as a hebrew school teacher, i often smelled fear in parents dropping off their children for sunday school. were they having flashbacks to their education? is there such thing as p.t.h.s.d., post-traumatic hebrew school disorder?
as such, this post is intended to provide parents courage and insight when they introduce the ten commandments to their children at home. to quote the movie “the waterboy,” “you can do it!”
individuals often return to religion, synagogues and churches, when they have children. for jewish parents, they wish their children to be educated and have a bar or bat mitzvah.
a period of absence from the religion, however, comes with some loss of knowledge and uncertainty. parents, who are highly successful in academics, business and professions can have a blind spot when it comes to religious practice.
this post is here for you. “you can do it!”
teaching the ten commandments is all about what led up to the ten commandments. stories pre-dating the ten commandments provide students the understanding of why there are ten commandments . for example, the ten commandments references god taking the children of israel out of eqypt. how can you explain the ten commandments without telling the story of the exodus?
so, as a parent, the first thing to do is to get an age appropriate bible story book which covers the topics i recommend. one should not feel constrained to only one text. multiple books may work as well.
with respect to finding books, i do not recommend book stores such as barnes & nobles or amazon. religious book stores offer a better selection. look through the books before purchasing. make sure that it covers the material correctly. likewise, public or religious institution libraries are also a good source for these books. in the future, i will recommend books in another post.
there are certain stories that you should find in order to introduce the ten commandments.
the following stories should employed:
creation. the creator of the universe making the world in six days and resting on the seventh. SABBATH
abraham: the story of how abraham found god. there is the famous non-biblical story of abraham watching his father’s idol shop and destroying the idols. ONE GOD and IDOLATRY/GRAVEN IMAGES
abraham’s binding of isaac: god tested abraham for asking him to sacrifice his son. abraham was stopped from doing so. essentially, people are not meant to be sacrificed. MURDER (the story of cain and abel is an alternative.)
isaac and ishmael: when abraham passed away, they buried him together. HONORING ONE’S MOTHER AND FATHER (in essence, children with possible grievances set them aside for a moment of honoring a parent.)
isaac blessing esau: GOD’S NAME IN VAIN (note: it is not about swearing but rather about making promises and pledges and evoking the master of the universe’s name to do so. isaac would not take away from the fact he blessed jacob to rule over esau: genesis 27:37)
joseph and his coat: his brother’s getting jealous. COVET
joseph’s brothers lying to jacob of joseph’s death. LYING
joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery: THEFT
potiphar’s wife accusing joseph of misconduct: ADULTERY and LYING
in sum, i welcome any questions or comments. i am more than happy to expand the conversation to assist. likewise, if it is an individual questions, please feel free to email me.
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