Monday, December 20, 2010


Last year's post on this parasha is really filled with ideas and suggestions for analyzing this week's reading. Since the calendar is different this year, most of us are reading Shemot before the December vacation (if we have one) so the narrative that ended the book of Breisheet should be fresh in the minds of our students.  With that noted, please re-read that post and pick out some of the issues you didn't have time for last year.

When I re-read the parasha just now a couple of questions jumped out at me.  Interestingly, some were the same ones that troubled me last year, and some were a little different.

  1. In chapter 1 verses 15 - 21 the text tells the story of the midwives, Shifra and Puah.  Here's what popped out for me in this reading - Why didn't Par'o punish them for disobeying his orders?  Also, when so many women who played roles in the story of the Jewish people remain nameless in the text, why are these two named?
  2. Why did Par'o allow his daughter to keep the baby, who was obviously one of the Hebrews?
  3. Chapter 2:25 - why do the Israelites cry out to God only after the Par'o who had enslaved them died?
  4. Chapter 6:1 - isn't it strange that Par'o is described as having a "yad hazakah", a "strong hand", a term that I've always associated with God!?

Regarding the story of the midwives, and what they did to save a people in danger, an additional resource I would like to suggest is Facing History and Ourselves, which is a wonderful site about making moral choices in life.  It has excellent teaching ideas that help sensitize students to the importance of being "upstanders" in the face of evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment