Friday, 16 May 2014

The consequences of Bechukotai

The first three aliyot [portions] of Parasha Bechukotai explain consequences. It is very clear. If you follow Hashem's commandments and keep mitzvot, He will reward you. If you don't, the punishments are outlined clearly in a chilling and graphic description known as the tochecha [admonition]. 

I asked the girls if they knew what else this was called. 

"Consequences!" the big girls chorused together. This is a word we use a lot. As I discussed here, this word often has a negative connotation for children, but I think my girls are clear on the meaning. 

We discussed Hashem's role in consequences within our daily lives.
"Because of the mitzvah of keebud av v'em [honoring your parents] I have to do what you say or there will be a bad consequence, right?" Cohava asked.
"Umm, yes."
"And when I get a rash on my face because I don't wash it before bed, that is Hashem's consequence for me for not listening when you told me to wash my face?" Gabi asked. 

Whow! This was getting way to heavy and guilt ridden. 
I explained the science of healthy skin. I explained that Hashem does oversee the human body but we have to do our part to take care of it. 

Consequences in the form of reward for good behavior is an easier topic than 'why bad things happen to good people' so we moved on to our project. 

"What consequence do you like to get when you've done a good job?" I asked. 
"Prizes!" they cheered over and over. This time Ruti joined in. I am not big on prizes, but their teachers are. 

So we made sticker charts. Part of our rules for sticker chart is that stickers can be scratched off for misconduct. 

I gave the girls poster-board and stencils for their chart making. The stencils were interesting.
"Ima, it is really hard to use the stencils! Nothing lines up! All my letters look stupid!" Gabi found it very very challenging. 
"Keep trying, kiddo. YIt can be tricky, and you are doing a great job."
"Ima, I love the stencils. All the letters come out perfectly," Cohava had to add.
"What is the consequence of using a stencil?"
"Everything comes out just right!" Cohava replied.
"Gabi, is it easy to follow the lines of the stencil exactly?" 
"No," she grumbled.
"What is following stencils kind of like?"
"Following the Torah!"
What is the reward going to be for the stickers? The school is having book fair next week. They were going to harass me for money for books anyway, so now stickers equal money. They are practicing math, figuring out 'how many quarter stickers do I need for a book that is $3.99?'

 בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ

Chazak Chazak V'Nitchazek!

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