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Oct 04

Interpretation in yetzirah (art/creativity)

Today, a child was feeling stuck. He wanted to show Adonai Elohim (God) removing the rib bone from the adam (human) and building ishah (woman) in Genesis 2, but he wasn’t sure how to draw it.

I posed the question to his peers, “How might Child A show this part?” and immediately we had a bunch of different suggestions:

  • “You could draw the rib bone”
  • “You could draw a person asleep and God”
  • “You could draw two people”

Ultimately, Child A chose to draw “God’s hand reaching down from the sky,” which differed from Child B’s drawing of “Ishah (woman) transforming,” and Child C’s, “God’s grabbing the rib and then he makes the girl.”

Child A’s artwork. Notice the red line in the top right corner representing God’s hand.
Child B’s artwork. The faint lines in the center of the art represent God removing the rib bone. The lines on the lower right show the transformation of ishah (woman).
Child C’s artwork. Notice the two figures on the bottom of the painting.

What a rich starting point for Nitzanim children to begin a conversation about interpretation and differing perspectives! Our brains work differently, and we each imagine text from our own perspective. By sharing our perspectives with each other, our own ideas are sometimes challenged, helping us strengthen our original interpretations.

I can’t wait to bring children back their drawings and paintings so that we might look closely and discover multiple ideas about a particular pasuk (verse) in the text.

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