IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK:
- What is our history as Jews?
- How do we know that history?
- How does that history impact the way we understand our community today?
- How does our history affect the way in which we understand the broader community in which we live?
Near the beginning of this week's parasha there is a passage that probably sounds familiar:
Where have you seen this passage? (If you are not sure, go to this link at JewishFreeware and read beginning on page 30)
Why do you think reciting this passage is part of this particular event? (I'm not saying what event - you should have found the answer from the link above)
There is a new children's book, Ruth and The Green Book and a new play, by the same author, entitled The Green Book.
- What is The Green Book?
- What is the connection between the book and the play?
- What is the Jewish connection?
- What do you think a young African-American in America might learn from reading this story?
- What do you think a young person who is not African-American might learn?
- What connection can you make between The Green Book and the Haggadah?
BIG IDEA: It is often a bigger challenge to behave correctly in secret than in public.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK:
- What are some reasons to behave correctly in public, when there are other people watching and listening?
- Are the reasons the same when you are in private? Explain your answer.
- Which is more of a challenge - public behavior or private? Why?
Read the following passage:
According to the commentaries, all these things are things done in private. Therefore, there are no witnesses to report the behavior.
- Why do you think the text specifically mentions these things?
- Are you more likely to behave publicly or privately? Explain why.
- You might say that what you do in private is nobody else's business. Besides being done in private, with no witnesses, they have something else in common. Can you figure out what it is? If you can, you may want to leave a comment on the blog.
Samson Raphael Hirsch, an important Jewish thinker, believed that this particular passage had another, perhaps deeper meaning:
"All blessing is denied to him who outwardly plays the pious man devoted to God but in secret denies the exclusive existence of One God and His rule; who outwardly is respectful to his parents but inwardly considers himself vastly superior to them; who in the eyes of men preserves the reputation of an honest man but, where it is unobserved, does not hesitate to injure the rights of his neighbor to his own advantage; who is full of enthusiasm for the welfare of his neighbors, in the presence of clever and intelligent people, but pushes short-sighted and blind people into misfortune; who grovels before the powerful but denies the weak and helpless their rights; pretends to be a highly respectable member of society, to wallow in sexual licentiousness in intimate privacy (verses 20-23); who does not dig a dagger into his neighbor but, under the cloak of conversation, murders his happiness, his peace, and his honor; who enjoys the highest confidence in his community but misuses it in secret corruption; finally, also one who, even if he lives correctly and dutifully for himself, still looks with indifference on the abandonment of the duties of the Torah in his immediate and wider circles." (p 1519, The Torah, A Modern Commentary, W. Gunther Plaut)
- What is Hirsch talking about?
- How is this important?