Target audience:
This lesson plan was written for middle school students who are familiar with the story of Purim as told in Megillat Esther.
Since the lesson is based on the motif of hiding, it is assumed that the class will have discussed several examples such as:
  • Esther hiding her Jewish identity.
  • God's name not being mentioned outright but hinted at.
  • Celebrating Purim by wearing masks and costumes.
  • Make it yours!
    Like all lesson plans, this sheet can be adapted to fit your students and perspective.
    Suggested changes include:
    • Choose a different topic for the d'var Torah.
    • Ask students to pick their own topic.
    • Adapt the requirements for the sheet. Remove some requirements or add others such as adding a connecting text or an article on the internet.
    • Include artwork. Students can draw a picture to accompany their d'var Torah and upload it to the sheet.
    • Students record the d'var Torah and attach the recording to the sheet.
    • Consider ways to share the students' work. Suggestions include making the sheets public or adding them to a Padlet board and sending the link to the parents or school community.
    Essential Questions:
    • What can we learn from the episodes of hiddenness in Megillat Esther?
    • What can Esther teach us about being an effective leader?
    Learning Objectives
    • Students understand the importance of the theme of hiddenness in Megillat Esther.
    • Students are able to relate a message from the text to their own lives.
    • Students are able to organize their thoughts and prepare a d'var Torah based on a Biblical text.
    Write a d'var Torah based on this idea:
    • Sometimes we have to hide or work behind the scenes, like Esther did, to get things done.
    Your digital d'var Torah will consist of four components. You may put them on the sheet in any order that helps you to make your point.
    • At least one text from Megillat Esther that relates to hiding.
    • Your own explanation of why Esther hid her Jewish identity or why Mordechai asked her to hide her identity.
    • An article, video, or image that you find online which helps you to explain why it was important for Esther to hide that she was Jewish.
    • A story, real or made up, that is an example of a time when hiding or working behind the scenes was important for getting something done.
    D'var Torah do's and don'ts:
    1. State your hypothesis in the first paragraph. Make it clear and catchy. Grab the attention of those who are listening so that they want to hear what you have to say.
    2. Be organized! You are familiar with the material but your audience isn't. Make it easy for them to follow your train of thought by taking them through your d'var Torah in a logical sequence.
    3. Wrap it all up in the final paragraph. Review your main points and hypothesis. Include a connection to your audience. How is what you taught them relevant to their lives? What can they learn from what you have taught?
    If you are not sure how to accomplish all of the tasks using Sefaria, check out the instructions below!
    How to find texts on Sefaria and add them to your source sheet.
    1. To go to the book of Esther, type "Esther" into the search bar.
    2. To read commentaries and other connected texts, click on the verse in Esther to open the resource panel. Click on "commentaries", "Talmud", or other categories to find related texts.
    3. To add a text to your sheet, click on the text and select "Sheets". Create a new sheet by writing the title in the text box or add to a sheet that you already have by choosing the name in the text box. Click "add to sheet".
    How to add media to your sheet:​​​​​​​
    1. Select “Media”.
    2. For an image, type or paste the URL of the image into the bar or click on “Upload an Image” and add it from your computer. Depending on where you find the image, you may not see the image URL right away. An image URL that works on Sefaria will end with the letter jpeg, png, etc.
    3. Another option for adding an image is to take a screenshot of the image and upload it to Sefaria directly from your computer.
    4. To add a YouTube video, enter the URL of the video and click “Add to Sheet”. You can do the same with SoundCloud or an MP3.
    • For YouTube, it’s the “share” URL (when you click to share a video from YouTube, it gives you a URL).
    • For MP3, the file name needs to end with .mp3.