A Midrash for Teens
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A Midrash for Teens
We Won't Get Fooled Again: Helping Teens Identify Pharaoh
A boy is tricked into being part of a game with other boys only to find out that he is the target of mockery and abuse. A girl is happy to be included as a "friend" at a lunch table until she finds it was only a ploy to get back at another girl. A boy is "hit on" as part of a practical joke. A girl is lured into an unwelcomed physical encounter. Being fooled is one of the many challenges that teens face on a daily basis. The challenge is new - and old:Rabbi Shalom Dov Bear, a 19th century Chassidic sage, told his son: There are three things you need to know to be a man: don't fool yourself, don't fool others, and don't allow yourself to be fooled by others. And do it all without trying to impress anyone. In preparation for Passover, we've been thinking about the "don't allow yourself to be fooled by others."
Today, teens see a world where it is normal to fool people. It seems as if each week, a celebrity, athlete, or politician who has lied to the public admits their shame. TV shows and videos based on pranks form the core of the comedy diet. And every 79 seconds a thief will try to open a bank account with a stolen identity.What are the roots of fraud? According to Midrash, the slavery of the Hebrews in Egypt began with being fooled. In the Book of Exodus we read: "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel work vigorously." What is the Hebrew word for vigorously? Parech. In Hebrew, Parech can also mean "peh rach" a "soft mouth" meaning "gentle speech" How did the Egyptians make the Hebrews work with "gentle speech?" Slavery began with Pharaoh saying: "I beg of you, as a special favor, work alongside me today." Pharaoh picked up a basket and shovel and everyone followed him But when it grew dark, he said to his men, "count up the bricks." When they finished he said to the Hebrews: "This is the number of bricks that you must make for me everyday." -Sotah 11b; Tanchuma B'haalotecha, 23.According to this Midrash, the Hebrews got taken in by soft words. They were conned, lured, and scammed.How might this Midrash help teens to become discerning adults?It would be pat to say to teens simply, "don't get fooled." But we, as parents, educators, and others who are concerned about teens and their interactions online and off, should look more deeply with them at the challenge that this Midrash poses:
How do we protect ourselves from being fooled without ending up distrusting the entire world?
On Passover, Rabbi Shalom Dov Bear taught, we as a community return to a state of authenticity and humility. Refraining from chametz (leavened bread) and eating matzah is a spiritual practice that helps us notice and distance ourselves from anything that is "puffed up." As teens come of age, they need adult guidance in discerning who they can trust. Teaching them to detect the "puffed up" - those who manipulate others in an effort to assert control, requires helping teens understand the dynamics of power, the attraction to Pharaoh's methods, and the many ways that people can resist, disrupt, and break free.
This year, may we all taste the matzah - the bread of humility - and help the world to embrace an ethic of authenticity, honesty, and freedom.
Salt is unique in that it is bitter on its own, yet sweetens and brings out the taste of that which it is added to. For this reason, salt is the staple of suffering.
There are two perspectives of suffering – Purposeless Suffering and Purposeful Suffering.
Purposeless Suffering is suffering without reason, value, or an end-goal, and is therefore completely bitter. It is based on a...
Use this piece before singing Hallel and think about what it means to transition from slavery to freedom.
Exodus and Liberation translate many different ways for different communities, religious groups, and individuals. Chief Tom Dostou of the Wabanaki Nation of Massachusetts offers the following prayer in an excerpt from a larger piece describing his journey across his ancestral homeland of “Turtle...
Not Just Handwashing
Ask for two volunteers: one to carry a pitcher of water and to pour water over each guest’s hands, and one to carry a basin and a towel.
Use ice water to remember people who do not have warm water.
Have everyone take off their bracelets and rings, even wedding bands for the handwashing (or for the whole seder, to be returned when the afikomen is found) to...
Alla fyller på nytt sina vinglas.
Vi läser Ps 126. "En vallfartssång. När Herren vände Sions öde, då var allt som om vi drömde: vi skrattade, vi sjöng av glädje, och jublet steg från våra läppar.
En av gästerna fortsätter:
Då sade man bland folken: Herren har gjort stora ting med dem! Ja, Herren gjorde stora ting med oss,...
After the leader reads the introduction to the Haggadah supplement, either walk with your guests to the front door or have one guest rise from the table and walk to the front door. There, place a pair of shoes on the doorstep and read the words below.
The heart of the Passover Seder tells the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from slavery in Egypt. During the retelling of this story,...
We have come together this evening for many reasons.
We are here because Spring is all around, the Earth is reborn,
and it is a good time to celebrate with family and friends.
We are here because we are Jews,
because we are members of the Jewish nation,
with its deep historic roots and its valuable old memories and stories.
We are here to remember the old story of the...
Ahora es el turno de lavarse las manos
"baruj ata adonai eloheinu melej aholam, asher quitchanu ve mitisvotahv, be tzivanu al netilat iadaim"
Hace muchos años, Alugnos pueblos no judios, creían que, a los judíos no les llegaban las epidemias por su simple condición de judíos. Pero, en realidad, era porque ellos se "lavavan las manos" antes de que esté científicamente...
We come together from our separate lives, each of us bringing our concerns, our preoccupations, our hopes, and our dreams. We are not yet fully present: The traffic, the last-minute cooking, the final details still cling to us. Our bodies hold the rush of the past few hours.
It is now time to let go of these pressures and really arrive at this seder. We do this by meditating...
The Supportive/Open Minded Child
How do we make our GLBT Seder more inclusive?
We seek to ensure that everyone is included and that all of their needs are being met. For example, there is a movement to encourage the use of gender-neutral pronouns like ze for he/she and hir for him/her at inclusive Seders. We have incorporated many new traditions into our own...
This is a compilation of ideas to help the seder be fun and engaging for the entire family.
Fun ideas for preparing the Passover table:
1. Include a Tzedakka box on the table. Have everyone put money in the tzedakah box before eating.
2. Yemenite Jews line the edge of the table all around with leaves of Romaine lettuce. The lettuce is then used for Maror....
We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.
Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do. Let's pause as we wash our hands to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together.
So this is Maggid,
The part of the seder where we tell the story
Of leaving Egypt.
We spend more time talking about talking about the story
Then telling the actual story.
Very meta is our haggadah,
With many numbers,
Lots of fours:
Four cups of wine
Four ways of asking,
Why is this night...
There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.
We eat matzah in memory...
More Clips from Rabbi Daniel Brenner
The Wicked Child
I read the haggadah backwards this year
The sea opens,
the ancient Israelites slide back to Egypt
like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk
Freedom to slavery
That’s the real story
One minute you’re dancing hallelujah,
shaking your hips to the j-j-jangle of the prophetesses’ tambourines,
the next you’re knee deep in brown...
We Won't Get Fooled Again: Helping Teens Identify Pharaoh
A boy is tricked into being part of a game with other boys only to find out that he is the target of mockery and abuse. A girl is happy to be included as a "friend" at a lunch table until she finds it was only a ploy to get back at another girl. A boy is "hit on" as part of a practical joke. A girl is lured into an unwelcomed physical...