Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Dear Families,
As I write this column, I am working on a 10-week curriculum on Midrash for our Melton students. I love exploring the rabbinic midrashim and sharing them. Many of us know the stories and yet are surprised that the tales we know so well are not in the Torah but are interpretations. Midrash is interpretation — the stories fill in the gaps and tell us the details. Haven’t you always wondered what Cain and Abel talked about that led to murder? What did Joseph say to his brothers from the pit? There are so many questions, and so midrashim were written both to give us “the rest of the story” and to help us discover the messages in the ancient text that is relevant today.
Reading the midrashim from the past eras leads to reading contemporary midrash — we learn what rabbis and educators today are struggling with and helping us learn the messages from the Torah. My class doesn’t know it yet but we will creating our own midrashim in many different ways (hope they are not reading this and wondering what they got themselves into!). We begin to interpret when we read a passage and wonder, “What were they thinking?” Here is my own attempt from a few years back. I wondered what Pharaoh’s daughter said to her father when she came home with Moses (Exodus 2:5-10)!

‘Please, Daddy, Please Can I Keep Him?’

Look what I found today in the river.

Isn’t he cute? Can I keep him?
You know I’ve always wanted a child for my own.
Please, Daddy, please! Can I keep him?
It doesn’t matter where he came from…
He’s little … he’ll forget.
Please, Daddy, please! Can I keep him?
I’ve already found a nurse for him.
He won’t be much trouble.
Can I keep him forever?
Yes, I know he will grow up.
But how much trouble can one little boy make?
How big can he get?
Try to write your own — it’s fun and it makes you really think about the story and the lessons.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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