Today our focus was on the Haggadah, the special book we use for the Passover Seder. Each pair of students examined a Haggadah produced by a different publisher or author and looked for items that came in fours. The students found that there were four cups of wine, four questions, and four sons or children. The students brainstormed a bit about the number 4 and whether that was a special number today.
The students learned about the significance of the number 4 in that when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, the Torah has four statements wherein God promises to take the Israelites out of Egypt. Because God used four different ways to say that God would make us free, we use the number four in the Haggadah. The shank bone that is on the Seder plate is also connected to this number four as one of the statements makes clear that God will save us with an outstretched arm. The shank bone is symbolic of that arm.
We then carefully studied the illustrations various artists designed to describe the four children or sons. The students have developed such a keen eye. They are able to look at something and then examine the details to question the meaning. Ask your student about the different illustrations and what the differences could mean. Ask if everyone is invited to the seder and who are the children? How old is a child? What do we do with the “wicked” child?
We will be studying more about what is meant by the labels given to the four children in the Haggadah.
We read a story from Does God have a Big Toe. The story was about the burning bush. The students were again asked to think about the message of the story and they discovered that paying attention to detail was thought to be of utmost importance by the author.
In our prayer time today, we read the V’ahavta in English and chanted it in Hebrew and thought about the two lines that state, “These words which I command you this day shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, when you walk along the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
Our class is a community and we know that certain rules have to be followed so all can listen, learn, and participate. That is that same with any community to which we belong. The words of the V’ahavta teach us that laws, as in those listed in the Torah, have to be taught and people need reminders in the morning and at night, as they go in and go out, because a community works best when people follow laws like those in the Torah. Not stealing, respecting others, not lying, helping others when they are in need, not holding a grudge, not gossiping, all these laws make a community. The prayer suggests that we should keep those commandments close in our hearts so we can live together successfully in our communities.
We had a wonderful learning day today as we always do.
Hope you have a nice week.