We are getting into the swing of things in BMitzvah class! During Sukkot, we were ate snack and had Tefillah in the sukkah, incorporating shaking the lulav and etrog into Tefillah. That was super fun!
In text study each day, our learners are asking rich questions and creating their own commentary. Everyone decorated a binder in which to keep their notes from text study hevrutah. At the end of the year, everyone will have a record of their thoughts and deep learning!
We are having some great conversations about transformation as we continue our first read of the story of Esav and Yaakov’s reunion in Vayishlach. In the lead up to the reunion, we learned that Yaakov went to great lengths to prepare for the worst case scenario, clearly fearing Esav! Yet when they met, Esav greeted Yaakov with such kindness and generosity.
We asked, “Did Esav transform? Or was it everyone’s opinion that changed? Does that count as transformation?”
- Yes, he transformed.
- The people transformed, so Esav had to transform to accommodate their new opinion.
- Esav’s actions caused the people to change their opinion.
- What were Esav’s actions? Ch. 33:4, Esav at the reunion, embracing and kissing Yaakov. Ch. 33:9, Esav being kind to Yaakov.
In chapter 35, when we read of Rachel’s death during the birth of Binyamin, we asked, “Is death a transformation?”
- No. Well, yes, but not a meaningful one. Because you don’t know you died. It’s a transformation for everyone else [who are still alive].
It was also noticed that in chapter 35, Yaakov’s name was changed to Yisrael for a second time. We wondered, why was that? His name already changed to Yisrael!
- Maybe the first time was a suggestion and the second time makes it final.
This was an interesting segue into discussing Yaakov/Yisrael’s family. Learners wondered why when Yaakov had so many children, why we were not familiar with the names of most of them. It was obvious Levi’s children became the Levites. But what about the rest of them? We discussed that their descendants made up the 12 tribes of the Children of Israel. And asked us to think about what that meant- once Yaakov’s name was changed to Yisrael, his descendents were literally the children of Yisrael, and that’s where that name for the Jewish people comes from!
Everyone is excited for Rosh Pinah to start next Monday. Though we thoroughly enjoyed all the chagim, we are also looking forward to finally settling into a regular routine of BMitzvah class 3 days a week!