How do various commentators look at the same phrase and derive a totally different meaning?
How does having "יראת אלקים (yirat elokim)" affect one's actions, in the Bible and today?
Learners will be able to retell the story of the midwives.
Learners will be able to present at least two opinions about the identity of the midwives.
Learners will write a dialogue between the midwives, speculating on their deliberation of what to do.
Learners will be able to explain the concept of "יראת אלקים (yirat elokim)" and its components.
Learners will appreciate examples of people acting with "יראת אלקים (yirat elokim)" in modern life.
Step 1: Understanding the text - Who are the midwives?
- The teacher reviews Pharaoh's first attempt to limit the growth of B'nai Yisrael as told in Shemot 1: 9-14.
- Students work with a chevruta to understand Pharaoh's second attempt at limiting the growth of B'nai Yisrael as told in Shemot 1: 15-16. Students can work through the text using this source sheet. The source sheet can be adapted to accommodate the language of instruction and students' Hebrew level.
- Students write an imaginary dialogue between the midwives as they discuss whether or not they should follow Pharaoh's decree.
- Using the above source sheet, the students translate the phrase, "מְיַלְּדֹת הָעִבְרִיֹּת" in two different ways and look for commentators who interpret the phrase in these ways.
- When everyone has finished, students can share their dialogues with the entire class or they can move around the classroom to find students to share their dialogues with. It is recommended that each student pair with 3-4 different students.
Step 2: What did the midwives do and why?
- The students study the next section of text, Shemot 1:17-21 in order to understand the narrative. Students may work together in chevruta using this source sheet to prepare the text. The source sheet can be adapted to accommodate the language of instruction and students' Hebrew level.
- Students look at another example of the use of יראת ה׳ in the Torah.
- Students consider a definition of יראת אלקים (yirat elokim), moral courage, and decide if the midwives' actions fit the critera.
- Students watch a video of a modern example of moral courage.
- Students ask their parents for an example in their lives of someone who displayed moral courage.
- Students add their parents' stories to a source sheet where there can read and comment on the stories.