Bereishit/Genesis

 
 

Day one- peshat- face value of the text

Give over summary-- use this one or your own: 

God creates the world and everything in it in six days and rests on the seventh. (1:1-2:3)
Adam and Eve are placed in the Garden of Eden, where they eat the forbidden fruit and are subsequently exiled. (2:15-3:24)
Adam and Eve have two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain kills his brother, Abel. (4:1-24)
Adam and Eve have another child named Seth. The Torah lists the ten generations from Adam to Noah. (4:25-5:32)
God regrets having created human beings and decides to destroy everything on earth, but Noah finds favor with God. (6:5-6:8)

Discussion:

1) Mention the big bang story and evolution. Discuss the difference between history and story. History attempts to accurately transmit events of the past. Story attempts to transmit values and ideas through conveying events that are not necessarily historically true.

2) Ask kids-- if this isn’t historically true-- what might the story of God creating the world be trying to teach us?

 
 

Questions on the G-dcast video:  1)Ask children about “light” as a metaphor. What might the Torah mean by God creating light if there was no sun? 2) Sing or mention the song "this little light of mine". Ask what they think this means to have a 'light" inside of you.

DAY two- mussar/ethics

The Power of Words.
This week, God creates the world with words. What do we learn from this about what we should do? Just as God created the world with words, we create with our words. If we say words of kindness and love, we create kindness and love in the world. If we say words of anger and hate, we create anger and hate.


Once, a boy thought he saw the great Rabbi Israel Baal Shem stealing. He then went around and told everyone in town. The Rabbi called him into his office and said, “why are you telling lies about me?” The boy learned that he was wrong! “I’m sorry,” he said, “what can I do to make it up to you?” The Rabbi told the boy to meet him on the top of a hill with a feather pillow and a knife the next day. When the boy saw the rabbi on the hill, he asked if he forgave him. The Rabbi said, “tear open the pillow and let the feathers out.” So he did. “Now do you forgive me,” he asked? “First go gather up all the feathers, then I will forgive you.” “But that’s impossible said the boy, they are already out there!” “Aha,” said the rabbi, “just like it would be impossible to gather up all of those feathers, so it would be impossible for you to take back your words. You are forgiven-- but the damage you have done cannot be undone. Please be careful with your words in the future!”

Discussion:

1) How do we create or destroy with our words?
2) Why did the Baal Shem Tov scatter the feathers?
3) Have you ever gossiped about other people? How did it turn out?

 

 

day 3- Hebrew

The letter bet.
בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ.
Bereishit bara Elohim et HaShamayim ve-et Haaretz.

Translation:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 
Look at and study the letter bet:
 בְּ

It makes a “b” sound when it has a dot inside and a “v” sound when there is no dot. The vowel underneath (two dots on top of each other) is called a shva and it makes an “e” sound. The letter bet before a word means “in” or by means of.

 

day 4 - midrash

The story goes that when God created humanity, God took some clay from the holiest place on earth, separated out two pieces, and formed them into a man and a woman and breathed into them souls--the breath of life. The man was called Adam, and the woman was called Lilith. Now Adam thought that he was in charge, so he started to boss Lilith around. For example, “Woman!” he would call out, “give me my dinner!”
and
“Woman! Make my bed!” and on and on in this way, until Lilith had had enough!
She packed up her things while Adam was sleeping, and snuck off into the night.
When Adam woke up and saw that Lilith was gone, he started to cry to God.
“God,” he sobbed, “Lilith is gone! Make her come back, please?”
God said, “Adam, do you understand that you hurt her feelings bossing her around like that?”
“But…. but ...Okay okay. Yes.”
“Well-- I can’t get her to come back unless you are truly sorry for the way you treated her!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Please, I will do anything to have her back! Please make her come back!” he cried.
“I can’t MAKE her come back,”God said, “that is her choice alone. You may have hurt her so badly with your words that she doesn’t want to come back. But I will try for you Adam. Because we are friends, and because you are sorry.”
So God sent three angels named Sanoi, Sansanoi, and Semangelof to try to bring her back. They travelled the world looking for her and finally found her on an island in the middle of the sea. She was laying on the beach, sipping on a coconut drink,  a smile on her face.
“Who are you?” She asked.
“We are angels sent by God. Adam wants you to come back. He want you to know that he’s really sorry for how he treated you.”
“Well-- you tell him that its too late!” She said. “he had his chance to be nice to me and he blew it! I’m happy here on my Island. Tell him to go find a new girlfriend.”
And so the angels went back and told God all that Lilith had said. 
God said to Adam, “See what you’ve done? Maybe you will learn to always speak to others with love and respect in the future. I will help you find love again-- this time, don’t mess it up!”

Discussion:

1) What do you think of Adam bossing Lillith around?
2) Why do you think Lillith ran away?
3) Why do you think she refused to come back?
4) Have you ever felt like Lillith?
5) Have you ever felt like Adam from the story?

6) Have you ever felt like God from the story?

 

day 5- thought

Brother’s Keeper
Eve had a son and named him Cain. She said, "I have had a male child with God's help.”

 Then she also gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel became a shepherd of a flock, but Cain became a farmer. 

 One day Cain presented some vegetables from his farm  as an offering to God. 

Abel presented one of his sheep as an offering. God responded to Abel thanking him for his offering but did not respond to Cain.. Cain was furious!

Then the God said to Cain, "Why are you furious? And why are you sad? If you do right, won't you be accepted?"

Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field.”

While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Later, God asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" Cain replies, "I don’t know: am I my brother's keeper?"

God said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand; When you work the land, from now on it will not produce any fruit or vegitables ; you are now cursed to wander the earth." (Genesis 4:1–12).


1) Why do you think Cain killed his brother Abel?
2) Was God right in not thanking Cain for his offering too?
3) What do you think Cain meant when he asked “am I my brother’s keeper”?
4) What does it mean to be your “brother’s keeper”?
5) Do you have any siblings? How have you been their “keeper” and how have you not been their keeper?

 

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