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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Left to their own devices…

DSC04380The kids were plotting and scheming in a giggling way while I was in the shower this morning, concentrating intently on a Very Important Project.

When I came out, I that they had created – well – THESE. 

Perfect matching silhouettes in black construction paper.  I suppose I should be grateful that they kept their clothes on and crafted these solely from memory.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rainbow in a storm…

Easy, quick science exploration to go along with the building-a-rainbow one that didn’t work.

This doesn’t really demonstrate any of the scientific principles we’ve been learning about (“all colours of light are contained within white light”), but it’s easy and quick and a bit impressive to watch.  You could use it for an art class on colour mixing, as well.  (here’s another quick and easy colour-mixing art project we did a while back)

milkanim

Scroll down to see the steps here (“Milk and Rainbows”).

And here’s the one that didn’t work, which we got from Mr Q Science, but which I looked up online because he doesn’t give a picture.  Looks quick and easy, and we even have a big glass pan.  But our flashlight is the wrong kind – it has several smaller LEDs instead of one big steady beam.  It doesn’t cast a light beam so much as emit unfocussed pale light in every possible direction.  :-(

(and it’s the only one in the house that I could find)

I’m trying to teach the kids that even when our science experiments (“explorations”) don’t work, it doesn’t disprove the scientific principle we’re investigating – it only proves how UN-scientific our environment is.  But sometimes, when I have done absolutely everything right… well, it’s frustrating.  Can’t scream because I’ve lost my voice.  Can’t throw things because every muscle aches.  Drat, I hate homeschooling with a cold.  :-(

Are you perennially foiled by science?  Or is there another homeschool subject you just can’t seem to “get to work”???

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Parsha Resources: Week by Week

Here, for your convenience and great edification, is an up-to-date index of all parsha resources at this site – including Parsha Overviews, Poems and Riddles.  Some of the links aren’t linked up yet; I plan to get all the keywords in place someday soon.  If you find a broken one, please leave a comment and I’ll fix it.

Genesis
Bereishis
בראשית
:

Exodus
Shemos
שמות:

Leviticus
Vayikra
ויקרא:

Numbers
Bamidbar
במדבר:

Deuteronomy Devarim
דברים:

Bereishis
Noach
Lech Lecha Vayeira
Chayei Sarah
Toldos
Vayeitzei
Vayishlach
Vayeishev
Mikeitz
Vayigash
Vayechi
Shemos
Vaeira
Bo
Beshalach
Yisro
Mishpatim
Terumah Tetzaveh
Ki Sisa
Vayakhel Pekudei
Vayikra
Tzav
Shemini
Tazria
Metzora
Acharei Mos
Kedoshim
Emor
Behar
Bechukosai
Bamidbar
Nasso
Behaaloscha
Shlach
Korach
Chukas
Balak
Pinchas
Matos
Masei
Devarim
Vaeschanan
Eikev
Re’ay 
Shoftim
Ki Seitzei
Ki Savo
Nitzavim
Vayelech
Haazinu
VeZos HaBracha

And don’t forget…

  • You can access all my Jewish printables from the Limudei Kodesh downloads page here.
  • For general studies printables, including science, art and music, click here.

Short Parsha Riddles: Lech Lecha / לֶךְ לְךָ

בְּרֵאשִׁית / Bereishis / Genesis 12:1-17:27

Click for printable PDF version.

lech image

Don’t forget to read this week’s Parsha Poems (Lech Lecha Poem 1 and Poem 2) and parsha overview.  Plus… copywork and parsha activities – something for every week of the year.


פָּרָשָׁת לֶךְ-לְךָ
Parshas Lech Lecha
בְּרֵאשִׁית / Bereishis / Genesis 12:1-17:27

[ 1 ]

image Leave your land, get on your way,
Shlepping and trudging for many a day;
For Hashem had spoken, and so we know,
Avram went when Hashem said, “__________!”

[ 2 ]

Avram stood out among others around,
Treading that holy and crumbling ground.
But he wasn’t the first one to walk there or stand,
Because there were __________ then in the land.

[ 3 ]

He changed his life at Hashem’s holy word,
Moving though others might think it absurd.
The very first Jew, and none more so than He,
He came from across, so they called him __________!

[ 4 ] BONUS

The midrash says you’ve met me before
But another “name” in those days I bore;
Much older now, this reunion I see,
Spreading out bracha to Avram, from me.  Who am I?

[ 5 ]

You’d think a number would bring clarity,
But here’s a small irregularity;
No matter how you roared and thundered,
You might not count us to four hundred!  What are we?

image

STUMPED?? Here are some answers: 
[ 1 ] Go (12:1).
[ 2 ] The K’naani (כְּנַעֲנִי) – Canaanite people (12:6).
[ 3 ] Ivri, the root of the modern word “Hebrew,” which means “across” the Yardein river (14:13).
[ 4 ] Melchitzedek, king of Shalem, who Rashi identifies with Shem, son of Noach, and Avram’s (7 greats!)-grandfather (14:18).  Shem means “name” – hence the quotes.
[ 5 ] The years of bnei Yisrael’s slavery, which Rashi attempts to reconcile with the actual 210 years in Mitzrayim (15:13).

It has a name –?!?

I was previewing this (reasonably good, and free!) second-grade Chumash workbook on chinuch.org and I was puttering along through a preview of the book when I came upon this page:

image

And I was like, “what the heck is an esnachta?”  Let alone drawing one.  Let alone finding one.

Now, don’t laugh if you have known this since birth – this must happen to baalei teshuvah all the time.  Because it turns out I do know what an esnachta (etnachta, to some) is… the thingamabob I have always thought of as the “spur,” the rodeo-inspired doohickey I gradually worked out for myself over a period of not days or weeks but YEARS. 

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will – you’ve seen them all over the place in the Chumash.  It’s the little red thing underneath this word:

That’s an Esnachta.  The word, and the doohickey. 

All on my own, I learned that besides being trop (Torah cantillation marks), which I usually ignore, it was ALSO crucial grammatical Torah punctuation which – natcherly – they never bothered telling us about in Hebrew school.  Crucial because it helps divide sentences that otherwise run on and fail to make sense.  So of course they’d want to introduce it near the beginning of a student’s Torah education.  By the way, I was wrong; I’ve come to understand that trop is entirely logical and grammatical – in Hebrew, it’s called ta’amei hamikra / טעמי המקרא – the “flavours” of the reading, with their musical attributes being completely inseparable from their grammatical connotation.

In the same way that I wouldn’t try to read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe without commas, periods, parentheses, etc. (“hadnt we all better to go bed said lucy there’s sure to be a row if were heard talking here”), you shouldn’t read through the Torah without at least glancing at the trop. 

And just like commas do, each of the little punctuation thingies have their own name.  I  just never, ever thought about it before.  So now I am having a crazy BT moment of clarity.  I knew about it, but never knew it had a name and would never have emphasized my ignorant non-FFB’ness by actually asking anyone.  Ever ever ever.

But now I know, and apparently, in the FFB world, this is required knowledge to get past Grade 2.  Figures. 

I wonder what else is out there that I just don’t know…

Post-script:  Just asked one of the Big Kids who happened to be wandering through and this particular big kid said, “What?  Oh, the wishbone-thingy!”  So now I don’t feel too bad.  I mean, except for the $1000s wasted on his/her Jewish education.

Cookies and Tiaras

Check out these two costumes, reblogged from sparkamovement, which wrote:  “Girls’ toddler Cookie Monster costume vs. Boys’ toddler Cookie Monster costume. We’re not joking when we say gender expectations and sexualization start early.”

Sure, the boys vs girls issue is interesting, but it’s ultimately irrelevant. Once you start hunting for a ready-made Cookie Monster costume, you've already bought in. Why not an original monster costume more in line with your kid's interests than some corporate marketing exec's???

 

If you want to be really radical, just skip Hallowe’en and put your money and energy into real holidays that will give your kids something more lasting than a couple of bags of candy.  I say “more lasting than” not “bereft of.”  In case anyone’s thinking of reporting me to CPS for depriving them, you should know that between Simchas Torah and Purim, we really do get plenty of candy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lech Lecha Parsha Summary: Planting the Seed

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I  use the words “some people think” or something similar (find out why).  If you find these overviews helpful, or if there’s a typo, or something is confusing you or your kids, I’d love to hear from you.  Pretty please, with sugar on top?


image Were you ever having fun, doing something you liked, when someone called you away?

You were probably annoyed. If it was a parent, or another adult, I hope you’d come anyway, but for a friend, or your little brother, you might say no. This week’s parsha starts wimageith Hashem calling to Avram – the great, great, great (plus a few more) grandson of Noach. Avram was living where he liked, with family all around him, but Hashem said to go – and Avram went. It was the first of ten times Hashem tested Avram. Do you think Avram passed all the tests? (yes, he did!)

If someone tells you to go, what’s the first thing you’d ask?

You’d probably ask where! But Avram didn’t do that. Hashem said he’d show the way, and Avram trusted him. Hashem made two great promises, with two Hebrew words: אֶרֶץ (eretz – that means land) and זֶרַע (zera – that means seed). When Hashem says “land” and “seed,” he’s not starting a garden! It’s one special land – eretz Yisrael – and one special seed – children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who would become the Jewish people. Do you want to see and touch the seed Hashem promised Avram? Pat yourself on the head; give yourself a hug. YOU are the seed!

image How are people like a seed? Well, think about how a seed grows.

A seed isn’t much more than a speck; worthless. And you toss it in the dirt; worthless. It sits in the dirt for a long time: days, weeks, even years. Nothing happens, or maybe the seed rots a bit. But then, that seed begins to grow. It may grow into something small, like a blade of grass or a dandelion, or it may grow into something HUGE, like an oak tree.

Some people feel worthless if they have no children; some people feel worthless if they are old.

When Hashem called to him, Avram was just one old man, married to an old woman, Sarai. They had no children. Avram and Sarai weren’t living anywhere special or doing much differently from the people around them. Except the people around them were doing avodah zarah – davening to the rocks and trees and sun and stars, without looking for the important Reason behind all those amazing things. Hashem saw that Avram and Sarai could be really different; they could start something special. So he “planted” them in eretz Yisrael, and they grew, and grew and grew.

Hashem promised so many descendants that – like stars – they’d be impossible to count, and that’s what happened!

But all that came many years later. Right now, in our story, Avram and Sarai are still in eretz Yisrael, and something terrible happens almost right away – a famine! They must travel to Mitzrayim (that’s Egypt in Hebrew) for food. Do you remember someone else in the Torah who had to do that? If this is your first time reading the parsha, you won’t remember, but you’ll read later on about Avram’s grandson Yaakov who would also go down to Mitzrayim during a famine, after his sons bought grain from the ruler, Yoseif.image

Those were all Avram’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren… just like you!

But wait a minute! How could Avram have so many grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren if he didn’t have children at all? Avram was sad, and puzzled. He knew Sarai couldn’t have children, but in those days, men were allowed to have more than one wife, and that’s what Avram thought Hashem meant. So he married a Mitzri princess. Doesn’t that sound a bit like a fairy tale? But why did the princess choose to marry Avram?

Something special happened when Avram and Sarai went to Mitzrayim.

The Torah doesn’t usually say how a person looks, but in this parsha, we learn that Sarai is very beautiful. She was so beautiful that every man wanted to marry her. Avram knew that Paroh, the Mitzri king, would never marry a woman who was already married – he would kill her husband first and then marry her. That would be very bad. So Avram told Sarai his plan: “Tell Paroh you’re my sister and then he’ll give me gifts, while you pretend to marry him.” This strange plan worked. Paroh gave Avram many gifts – animals and servants – and took Sarai. But Hashem sent a plague to punish Paroh’s household. Paroh learned it was because of Sarai, but he was so amazed at Hashem’s power that he didn’t kill Avram – he sent them, with food and gifts, as far from his palace as he could.image

So what about the princess?

Her name was Hagar, and the Torah says she was a handmaid – a שִׁפְחָה / shifcha. But great rabbis like Rashi, whose writing helps us understand hard parts of Torah, tell us that she was really a princess – Paroh’s daughter. Rashi says that when Paroh saw the amazing things Hashem did for Avram and Sarai, he knew it was better for his daughter to be a servant of a great person like Avram than even a royal princess. Hagar went willingly, and later had a baby with Avram named Ishmael, but – unlike in a fairy tale – Sarai and Hagar didn’t always get along well.

image Later, when Ishmael was 13 years old, Hashem revealed the next part of his promise.

First, He asked Avram to cut korbanos in half and lie the parts on the ground across from each other. This was called the “bris bein ha-besarim” – covenant (promise) between the (animal) parts. Hashem said Ishmael wasn’t the promised “seed,” though he’d be the father of the great Arab nations. Hashem said Avram and Sarai needed new names – Avraham and Sarah. The best news of all: Sarah will have a baby! We’ll meet him in next week’s parsha… Vayeira!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kosher Cooking Carnival – Cheshvan 5773 Edition

Welcome to the October 17, 2012 (Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan) edition of kosher cooking carnival-kcc. And yes, I do still get a thrill writing 5773 – don’t you?  5773 is the year we make aliyah, in case anybody doesn’t know yet… the year that sounded so far off when we came home from Israel abruptly way back in, um, 5769.

Anyway, this is the Kosher Kitchen Gadgets Edition, my fourth time hosting the KCC (here’s my last one), which is presented each month thanks to the good grace, infinite patience / persistence and charm of its lovely / lively host, Batya

Why gadgets??  Because the right gadget at the right time can make or break the cooking and eating experience.  Here are a few that jumped out and grabbed my tired eyeballs as I coasted around the kosher and not-so-kosher web…

Any time dishes

Gadget #1:  did you know you could serve hard-boiled eggs shaped like bunnies, fish, cars, whatever you want???  They’re featured and sold in this post by Tori Avey, Kosher Bento Box: Pasta Salad Bento, at her woefully named Shiksa in the Kitchen blog (she says, “I am a recent convert to Judaism, but I still call myself a shiksa.”). (Caution: there’s a lot of Jewish/kosher content here, but I did notice several Hallowe’en themed posts.)

Now, I could have filed this under Shabbat and Yom Tov, but then you might think you could only eat treats on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and that wouldn’t be fair, would it?  How can we wait for Shabbos when Shoshana tempts us with this Apple Galette with Honey Ginger Ice Cream at her blog, Couldn’t be Parve.  Yes, it’s pareve (even if we do spell it differently)!  Tons of great links to other kosher foodie sites at this post, by the way.

You’re having FLEISHIKS for breakfast?  A kosher treat that’ll make your eyes pop as Yosef presents Sunday Breakfast: Bibimbap posted at This American Bite, saying, "Delicious no matter what time of day you serve it, and if you don't have orzo, just use rice."

Though some might call it heresy, Yosef presents Dairy Free Mac and Cheese posted at This American Bite, saying, "Vegan mac and cheese, serve in ramekins for the perfect side dish to any meal."  You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s no artificial anything or fake cheesey substitutes in here… well, okay, except one all-natural secret ingredient you can prepare yourself with a bit of lead time.

Anything kosher!

Gadget #2:  Turn frozen fruit into ice cream?!??  Perhaps it can be done.  A bit on the pricey side at $50 (US), but the concept is intriguing:  the ridiculously-named “Yonanas” device turns frozen bananas and other fruit into a delicious healthy – and bonus!  pareve! – icy creamy dessert.  Spotted in various locales around the kosher blog world, but the best recent “does it work?” blog entry I could find comes from this non-kosher food blog, Shockingly Delicious.

Jews don’t have a monopoly on these, but to me, few things say “kosher” like Moroccan Carrots.  If you’ve never had these savoury coins that pop with flavour, you must try Irene’s recipe in Moroccan Carrots over at Bamitbach.

Speaking of monopoly… think the French have one on all those fancy wines?  Well, they got their grapes from us, says Batya in Why The Best Wine is From HERE! posted at me-ander.

Now something a bit different.  For olim and others missing cheap North American cream cheese must check out Ester’s post, Cream Cheese Substitute posted at Frugal and Kosher.  It’s not pareve, but it looks easy and fantastic.

And lastly but not leastly, Jay3fer (that’s me!) presents Pie-ca%#^@ken! – the delightful birthday-cake surprise that just wouldn’t be over at my bread blog, Adventures in BreadLand.

Economical use of left-overs

image Gadget #3:  A leftovers gadget, of course!  This one’s still in the concept phase right now, but this blog post features the Re-Feed device, a desktop composter which presumably “recycles” your leftovers into yummy compost to feed your (nearby) plants.  More pics & detailed info here.

What kind of cook are you??  Batya presents a slice of spontaneity in Pragmatic, Spontaneous aka Creative Cooking posted at me-ander, saying, "You can also cook the rice specially for the dish."

Every day meals

Chef Laura Frankel presents so many drool-inducing ways to do potatoes (including sweet potatoes) over here at Stuffed Baked Potatoes at the Joy of Kosher blog.  These ain’t your bubby’s Stuffed Fingerling Potatoes with Caviar and Creme Fraiche.  Not that there was anything the matter with hers, you understand.

Yosef presents In Search of the Perfect Cup of Coffee (hint: it’ll leave you craving some cool kitchen gadgets!) posted at This American Bite, saying, "Trying to find the perfect cup...!"

Jay3fer (me!) presents Homemade, Home-Grown posted right here at Adventures in Mama-Land.

Every day is exactly how I feel about breadsticks, and Ester has offered to make my dreams come true with a super-easy recipe for Garlic Bread Sticks (they’re dairy, but I suppose they could be adapted somehow) over at Frugal and Kosher.

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday food

tofuxpress1_

Gadget #4:  So what the heck IS this gadget???  As spotted on KosherEye.com’s cool Kitchen Tool of the Week feature (kinda like a blog), it’s a TOFU PRESS.  You get all the benefit of tofu with enhanced texture and marinate your tofu.  Maybe you’ve noticed that even extra-firm tofu is quite watery, and kind of crumbly.  Freezing ahead of time helps the texture (giving it a more “meaty” chewiness), but the TofuXPress can press out all that excess water so you get pure tofu-y goodness.  Watch it in action at the official site.

Do we need another take on a classic?  Sure, we do!  TzirelChana offers her version in Ultimate Knaidlach at her blog, Kosher Home Cooking.

Jay3fer (hello, me again!) presents Pumpkin Noodles aka Lokshin (& Pumpkin Lokshin Kugel) posted at Adventures in Mama-Land, saying, "A great (if subtle) way to use a fall bounty of pumpkins!"

Carly Chodosh, a recovering writer, presents Our New Pet! posted at Tightly Bound, saying, "Etrog Jam recipe.”  Don’t worry, the etrog jam (or marmalade, as some call it) isn’t the pet in question.  In fact, the pet in question isn’t exactly the pet in question… okay, just read the post.

Who says we Jews can’t participate in Great American Traditions?  Like Chicken Cacciatore Day, which fell on Monday, October 15th this year.  (does it always?  who knows?).  Nina Safar over at Kosher in the Kitch! participated in high (and kosher) style with her post, Chicken Cacciatore.

And finally, a promising NEW kosher food blog – and don’t we all love those???  This one’s based in Toronto, so it’s with great pride that I introduce Foodista extraordinaire Nancy Weisbrod, who offers these inspiring words about how food can be so much more than food in The Heart Follows the Deed at mykosherkitchen@cor.

“Odds and Ends”

Gadget #5:  Inspector Gadget, of course, about whom many feel very fond, but who must have flown over my head entirely, since I never took any notice of the phenomenon, whether in cartoon, movie or anime-style TV format.  Like many of us in the kitchen, the eponymous Inspector is clumsy and dimwitted, but very occasionally saved (or foiled) by his quick-draw tools.

Ester warns Israeli readers at her blog Frugal and Kosher about yet another recall – a bit out of date, but please check your freezers so you don’t end up biting into bits of plastic! – in Tapugan "mashed potato waffles" – RECALL.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of kosher cooking carnival-kcc using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yet another uninspired picture study narration…

Blah.  This is for Mary Cassatt’s Children at the Shore:

http://www.qualityartandsigns.com/Cassatt%20MC5%208x10%20Children%20on%20the%20shore.jpg%204%2022%2011.jpg

In the back there’s an ocean and in it there are 3 boats. On the shore, there are 2 children who look very fat. After this painting, their parents are going to come in one of the boats and take them for a boat ride. I don’t like this painting because the kind I do like is very, very bright and no dark. On one of the girls, there is a ribbon on her hat; the other girl doesn’t have a hat or a ribbon. In the painting, some of the boats are sailing and some of them are just coasting. The girls are digging with a shovel and buckets.

Me, prompting… What kind of person do you think WOULD enjoy this painting, even though you don’t?

I think Mary Cassatt would like this painting but I don’t like it – maybe her friends would, too.

So much for Mary Cassatt being a good, approachable “first artist” for kids.  :-/

(we have studied her before… but Naomi Rivka’s mostly in a contrary mood at the moment and would say she doesn’t like anything I make her look at…)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bereishis Parsha Summary: A New Beginning…

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I  use the words “some people think” or something similar (find out why).  If you find these overviews helpful, or if there’s a typo, or something is confusing you or your kids, I’d love to hear from you.  Pretty please, with sugar on top?

Images this week (taken from here) are by Sweet Publishing,freely shared under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


Welcome back!!!

Bereishis means in the beginning… but because we never start OR finish learning Torah, we just carry on what we’ve been learning so far. It’s a brand-new story, about a brand-new world, but it’s important to remember where the story leads – to Har Sinai, to the Torah, and then to eretz Yisrael. But all of that is hundreds of years away now as we rewind the sifrei Torah all the way back to the beginning… and in the very beginning, Hashem made everything.

But the way Hashem made everything is interesting.

How do YOU make things? First, you need to gather all the stuff you’ll need! Then, you do whatever it takes: hammer nails into wood, or stitch a needle into fabric, or stir eggs into sugar. You can’t just sit back and THINK about a bookshelf, an apron or a cake! And you certainly can’t just say “bookshelf,” “apron” or “cake”… not if you want a place to put your books, or dessert for Shabbos (or a clean shirt while it’s baking).

Hashem is very different! Hashem is not like a person – at ALL.

Sometimes, we say “Hashem’s hand” or “Hashem’s face,” but Hashem has no body. Hashem isn’t a man or a woman. In English, we say “He,” but that’s only because there’s no good way to discuss someone who isn’t a person. And it’s the same when we say Hashem “made” something. Hashem doesn’t need supplies, or ingredients, or tools – Hashem made the world just by speaking. (Without a mouth? It is VERY difficult for us to imagine what Hashem is like – people called theologians have spent many thousands of years trying to describe Him, and they’re still not very good at it.)

image So Hashem spoke, and there was the world. It took seven days and ten “utterances” – ten speakings:

  • · Day 1: “Let there be light” – light and darkness
  • · Day 2: “Let there by sky in the midst of water” – heaven (shomayim) and earth
  • · Day 3: “Let the dry land appear” – land and seas

“Let the earth sprout vegetation” – that’s a fancy way of saying “plants”

  • · Day 4: “Let there be lights in the heavens” – sun and moon and stars
  • · Day 5: “Let the waters swarm…and let fowl fly over the earth” – fish and birds
  • · Day 6: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures” – land animals and insects

“Let us make man in our image” – human beings are a little like Hashem!

“Be fruitful and multiply” – The first mitzvah! Have many children to care for His earth.

“I have given you every herb…and every tree” – He will provide food and take good care of us.

  • · Day 7: Shabbos – Hashem didn’t make anything at all on the seventh day. …or did He?

Hashem might not have made anything on Shabbos, but He showed us how must live on His earth – resting every week. He created people “in His image,” and to be like Him, we have to stop working and take time for holy, special days.

image There is so much more in this week’s parsha than we can talk about here!

The story of Adam and Chava, the first people, could fill a book! They made huge mistakes, almost right away. Hashem let them have any fruit in Gan Eden except from the Eitz HaDa’as (Tree of Knowledge). So which one did they eat? That one, of course. Adam said Chava made him eat it; Chava said the snake made her eat it. The snake was punished, and so were Adam and Chava – cast out of the perfect garden Hashem created for them, into the world of pain and hunger.

Life was very, very hard, right from the very beginning…

When Adam and Chava had children, one of them became the first murderer! Kayin was a farmer, and when he brought any old crops for a korban, Hashem preferred the delicious fat lambs his brother Haveil brought. So Kayin killed Haveil and ran off with a mark on his forehead. Adam and Chava had another son, Sheis, and through him, everyone else was born (some people believe Kayin and Haveil were born with twin sisters, which would explain who he married!).

There are also lots and lots and LOTS of names in this week’s parsha!

The Torah lists the names of fathers and their sons, all ten generations after Adam. It also says how old they were when they died. Those ages are pretty strange – Adam lived 930 years. The longest life was Mesushelach, who was 969. There’s still an expression, “As old as Methuselah” (that’s his English name!). But they all died, right? Maybe not… Chanoch, the father of Mesushelach, lived 365 years, but he’s the only one about whom the lists don’t say “he died.”

Instead, it says “Chanoch walked with G-d” (elokim).

What does this mean? Some people think he really never died – he was one of nine tzaddikim who went to shomayim alive. What a tremendous zechus (honour)! But the most important person comes right at the very end, after ten generations of people getting into bigger and bigger trouble. Then, along comes one good man, the grandson of old, old Mesushelach. His name was Noach.

… and we’ll read more about him in next week’s parsha – Parshas Noach!