Shemot begins the story of the Jewish enslavement in Egypt. The girls, especially Tova, were particularly interested in this 'new king' and how could someone be so mean."For our project we should make stuff for Paroh, like clothes or something," Ruti suggested.
This really was a lovely idea. But I couldn't find any cardstock paper, only reams of regular and it wouldn't work as well.
I brought out my Paroh doll and he began to yell at the girls. "I heard you wanted to make fancy clothes so you can look like me! No way! No one looks like me or is like me! I am the only Paroh and you are nothing but a slave. You must do this work for me!"
I handed them pages from this print-out I compiled.
Here is an mini packet of Egypt work pages.
Everyone had to write a message in hieroglyphics. The little girls had to color a beautiful picture of Paroh and build 2 pyramids (and were given two paper templates). The big girls were given the word search and told to build 4 pyramids (from 2 templates).
The girls were thrilled with this assignment and rushed off gleeful to work. This was the final day of school break. Theoretically this vacation means lounging around, reveling in the lack of structure and responsibility. Complete freedom. But my children were not reveling in freedom. They were delighting in work, even fairly mindless work.
Ruti and Tova worked to please Paroh. Tova insisted he was a bad man who must be obeyed. Ruti insisted he must actually be good (I love how she looks for the good in everyone). Gabi rebelled against him, rude and violent. Cohava worked to outsmart him. Regardless of how they felt about him, they worked to complete the assignment.
There is a question of how exactly the Jewish people came to be enslaved by Paroh. A midrash recounted in Shemot Rabbah explains how Bnei Yisrael was tricked into slavery. Initially the Egyptians, even Paroh, were working with all of the Israelites. Everyone was eager to work towards a shared goal of building up Pitom and Ramses. But then Paroh and the Egyptians revealed it was a ruse and the Jews were now slaves, while everyone else were freed from the project. Frankly this midrash does not elucidate for me how Bnei Yisrael became slaves. But it does shed light on the way we throw around the term slave in modern parlance.
How does someone became a slave to their job, family, or fashion? It starts with enthusiasm towards a positive goal. Slowly the joy, enthusiasm, and support are disappear. Then one is enslaved in a situation of their own making. In many ways this slavery is easier to escape from. It does not require the Hand of God in the same way as the Exodus. But a slavery of our making is the hardest to recognize and extract ourselves from because the responsibility is on us and not on the Divine. First you have to acknowledge the slavery you have put yourself into. Then you must work to change mindset, situation, and often boundaries to work towards your freedom. [This concept could be deemed victim blaming. That is not the slavery I am referring to. Although some of these modern 'slaveries' are not entirely of one's own making, like a slave to rush hour traffic patterns, one can still be mindful to improve and change a situation.
Sometimes my daughter yells, "You are not the boss of me!" "Actually I am!" I often reply in the heat of the disagreement. But the truth is we are both off the mark. A master or dictator's concern is only for himself. A boss's concern is for the well-being of his company, with a focus towards profit. A parent's concern is the order of the family as a whole, the child in the present, and a mindfulness of the child's growth. The real different between the boss and the parent is the parent is (ideally) always considering the individual child's present and future success, not the boss' need to succeed himself.
Blogger is refusing to upload photos, so I shall stop here.