Parshat Ki Tisa: Broken Luchot
To be honest, I have not done "parsha projects" with my own kids for a long time. But, my 9 year old actually asked to learn parsha this morning so I returned to my files. I am not sure why I never wrote a blog post about this parsha since I definitely did this activity with my various classes last year.
First, we spoke about the story of the Golden Calf and Moshe's breaking of the tablets. This is a story that my kids are very familiar with so we just quickly reviewed the plot before we discussed why we thought Moshe might do something so drastic. (It was particularly powerful to revisit G-d's initial reaction to destroy the whole nation and that he later changes his mind. We compared it to when we are so upset with someone and swear that we will NEVER talk to them again but then a few days later, we have forgiven them and are friends again... - something very relevant for kids...)
The most obvious interpretation to my son was that Moshe broke the luchot out of anger. But, he added that he thought that Moshe davka did it in front of the people to say to them that through their action, THEY broke the nation (I like his interpretation :)). We then suggested Moshe broke the luchot, not out of anger but out of shock/surprise or sadness/disappointment. Finally, we read the interpretation of the Rashbam that Moshe didn't actually throw the luchot but that he "dropped" them because he felt so weak or exhausted (physically/emotionally/) that they slipped out from his hands.
I drew 4 blank circles for faces and we drew four "emoji" style faces for each of the possible emotions. If you are not comfortable drawing, you could definitely do this activity on the computer or using emoji from your phone.
We then looked at a couple of artistic renderings of the broken tablets on the internet.
The project I did last year with my parsha students is based on a pinterest-y craft that is always a hit with kids - tape resist painting like this: https://www.crayola.com/crafts/tape-resist-painting-craft/. I chose to use metallic colored paints on black construction paper but it could be done with any paper or paints. Kids love putting the tape on themselves, painting, and pulling the tape off. The hard part is convincing them to wait for the paint to dry first! But, it is worth it because they love the "surprise" effect when the tape is revealed.
In general, I think that this topic invites alot of important conversations with kids about forgiveness and second chances and how what is broken in our lives can also be viewed as "holy."