Thursday, 13 December 2012

All in the bag-- Miketz

And the plot thickens!

Parashat Miketz begins with Paroh's usual dreams and the Sar hamashkim (butler) suddenly remembering Yosef. The details of his dreams, the cows eating cows and wheat eating wheat, never struck me as peculiar, but probably because the story is so familiar. Gabi was scared of cows eating other things (like her) but Cohava assured her that cows only eat other cows. I set the record straight. The next day I saw Gabi drawing what I thought were giant yellow flowers but she explained that they were 'fat wheat, hiding from the skinny ones'.

The girls were not surprised by Yosef's appointment to Paroh's viceroy nor the eventual arrival of the brothers. But the brothers being accused of being spies? "Are spies baddies?" Cohava asked. "Umm sometimes," I replied, visions of the Cold War, James Bond, and Jonathan Pollard tumbling through my head. "Like if you are trying to get secrets to keep Israel safe, you are a good spy. If you are trying to sneak around and get secrets to hurt them, you are bad," I explained. I couldn't think of any other way to make something so gray, black and white for her.

As the story continues, the sacks the brothers carry play a large role. They are mentioned when they leave Canaan, arrive in Egypt, and leave Egypt. They are shocked to discover their bags are filled with food and the money they intended to pay.

The parasha ends with the biggest bag moment, the discovery of Yosef's special cup inside the sack of Binyamin and Yosef's threat to keep him as a slave. Dum dum dum...

These sacks the brothers carried were pretty integral to the story.  So that is what we made.

The girls have been interested in sewing but they are not ready to really work with a needle and thread. They need a little more practice. They sell "sewing kits" that are fabric with pre-punched holes, like threading cards, with yarn and plastic needles. I decided to make my own such project.

I was thrilled to discover that a regular hole punch works on fabric. Using some scrap of white cotton, I made trails of holes for the girls to 'sew' through.

The girls were very excited about sewing "just like Ema."

 "May I please have some food, Yoseph?"

Then to change things up a little, they decorated with crayons instead of permanent markers. I could iron the project to make the colors stay, but that would require ironing.

May your proverbial bag be filled with brachot and not too many unwanted surprises.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Vayeshev- Sibling Rivarly

I love Parashat Vayeshev! In fact I love the whole Yosef story. It is one of Tanach's greatest suspense thrillers, includes a cast of interesting characters, and it conjures emotions everyone can relate to personally. It has all the makings of a great Broadway show! And I do love the soundtrack to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This week, instead of listening to shiurim during evening chores, I enjoyed Joseph. Lunches get made a lot faster to "Go Go Joseph".

The themes in this parasha are also much easier to teach children than last week. Obviously it needs to be softened, but the idea of wanting to harm your sibling because of jealousy is something that all children can relate to at some point.
This week my girls inadvertently acted out their own sibling rivalry battle. Cohava took a piece of dress-up clothes that Gabi wanted. Standing on the bathtub ledge she taunted, "I got it and you don't!" Then Cohava lost her balance and fell on Gabi, fracturing her leg.
Following this episode, the girls listened to the story of Yosef with extra attentiveness.
And their project reflected the physical representation of their jealousy, the ketonet pasim, the striped tunic Yaakov presented his son.

Target t-shirts + sharpie markers =

Shabbat Shalom!