Talmidim consider: What is the Shema FOR? What is the Shema AGAINST?
To answer this, after making our way through the opening blessings, the shema and the Amidah, we looked at the midrash of Jacob/Israel on his deathbed, surrounded by his sons ("did he not have any daughters?" asked one student. Yes! Dinah! Why doesn't Judaism count her?).
Jacob is worried that the kids won't believe in one G-d. They say: "listen dad, Adonai is our G-d, only Adonai." And he can die peacefully.
Talmidim took a meta approach: Why is this one family so important? And: how did you know they said that?
We turned to the question above- talmidim said that the Shema was for one G-d, and not having multiple gods. We then asked: what about one-ness? Is it possible to be ONE? To be totally united?
Noach said no: "People are always just going to be greedy and want more and it will never be fully peaceful."
Erez saw a different picture: "Because on earth anyway they are all made out of the same atoms." To which Tal (Tyler) added "we're all carbon based!"
VISUAL MIDRASH ASKS: WHAT DOES THE ANCIENT MIDRASH SAY ABOUT WHAT MADE ABRAM ABRAM?
We reminded ourselves of OUR Abrams. Arrogant, afraid, nuts. But what did the ancient Rabbis make of a guy who was ready to leave home at 75? Their answer: something must of happened to him to make him faithful when he was younger.
We looked at a new-to-us midrash about the young Abraham. He was born under a star that ATE FOUR OTHER STARS (Sefer Ha Aggadah), he was a threat to the ruler Nimrod (so said the wizards- yah, more wizards) and so his dad puts him in a cave. G-d makes sure the cave is stocked with flour and oil (they come through the walls in a tube) (yes) and when Abram is three he walks out of the cave, sees the sun, then sees the moon and stars and thinks: something is making all this happen, and it's not me. I'll pray to THAT.
Students drew what they heard in the midrash. Then Erez a Jewish Leader in Training asked them: "How do this story compare to the version of Abram you said last week? And if they different, how are they different?"
[Abram as a kid] is EXTRAORDINARY -Violet and Joon