“And you shall explain to your child” – Passing the story on to the next generation

When Moses speaks to the nation, he repeatedly mentions the ways in which the Exodus must be remembered. The Torah deals with several ways of remembering (the Passover sacrifice for generations, eating leavened bread [chametz]) and specifically talks about our responsibility to convey the story of the Exodus from one generation to the next. The commandment “And you shall explain to your child” defines our responsibility, and every year from then to this day we fulfil this commandment.

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5
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2

The Jewish People remember the Exodus

In this unit we will study verses from chapters 12-13 that deal with preparations for the Exodus from Egypt after 430 years. The verses simultaneously deal with the contemporary reality of the Israelites on the eve of the Exodus, as well as the commandment to remember the story of the Exodus for generations. The Torah deals with remembering, because it is a difficult task especially when we live in a different place and have moved away from the point in time where the events took place. Moses emphasizes the importance of remembering the story of the slavery and the redemption to the people, he specifically refers to our duty to pass the story on from one generation to the next. The story of the Exodus from Egypt, when God’s hand was revealed in the world, is the basis of faith and values ​​in our lives. We learn about the importance of remembering the past, in general, and our role in maintaining the values ​​of equality, justice and morality in our lives, in particular, which we learned from the difficult experience of slavery and bondage.

El éxodo de Egipto. Mapa con explicaciones

Unit Knowledge Goals

Objetivos de conocimiento en la enseñanza de la unidad

Objectifs pédagogiques de cette unité

1. The students will learn about the commandments given to the Israelites on the eve of the Exodus from Egypt, which were significant both to their current time and for future generations.

2. The students will understand the importance of remembering the Exodus from Egypt, and the importance of remembering the past, in general.

Pédagogie

Pedagogy

Pedagogía

Teaching Practices
Pratiques pédagogiques
Aconsejamos enseñar esta unidad a través de la siguiente práctica pedagógica
SEL
Aprendizaje social y emocional
ASE

The preparations for the Exodus are connected to the future generations, who will be able to identify with the lessons learned from the slavery in Egypt. This requires “social awareness,” and the transfer of knowledge from a stage of identification requires the ability to show empathy and understand the experience of others.

Background for Teaching the Unit

Contexto de la unidad didáctica

Résumé de l’unité et valeurs centrales

When speaking to the Israelites, before the plague of the slaying of the firstborn, Moses says that the night of the 15th of Nissan will be “a night of vigil” (Exodus, 12:42).

Ibn Ezra (second commentary on Exodus, 12:42) explains that this is the night when God protected the Jewish People, and they were not harmed during the plague: “God watched them and did not suffer the destroyer to come into their homes to plague them.”

Rashbam (Rabbi Samuel ben Meir) also explains this night” to mean “for generations”: “this night now became a night to be remembered for all their future generations.”

On this night the Israelites were commanded to take a lamb, each for his family, slaughter it and put its blood on the doorposts of their house.

God promised the Israelites that: “the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus, 12:13).

Moses commands the Israelites to eat the “sacrificial meat in haste, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs” and not to leave anything for the morning.

God also commands the Israelites to remember the Exodus for generations – both in action and in story: “This day shall be to you one of remembrance: you shall celebrate it as a festival to God throughout the ages; you shall celebrate it as an institution for all time.” (Exodus, 12:14).

The Jewish People are commanded to keep the Passover for seven days, and not to eat unleavened bread (chametz). Moses specifically mentions the days that are further away from the actual Exodus: “And when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this rite?’” (Exodus, 12:26).

 The Jewish People are commanded to explain the nature of the Passover sacrifice and tell the story of the Exodus throughout the generations: “And you shall explain to your child on that day, ‘It is because of what יהוה did for me when I went free from Egypt.’ “(Exodus, 13:8).

 The Torah gives the Israelites another way of remembering: ““And this shall serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead —in order that the Teaching of God may be in your mouth—that with a mighty hand God freed you from Egypt” (Exodus, 13:9).

 Rashi explains that this is the commandment of the Tefillin: “that you shall write these paragraphs and bind them upon the head and upon the arm”

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וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר
בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה ה' לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם

And you shall explain to your child on that day,
It is because of what God did for me when I went free from Egypt.’

Activité d’introduction
Actividad de apertura
Opening Activity

In this lesson we will learn about the commandment to remember the story of the Exodus and the ways that we remember the slavery and Exodus to this day. Following are three options for an opening activity:

Option 1: Memory Game

Split the students into pairs. Each pair will discuss one of two options mentioned in Memory Game

Summary: Ask the students to share insights into the answers to the following questions:

  • What helps us remember things?
  • What is important for us to remember?
  • Why is it important for us to remember the past?
  • What activities do you know that are done in order to remember (Shabbat, Tefillin, Haggadah, etc.).

Option 2. What must we remember?

The students will look at the ruler describing the various stages that the Israelites experienced, from becoming slaves until the Exodus from Egypt. We will ask them to think and explain what was important for those leaving Egypt and what is important for us to remember today.

We discussed the importance of remembering the intermediate stages that led to the Exodus from Egypt in the first lessons that dealt with the meaning of slavery and the fact that it was included in the story of the Exodus from Egypt. 

The activity is attached as What must we remember?

During the summary in the plenary we will ask:

  • If you could create a video clip that teaches the story of the Exodus as an event that defined the identity of the Jewish People, on which stage of the story would you focus?
  • Why is it important to remember the story of the Exodus?

Option 3.

The students will read the attached paragraph, describing David Ben Gurion’s speech to the Peel Commission in 1946.

(Explain what the Mayflower means to the students.)

Ask in the plenary:

1. What do you feel when reading David Ben Gurion’s speech?

2. Write the following quote from the Passover Haggadah on the board:

“It is a commandment upon us to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. And anyone who adds [and spends extra time] in telling the story of the exodus from Egypt, behold he is praiseworthy”

Ask: Why must we repeatedly tell the story of the Exodus?

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5:2:EN:2:1

Moses speaks to the Israelites

1. The Israelites are finally standing before an important and emotional moment – they are about to leave Egypt and become free people!

Divide the students into pairs. Give each pair the worksheet on what Moses might say at this momentous time? Using this sheet they will learn Exodus, 12:40-42 and will write down suggestions for what Moses should include in his speech.

In the plenary, write main points on the board. What will Moses say before the Exodus?

2. We will read the verses that describe Moses' speech to the Israelites. The students will briefly explain what the Israelites were required to do after hearing Moses speak. Ask the students to imagine that they are reporters sent to cover Moshe's speech to the Israelites. The students will propose a main title for the article they are going to write, as well as an image they can incorporate into the article.

The activity is attached to Moshe’s speech to the Israelites during the slaying of the firstborn.

3. During the class discussion the students will share the titles and images they suggested.

Write the emotions/feelings of Moses and the Israelites that were brought up in this discussion on the board.

Discuss the question: why is it so important for Moses to make this speech?

Remembering the Exodus

We will go back to the verses dealing with remembering the Exodus for generations and read the verses in the plenary. (12:26,27; 13:3,8,9-10). The verses are presented in Remembering the Exodus.

Ask the students to choose which image depicts the idea of the Torah commanding us to remember the Exodus as it was happening.

The images are presented in Remembering the Exodus.

 

In conclusion, we will ask:

  • Why do we document an event during its occurrence?
  • Why is it important to instruct the future generations on ways to remember the Exodus?
  • What does the Torah command us to do, so that we will remember the Exodus:

 Talk about: Jewish holiday – a set date, tradition, ceremony, speech, daily commandment.

Talk about remembering the Exodus through fixed daily commandments.

Open a siddur and show the students how many times the Exodus is mentioned in regard to Shabbat, Jewish holidays, prayer and Tefillin.

For example:

  • In kiddush every shabbat and holiday, we say that those days are: “in remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt”
  • Shirat Hayam – the Song of the Sea, said every day in the Shacharit prayer.
  • The tefillin, which we are commanded to place every days, include the verses of the Exodus: “Remember this day, on which you went free from Egypt, the house of bondage”
  • Reading the Haggadah on Seder night

Ask the students: What is the difference between the commandment of reading the Haggadah on Seder night and the other commandments for remembering the Exodus?

Why do you think that the Exodus is mentioned on Seder night AND in many daily commandments?

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Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Moses’ speech
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Summary

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Summary for the teacher
Profundización para el docente
Approfondissement pour l’enseignant
Summary for the teacher 5:2:EN
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Summary Activity for the Students

Option 1.

Ask the students to share how they keep the commandment “And you shall explain to your child” in their homes.

 

Option 2. Read the verse:

“And you shall explain to your child on that day, ‘It is because of what God did for me when I went free from Egypt.” (Exodus, 13:8)

Ask: To what extent do we feel that it is our responsibility even today?

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