Today when the children arrived, before we even got to our space, I shared that I had brought a special surprise for us to explore.
Immediately there was a chorus of, “what is it?!?”
When we opened the door to our space I said,” go take a look, its on the אָדוֹם שָׁטִיח (adom shatiach– red rug).”
Here is what followed:
Child A: I think its a really big Hagaddah (like for פסח (Pesach– Passover))!”
Child B: “Is it like a Torah?”
Child C: “Isn’t it just a really big book?”
Child B: “Oh, (points to the wall where it says אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim– hurting with words), is it about our theme?… It must be about our theme!”
The only thing I said was, “It is about our theme! This is a special Jewish book called the Talmud. Early Rabbis so, so long ago also talked about אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim- hurting with words), and we can see what they said right here! The Talmud has different parts called books, the book we are looking at is Bava Metzia.”
Child B: “That’s kind of like how the Torah has, בראשית (Beresheet-Genesis), שמות (Shemot– Exodus)… [singing the 5 Books Of The Torah song]”
We open up the volume.
Child C: “Whoa! look at how the words go all around in different parts. That’s different!”
Child A: “I’m going to see if I can find a “ס” “Samech” (Hebrew letter in their name).”
We spend a few minutes noticing how the words in the Talmud are written.
Child A: “Hold on, I want to write something down.”
Child B: “Me too!”
They go get pencils, paper and clipboards.
I asked, “What will you write down?’
Child A: “Oh.. just some notes… What does it say on the cover?….. I’m going to put everyone’s שם (shem-name) on it so they know this is for us (we can all share these notes).”
Child A wrote, our ideas of the תלמור (Talmud).
Child A wrote, saw a “ס” “Samech”. Child B wrote, Book sections אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim– hurting with words).
Two children couldn’t even believe that Rabbis so, so long ago were talking about אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim– hurting with words), like we are today.
Child D: “You mean Rabbi “so long ago I don’t even know” also talked about אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim– hurting with words)?… I call then them that because we don’t know who they are.”
Child E: “I can’t believe they talked about our theme!”
After spending a few more minutes taking notes we got ready for כיבוד (kibbud – snack), where we would talk a bit more about אוֹנָאַת דְבָרִים (Ona’at Devarim– hurting with words).
I wonder what adventures the Shteelim Research Team will have next week!