

  • What would you do to pursue justice?
  • Work with patients whose memory is not functioning 100%. Maybe Alzheimer’s patients or those with injuries affecting their short term memory.
  • Attend a rally, sign a petition, volunteer, embrace diversity, stand up for what you believe
  • Golden Manor Senior Services
  • Mifalot
  • Project Harmony Israel
Parshat Chayei Sarah

Main Theme:    Resident Alien
P’Shat:    Ger Toshav — Resident Alien

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Comforting the Mourner
P’Shat:    Chayei Sarah – Sarah’s life

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Toldot

Main Theme:    L’dor V’Dor — Generation to Generation
P’Shat:    Eileh Toldot — These are the generations

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayetze

Main Theme:    Dreams, Children
P’Shat:    Hinei Sulam — There was a ladder

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Weak eyes, blind
P’Shat:    Einei Rachot — Weak Eyes

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayishlach

Main Theme:    Wrestling, name change, reconciliation
P’Shat:    Vaye-abek — He fought

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Rape of Dinah, women’s issues
P’Shat:    Vayar Otah — He had sex with her

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Sibling Love

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayeshev

Main Theme:    Yosef in a foreign land, but rises to the top — immigrants

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Miketz

Main Theme:    Famine, dreams
P’shat:  
Hatochalna Haparot Harakot…et Sheva Parot Harishonot HaBriot — The seven thin cows…ate up the first seven healthy cows

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayigash

Main Theme:    Nakedness of the land, Bal Tashchit — protection of the environment
P’shat:  
Arevat Haaretz — Nakedness of the Land

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Beginning anew, planting seeds for food
P’shat:  
He Lachem Zera — Here’s a seed to plant (in the Land)

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayechi

Main Theme:   Bikkur cholim — visiting the sick, Jacob on his deathbed, Pikuach Nefesh — Saving a life
P’shat:   Vayechi Yaakov — This was the life of Jacob

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Shemot

Main Theme:   Freedom to worship and come and go
P’shat:   Shalach et ami — Let my people go

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Children in jeopardy
P’shat:   Eem Ben Hu, Vahamiten Oto — If it is a boy, kill him

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vaera

Main Theme:   Spokesperson–confidence
P’shat:   Bo daber el Far-o Melech Mitzrayim — Go speak to Pharoah, King of Egypt

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Hardened Heart, Plagues
P’shat:   Vayechezak Lev Far-o — Pharoah’s heart hardened

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Bo

Main Theme:   Deliverance, commemoration, memory; generation to generation
P’shat:   Vi-hayah hayom hazeh lachem lizicaron…lidoroteichem —This will be a day to remember for all of you…for every generation

 

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Beshalach

Main Theme:   Children’s rights: Amalek attacks from behind where the children were
P’shat:   Vayavo Amalek Vayilachem — Amalek came and attacked

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Hunger and thirst

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Yitro

Main Theme:   Lightening the load
P’shat:   Madoo-a atah yoshev livadecha? — Why are you doing it all yourself?

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   10 Commandments
P’shat:   Ani Adonai Elohechem asher Hotzeitichem — I am Adonai your God who took you out

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Mishpatim

Main Theme:   Honoring the stranger
P’shat:   Ger Lo Toneh — Don’t shun the stranger

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Terumah

Main Theme:   Giving of self
P’shat:   Yidvenu Leebo — Giving of one’s Heart

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Titzaveh

Main Theme:   Feeling, appearing holy
P’shat:   Kodesh La’Adonai — Holy to God

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Building, creating
P’shat:   ViAsu Et Bigdei Aharon — They will make Aaron’s vestments

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Ki Tisa

Main Theme:   Mob mentality — the power of a crowd
P’shat:   Vaykahel Ha-am Al Aharon.. Aseh Lanu Elohim — The people ganged up on Aaron…make us a God

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayakhel

Main Theme:   Artisans — Creating holy space through art
P’shat:   Vichol Chacham Lev — All the skilled ones (artisans)

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Pikudei

Main Theme:   God’s presence in the Tabernacle
P’shat:   Vayichas HeAnan et Ohel Moed — God’s presence filled the Tabernacle

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayikra

Main Theme:   Offering, rules and regulations, becoming personal Olah (offering/sacrifice), Priestly portion
P’shat:   Ki Yakriv Mihem Korban – When one brings a sacrifice

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Tzav

Main Theme:   Being holy, making other things holy — Mitzvot — Making others feel holy
P’shat:   Kadosh L’Adonai — Holy to God

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:  Blood as a way to holiness
P’shat:   Vayikach Moshe MiDamo – He took his blood

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Shmini

Main Theme:    God’s appearance amongst the people in the Mishkan, appearing as holy — feeling that way
P’Shat:    Adonai Nirah Eleichem — God appears to you

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    God’s prescribed method of worship — going through the process of becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, partnering
P’Shat:    Ka-asher Tzivah Adonai — As God commanded

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Tazria

Main Theme:    Impurity/Purity, physical disability, social outcast — promoting inclusiveness
P’Shat:    Adam Ki Yiyeh Ba-or Bisaro Si-et…Vitimeh Oto…Vi-hisgir Ha-Cohen — Someone with a swelling on his skin… the priest will pronounce unclean…and separate from the community

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Burnt skin by fire, rehabilitation
P’Shat:    Meechva — Burn 

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Metzora

Main Theme:    Infected houses, walls
P’Shat:    Nega Tsara’at — A leper 

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Acharei Mot

Main Theme:    Scape goating — placing blame on the innocent, tolerance
P’Shat:    La-azazel — The sin bearing scapegoat

Possible Organizations/Ideas

 

Parshat Kedoshim

Main Theme:    Kidushah, food for the poor
P’shat:  
Lo Tichaleh Peat Sadecha — Do not harvest the corner of your fields

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind
P’shat:   Lo Tikalel Cheres U-lifnei Eever Al Titen Meechshol — Don’t curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Love your neighbor as yourself
P’shat:   V’Ahavta Lireyacha Kimocha – Love your neighbor as yourself

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Honoring the elderly
P’shat:   Vihadarta P’nei Zaken — Honor the elderly

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Welcoming the stranger
P’shat:   Ger B’Artzechem — A stranger in your land

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Emor

Main Theme:    Making those with disabilities feel holy
P’shat:  
Eesh…Asher Yiyeh Lo Moom…Lo Yikrav — A person with a deformity cannot give a sacrifice

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Chagim-Holidays, Pure vs. Unclean
P’shat:   Moadei Adonai Asher Tikra-u Otam Mikraei Kodesh —These are the time of Lord, which you will proclaim as holidays

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Behar

Main Theme:    Harvests — foodv
P’shat:  
Yovel Hee — It is the Jubilee Year

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Slavery, child labor

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat B'chukotai

Main Theme:    Faintness of heart
P’shat:  
Morech Bilevav — Faintness of Heart

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Sanctuary
P’shat:   Vayetze Miamach Hoo Uvanav — The slave and his children will go free

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Bamidbar

Main Theme:    Tabernacle, rebellion, desert wanderings, case law

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Pidyon Haben — redeeming
P’shat:   Vi-et Pidooyei…Mi-b’chor B’nei Yisrael — The redeeming…of the first born of Israel

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Naso

Main Theme:    Nazir — Separateness, difference, hair
P’shat:   Neder Nazir — The Vow of the Nazarite

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Beha'alotecha

Main Theme:    Healing, support for others — God dwells in the Mishkan to support the people
P’shat:  
Menucha — Rest

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Shelach L'cha

Main Theme:    Scouts, keeping the faith
P’shat:  
Asu Lahem Tzitzit al Kanfei Bigdeihem — They are to make themselves fringes on the corner of their clothes

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Korach

Main Theme:    Tithe
P’shat:  
Ki Tikchu Miet B’nei Yisrael et Ha-ma’aser – When you collect the tithe offering from the People of Israel

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    God threatens to destroy community — community building

Parshat Chukat

Main Theme:    Thirst
P’shat:  
Vi-lo Hayah Mayim La’edah — There was no water for the community

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:    Thirst

Possible Organizations/Ideas

  • Encourage team building
  • Learning to take a step back from anger and teaching others how to do the same
Parshat D'varim

Main Theme:   Recap of the four preceding books, God is One, Love God, Do Mitzvot

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Tisha B’Av, Galut/Exile
P’shat:   Bo-u Urshu et Ha-aretz Asher Neeshba Adonai La’Avoteichem — Come and take possession of the land God swore to your ancestors

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat V'etchanan

Main Theme:   City of Refuge
P’shat:   Yavdil Moshe Shalosh Arim…Lanus Shamah Rotzeach — Moses separated out three cities…to which a murderer could escape

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Ekev

Main Theme:   Manna — abundance of food – Thanks to God, worship and punishments
P’shat:   Vaya-achilcha et Ha-man — You will eat the manna

Possible Organizations/Ideas


Main Theme:   Befriend the stranger
P’shat:   Vi-ohev Ger Latet Lo Lechem Vi’simlah — Love the stranger and give him/her food and clothing 

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Re'eh

Main Theme:   Setting aside the tithe
P’shat:   Ma-aser — Tithe offering

Possible Organizations/Ideas

  • Collect Tzedakah before every Shabbat and take the money and purchase gifts for the needy and then hand deliver and pass out gifts
  • Hanukkah Toy Drive and then hand deliver and pass out gifts
  • Mifalot
  • Yad Eliezer
  • Check with Jewish Family Service about their collection of Hannukah toys for their client families.
  • Some families decide to exchange smaller gifts at Hanukkah and take a portion of what they would have spent to buy toys for disadvantaged youth.
  • Second Chance Toys
  • Holocaust Stamp Project
Parshat Shoftim

Main Theme:   Authority, Justice
P’shat:   Tzedek, Tzedek Teerdof, Ayin Tachat Ayin — Justice, justice you will pursue, an eye for an eye

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Ki Tetze

Main Theme:   Proper treatment of animals — Tsar Baalei Chayim
P’shat:   Lo Tir-eh et Chamor Achichah O Shoro Noflim Ba-derech – You will not see your neighbor’s donkey or ox fallen on the road and ignore it

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Ki Tavo

Main Theme:   Strangers, orphans, widowed
P’shat:   Ha-ma’aser Vinatata La’Levi La’Ger La’Yitom V’la-almanah — You will give part of your food offering to the priest, stranger, the orphan and the widow

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Nitzavim

Main Theme:   The Levites as teachers of Torah

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Vayelech

Main Theme:   Moses about to die
P’shat:   Vayomer Adonai el Moshe Hen Karvoo Yameichah Lamoot — God said to Moses that the days of your death are nearing

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat Ha'azinu

Main Theme:   Listening, Hearing, Deafness
P’shat:   Ha-azinu — Give ear, listen up

Possible Organizations/Ideas

Parshat V'Zot HaB'racha

Main Theme:   Rising up from the bottom, seeing the Promised Land but not quite making it, reaching goals
P’shat:   Etnenah Heritichah B’einechah Vishamah Lo Ta’avor — I have let you see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross over there

Possible Organizations/Ideas