Sunday, August 23, 2009

Parashat Ki Taytzay

First I want to say that if it weren't for this parashah there would be many fewer movies, plays or novels in the world. Why? Because this portion is filled with the kinds of statements that make good theater!
You may want to read through chapters 21:10 - 25:19 yourself. Or look at the following link to a synopsis from Teaching Torah, by Sorel Goldberg Loeb and Barbara Binder Kadden.
As you read either the text or the synopsis, try to think of the movies, plays or books you are familiar with that wouldn't exist without the ideas portrayed in this Torah portion. Make a list to share with us.

In fact, there are so many ideas, so many laws, so many seemingly unrelated items that I wanted to think of a way to organize the teaching and learning in a way that is consistent with my last post about Big Ideas.

What are the BIG IDEAS in this parashah? Remember, the Big Ideas are those concepts you want your students to remember after they have forgotten all the rest. Are some ideas more important than others in this parashah? On what do you base your decision?

Is there a theme (or are there multiple themes) into which these discrete ideas can be divided?

I think that a big principle of this Torah portion concerns power
  • how it is to be used
  • how it is not to be used
  • what the restrictions are on those with power
  • what support is available to those without power.

This week's NY Times Magazine section is all about women's issues, and devotes most of its articles to the lack of power women and girls have in most places in the world. You may want to read one or more articles and decide if any of the statements in Parashat Ki Taytzay seem to address the same issues as the articles in the magazine.

One more thing - many years ago I remember studying with Shoshana Glatzer about this parashah, and her telling about how she taught her students the following verses:
יג וְיָד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ, מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה; וְיָצָאתָ שָּׁמָּה, חוּץ.13 You shall have a place also outside the camp, And you shall go there.
יד וְיָתֵד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ, עַל-אֲזֵנֶךָ; וְהָיָה, בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ חוּץ, וְחָפַרְתָּה בָהּ, וְשַׁבְתָּ וְכִסִּיתָ אֶת-צֵאָתֶךָ.14 And you shall have a paddle among your weapons; and, when you sit down out there, you shall dig with it, and shall turn back and cover that which comes from you.

I'm willing to bet that very few of us learned this in Hebrew school!! So why did Shoshana choose, with all the other ideas in this parasha she could have chosen, to present this excerpt.

What do you think her Big Idea was?

I look forward to your comments in person and on the blog.

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