January 10, 2002
A Portion of Parshat Va'yera
This week, Moses begins the job of freeing the Israelites in earnest. He has already approached Pharoah and asked for the release of his people, but Pharaoh does not listen. He approaches Pharaoh again and warns him about the plagues, but Pharaoh does not listen. Even after he turns water to blood and covers the land with frogs, Pharaoh does not listen. It is then that Moses and God must resort to more and more harmful plagues.
Does it ever happen to you that someone, like a brother or sister, tries to tell you something, and you don't listen? You still ride their skateboard without permission, or you just won't change the channel. Do you find that they have to resort to more hurtful measures? Pharaoh could have avoided a lot of pain for himself and his people if he had just listened. But his heart was hard. And when God hardened his heart, it was just an extension of Pharaoh's own hardness. So, soften your heart, put yourself in the shoes of the person who is trying to be heard. One day you will want to be heard too.
The Book Corner
Here is a book about a girl who, like the Israelites, feels trapped, and must find a way to free herself from the confines of the walls that surround her.
"Rivka's Way"by Teri Kanefield. (Front Street/Cricket Books, 2001). Ages: 9-13. This historical fiction takes place in a Jewish ghetto in Prague in the late 1700s. Curious, rebellious 15-year-old Rivka, daughter of an affluent doctor, longs to explore beyond the ghetto walls. The story tells what happens when she finds a way to do so. It's refreshing to read Jewish historical fiction that focuses on life and living conditions during relatively normal times.