Monday, February 1, 2010


Big Ideas:

  • A person's position often affects the way in which that person is perceived.
  • The way in which one understands the events at Sinai is fundamental to one's religious beliefs.
  • Mainstream Jewish thinkers understand Sinai differently.
Some Questions:
  • In chapter 18, almost every verse has a reference to Yitro.  In each case Yitro is identified as "Hoten Moshe", Moshe's father-in-law.  Do you have any thoughts about why this label is repeated over and over?  Wouldn't it be enough to identify him by name after the first time?
  • How do you understand the event that occurred at Sinai?  What Jewish thinker shares your understanding?
  • How does your understanding of Sinai affect the way you are Jewish? 
Learning Activities:
  • Read chapter 18 carefully.  How many times is Yitro referred to as "hoten Moshe"?  How do you understand this?
  • Find information that describes these Jewish thinkers' beliefs about revelation.
    • Joseph Soloveitchik
    • Abraham Joshua Heschel
    • Eugene Borowitz
    • Mordecai Kaplan
  • Choose one of the people you learned about and prepare a presentation for the rest of the group explaining why this understanding of revelation is meaningful for you.
  • Create a chart that compares and contrasts the various ways in which Jews understand the events at Sinai
  • Find evidence in the popular culture of the world around you that a person's position affects the way in which he or she is heard and understood.  Who do we listen to?  Who do we ignore?  

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