Wednesday, December 9, 2009



This week's project really only dealt with the very first part of the Parsha where we meet the twin brothers Yaakov and Esav, born to Yitzchak and Rivka. My goal was just to introduce the girls to these characters and to the differences and strife between them. Two of my greatest pet peeves as a teacher of Tanach were always: 1) conflating the pshat (literal text) with midrash (rabbinic interetation) and 2) villainizing certain characters while glorifying others. But, I realized very quickly that it was almost impossible to teach the girls the story of Esav and Yaakov without doing just those things! I found myself, like the midrash and like most coloring books and school teachers, making Esav the "rasha" and Yaakov the "tzadik," even though that is a very far cry from the simple reading of the story. I am still uncomfortable with this approach but struggle with how else to teach these narratives with relevant meaning or morals.

I knew that I wanted to make Esav and Yaakov masks or puppets. I decided that paper plate puppets would be easy and fun. I bought a cheap roll of thick red yarn for Esav's beard and hair. We cut out mouths, noses, and eyebrows from felt and used googly eyes and pom poms.

From December 09

Maya's puppets looked more like clowns than Biblical heroes, but she was so excited to be able to really use them like puppets. She actually asked if she could make more puppets of Rivka and Yitzchak so I let her. I basically made Avital's puppet for her but let her draw all over it just for fun...

From December 09

From December 09

When we came home from shul, Maya and I did a fun puppet show for our guests about Esav and Yaakov. OF course, the food for this week's parsha was a no-brainer - red lentil stew!

From December 09

We served the soup as a starter at shabbat dinner. But, before we ate it, three of the grown-ups did an impromptu dramatic reading of the beginning of the Parsha:
19. And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son; Abraham fathered Isaac;
20. And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah for his wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Padan-Aram, the sister to Laban the Aramean.
21. And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22. And the children struggled together inside her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord.
23. (K) And the Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25. And the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27. And the boys grew; and Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
28. And Isaac loved Esau, because he ate of his venison; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29. And Jacob cooked pottage; and Esau came from the field, and he was famished.
30. And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I beg you, with that same red pottage; for I am famished; therefore was his name called Edom.
31. And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright.
32. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point of death; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33. And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore to him; and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
34. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way; thus Esau despised his birthright.

1 comment:

  1. oh Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    we made the stew too! we are doing the exact same kind of torah training! i love that your ideas are online! i just found this tonight i think yah has led the way.
    i am going to email you!