Sunday, January 24, 2010


The Plagues Continued...

I was happy to find out that I was not the only person disturbed by the great variety of toy plagues. Check this out - there are even chocolate plagues!

With just three plagues left, we were ready to finish our parsha book. The locusts page was designed with grasshopper stickers (some other bugs snuck in there too).

For darkness, I stole a pair of Andy's eye masks that he probably got on an airplane. We made a little black foam pocket to stick them into. Maya was pretty intrigued by the idea of not being able to see anything.

Finally, I had to come up with something to do for the "slaying of the Firstborn sons." I searched and searched for some kind of appropriate crafty representation of this one. I came up empty. There was nothing that I felt comfortable with. I did not want to depict the angel of death. I did not want to depict dead babies. So, instead, I left it up to Maya. I asked her how she thought we should illustrate this page. She said that we should make a very sad person and that she would draw the face and that I should draw the tears. I couldn't have come up with a better idea on my own.

This week, I also printed some new coloring pages that I found online of the ten plagues. Of course, my very observant four year old noticed that one of the plagues was depicted differently than we had learned. In the new coloring pages, the fourth plague "arov" was depicted as swarms of flies. We had depicted "arov" as wild animals (or in our case, wild things). Since I had downloaded these new pages from Christian websites, I thought that maybe this was a particularly Christian understanding/translation of the plague. But, I later found out that there is actually a traditional rabbinic machloket (debate) about what the "arov" were. In Shmot Rabbah 11:4: Rabbi Nechemia says that arov denotes flies, and Rabbi Yehudah states that it denotes a mixture of wild animals. Most later commentaries accept the interpretation that arov is wild animals but there are still many sources that interpret arov as flies (specifically dog-flies or blood- scukers, gross!) At least I am learning some new Torah in all of this too!

This parsha presented a very easy food opportunity. In chapter 12, the Israelites (Hebrews? Jews? I know that I am not supposed to call them Jews, but it is so hard to say Israelites to a four year old. I might have to start saying Bnei Yisrael. This will not come naturally either) are commanded to eat a whole roasted lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. On Passover itself, there is a strong custom that prohibits eating roasted lamb or any meats, lest it appear that we are offering the korban pesach, which is forbidden since the destruction of the Temple. But, no such prohibition exists on the week that we read this parsha! So, on Friday morning I called the local kosher story but alas there was no lamb, not even frozen. Next year, there will be lamb, and it will be roasted.

1 comment:

  1. An idea for the slaying of the first born is to focus on the blood that the Israelites put on their doorpost. Red crepe paper can symbolize the blood in the doorway.