“How come this one is the same thing?”

We’re a few weeks into our Adam v’Adamah Torah theme, and Nitzanim first and second graders have been working hard on listening to their “inner voice” when we read and discuss text together at כיבוד (kibud–snack) Their inner voice is a reaction to the text that might come in the form of a question, feeling, or connection to the text. By listening closely to their inner voice, children begin to develop the skills for wondering about text and forming interpretations.

Just yesterday, a group of three first graders were listening closely to our text from Sefer Breishit Perek Bet (Genesis 2), when their inner voices sounded the alarm. They realized that the story in Genesis 2 sounded a lot like the story in Genesis 1, and they were filled with curiosity and opinions:

Child 1: Isn’t in Perek Alef (Chapter 1) doesn’t God create everything? How come this one is the same thing?

Child 2: I think they’re like the same story but they’re from different parts.

Child 1: … How come if it’s one big sentence [text]… why aren’t all of them (the stories) connected?

Child 2: They are the same story.

Child 3: I think they’re the same story but… they don’t have the same words. 

Child 2: He (God) created birds and animals, but in the other one he did too.

Child 1: There’s a question to answer: Why couldn’t he (God) just use the stuff he already created? How come he created a bunch of animals if he already had a bunch of animals?

I can’t wait to share this conversation with children in Nitzanim who attend on other days! I wonder what reactions other childrens’ inner voices will have to this line of questioning about Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

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