Thursday, 14 March 2013

Vayikra with a Pinch of Salt

Welcome to Vayikra, a detailed account of korbanot, the sacrifices brought in the Mishkan. Maybe it is because I am a former vegetarian or because we cannot bring korbanot today but this topic does not excite me. It was not a week where I had an abundance of information to share with the girls. I have always found it surprising that in many communities Sefer Vayikra is the first topic taught to school children.

Obviously, I was not going to try any actual korbanot for the project of the week. And that is all there is in the parasha- except for chapter 2 verse 13.

13. And you shall salt every one of your meal offering sacrifices with salt, and you shall not omit the salt of your God's covenant from [being placed] upon your meal offerings. You shall offer salt on all your sacrifices.יג. וְכָל קָרְבַּן מִנְחָתְךָ בַּמֶּלַח תִּמְלָח וְלֹא תַשְׁבִּית מֶלַח בְּרִית אֱלֹקיךָ מֵעַל מִנְחָתֶךָ עַל כָּל קָרְבָּנְךָ תַּקְרִיב מֶלַח:

There are many beautiful commentaries on this passuk. There is a midrash that on the second day of creation, when Hashem moved half the water into the Heavens, the waters of the ocean became jealous. They wanted to reach these lofty heights. Hashem promised them that they would also achieve a great stature, that is when their salt is used for sacrifices. 

Ramban explains that salt has two diametrically opposed properties. It destroys, as it prevents plants from growing, and it saves, as it preserves food. The salt used on sacrifices is symbolic of our relationship with God. When we serve Him appropriately, it preserves us. When we don't, our own destruction is imminent. 

The salt used in sacrifices is the primary source for the salt used on Challot on Shabbat. Sorry Lot's wife.

If you haven't guessed already, we made salt holders for our project. 

We already have a plethora of salt shakers, so I thought we would make salt bowls. From what I have inferred, salt bowls are preferable for challah because 1) salt shakers are a relatively new invention 2) the challah should be dipped in salt. 

My husband also follows the Moroccan minhag of declaring "Hashem Melech, Hashem Malach, Hashem Yimloch le'olam va'ed" after his first bite of challah. I always assumed this was reminiscent of saying the passuk before Shacharit - a way to inspire the right mood for the meal. Or a pun on 'melach', the Hebrew word for salt. Apparently the meaning is much deeper.

So the project:

I typed the aforementioned passuk and made the text go in a circle.

I printed the circles, let the girls cut them out, and they got to work colouring them.

 When the circles were finished, I laminated them while the girls decorated the cups. The cups were just disposable hot/cold cups, which I cut in half.
 For cup decorating, they used permanent markers.

Meanwhile, Ruti worked on her own project.


When the girls were finished the cups, I hot glue gunned the two parts together.

When the girls were asleep I discovered they misunderstood the purpose of the cups, and thought they were salt shaker holders. I will clarify it before Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Lit up over Vayakel Pekudei

 This week we will read two parshiot, Vayakel and Pekudei. These two portions are generally read together (only in leap years does Pekudei get its own week) but it seems that no one in my family is particularly excited about them. My husband is not keen on the 214 pesukim in this lengthy Torah reading. Gabi only wants to talk about "the Pesach story".
{These are Gabi's recent buildings. They are on the theme of 'slaves building in Egypt'}

Cohava is very agitated about these parshiot. "We already read all of this!" she exclaimed.
"What do you mean?" I asked. She grabbed one of our parasha books, and flipped back to parashat Terumah. Sure enough, the description was almost identical. In all of the parshiot where Hashem is describing the Mishkan and bigdei kehuna to Moshe, the book narrates as though the construction is occurring. So Cohava feels cheated.

Instead of delving into the parshiot and looking for aspect of the Mishkan and bigdei kehuna which I had not explored with the children, I decided the third passuk of Vayakel would inspire our project.

 "You shall not kindle fire in any of your dwellings on the Shabbat day."

I asked the girls what they thought this passuk meant.

"Its like, you can't light Shabbat candles on Shabbat," Cohava explained.
"Or like, use the matches to cook," Gabi added.
"Is that the only type of fire we have in our house? Is it the only thing we can't turn on and off?"
"Cars! No driving!" Gabi said, missing the point about 'in our house'.
"No lights!" Cohava exclaimed.
"That is right. No turning lights on or off on Shabbat."

This week's project: Shabbat Light Switch covers! In case you have never seen this gizmo, it is something that fits over a light switch to stop you from accidentally flipping it.

Here is someone else's video on how to make shabbat covers.

First of all, the video is kind of irritating. Secondly, the instructions in the beginning and the sample shown are completely different from what the video actually instructs. Third of all, the switches in Australia are different than those in America. In fact, no two switches in my house are the same.

So here is what we did.

Tools needed:
Popsicle sticks (in Australia they are called iceypole sticks)
match sticks (these are not from matches, but are little wooden sticks about 1/3 the length of a popsicle stick)
blu tack (or magnets)

Step one:
Glue two 'towers' of sticks, each four or five high. Leave these to dry for  little while.

Step two:
Glue a five match sticks perpendicular to the top and bottom of the two piles. Leave it to dry for a little while.

Step three:
Glue four popsicle sticks on to the two sections of match sticks.

When the product is all dry, it is ready to be attached to the light switch.  The method used in the video and in the actual product is a magnet. But it won't work on my Australian outlet. So I stuck blu-tack on the sides.

                                     Before                                                                       After

And now people won't identically turn bathroom lights off on Shabbat!

Shabbat Shalom!