Day 6 – Passover 2012: Ancient Story, Modern Lessons

Day 6 – Passover 2012: Ancient Story, Modern Lessons

Egyptians – Adult Reflections

On the surface it seems quite unfair that the whole nation of Egypt is punished for the actions of a single man: Pharaoh.  Yet the Bible seems to teach us a lesson about civic involvement.  Joseph De Maistre, a 17th-century French diplomat, said the famous and much-paraphrased words: “Every Nation has the government it deserves.”  Clearly the Egyptians stood by while all kind of evil things were perpetrated upon the Israelites.  The Egyptians were victims of their own passivity.  The plagues visited upon all Egypt were collective punishment for their collective inaction, if not cooperation, with Pharaoh.

One cannot claim innocence just because one stands by and is not directly involved in wrong doing.  We have an obligation to try to make a difference.  The Torah already teaches us: Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds (Lev 19:16).

Egyptians for Younger Children

It might seem really unfair that the Egyptian people had to suffer just because the Pharaoh made some bad choices. But the Egyptians made a bad choice too! All they did was whine about the choices the Pharaoh made…and whining doesn’t help at all!

Discuss with the children how they react to not getting their way.

Have you ever whined because your mother decided to make cookies and you wanted brownies…because she didn’t make the choice you wanted?

What else could you have done?

Could you think about the last time you did get what you wanted?

Could behaving this way make the time your wishes are granted come sooner!

Egyptians for Older Children and Teenagers

On the surface it seems quite unfair that the whole nation of Egypt is punished by the actions of a single man: Pharaoh.  Yet the Bible seems to teach us a lesson about blindly following the word of others without giving any real thought to what is going on.

Clearly the Egyptians stood by while all kind of evil things were perpetrated upon the Israelites.  The Egyptians were victims of their own passivity.  The plagues visited upon all Egypt were a collective punishment for their collective inaction, if not cooperation, with Pharaoh.

It is so easy to be a follower! Especially when speaking up is not the most popular thing to do. But when you just follow or stand by and watch as the crowd makes bad choices, you cannot claim innocence! You are just as involved in the wrongdoing.

As Jews, we have an obligation to try to make a difference, and sometimes that means making the hard choice of speaking out against bad choices and not following the crowd.

The Torah already teaches us: Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds (Lev 19:16).

Has peer pressure ever caused you to make a poor choice and become involved in wrongdoing?

Have you ever not spoken up when you saw your friends bullying, cheating or making fun of someone?

What does it take to not follow the crowd when the crowd is wrong?

What kind of “tools” do you have at your disposal to help you make the right choice in a difficult situation?

Tomorrow – Day 7: God

*Coming this Friday: Shabbat services will mark the end of Passover – and we’ll be able to have our traditional challah again at our Oneg Shabbat!  Also, if you’re still craving carbs after that, our open dinner group will be going to Cinzetti’s (just west of Metcalf on 91st Street) after services.

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