Prepare to Escape! The Survival of Lot
Students learn the story of Lot leaving Sdom (Bereshit 19:15-22) by playing a matching game.
In this lesson, students learn the story of Lot leaving Sdom. The teacher addresses the students as Lot so that they will understand the imminent danger and the need to escape. In the main activity of the lesson, students will match the Hebrew text of key phrases, fashioned into “Storm Clouds” to the English translation, fashioned into “Storm Symbols”.
The student will be able to
1. Describe how Lot lingered.
2. Relate how the angels urge Lot to leave of Sdom with his family.
3. Relate how the angels take Lot and his family outside the city.
4. Describe how the angels tell Lot to flee to the mountains and not to look back, so he would not be swept away.
5. Describe that Lot begs the angels to allow him to escape somewhere closer.
6. Relate how Lot begs to escape to Zoar, a small city that is close by.
7. Explain how the angels and God grant his wish but want him to hurry up.
The student will be able to
1. Identify the key word הימלט in its various forms (המלט, אמלטה, להימלט).
2. Translate הימלטand its various forms.
3. Translate connecting phrases associated with הימלט, such as:
יז- הימלט על נפשך
יז – המלט פן תספה
יט – לא אוכל להימלט ההרה
כ – אמלטה נא שמה
כב –מהר הימלט שמה
4. Use taamei hamikra to read the text, stopping at etnachta, shva na and sof pasuk.
The students will appreciate
1. Lot’s apprehension in leaving his home.
2. The importance of following orders in an emergency situation.
3. The patience demonstrated by the angels and God.
4. The importance of being kind to people.
הימלט – to escape
Resources & Equipment needed
Oaktag/Bristol board, tape/blue-tak, ominous music and CD/tape player, copies of Escape Clouds worksheet (see appendix), copy of Storm Symbols (see appendix). Students need two colored highlighters and a pen/pencil.
I. Teacher Preparation before class: 1. Create “Storm Clouds” for blackboard by cutting out five large clouds from oaktag or bulletin board. In large letters, write one of the following on each cloud: יז- הימלט על נפשך יז – המלט פן תספה יט – לא אוכל להימלט ההרה כ – אמלטה נא שמה כב –מהר הימלט שמה (Note: If you have an interactive whiteboard, prepare a similar powerpoint slide.) 2. Print “Storm Clouds” worksheet (see appendix) for students. 3. Print “Storm Symbols” (see appendix) for students or create your own. These are handouts with illustrations of symbols of destruction (i.e. a ball of sulfur, a lightning bolt, a raindrop, a running man and a flame) with the English translation of the text used in the “Storm Clouds”. Each “Storm Symbol” matches up with one “Storm Cloud”. 4. Prepare the chalkboard by hang the large “Storm Clouds” in the middle and by drawing sign posts on either side. The sign posts should indicate the directions of Zoar and Ha-hara (to the mountain). See the appendix for a chalkboard diagram. 5. Play ominous music (e.g. the song from the ‘Titanic’ soundtrack where the boat sinks) when students arrive so a feeling of nervous excitement is in the air.
II. Class Opening (3 minutes): Ominous music is playing. Mime to students to quickly take their seats. Indicate that they need highlighters. Lower the music as students settle in. T: (speaking softly) The time has come for Sdom to be destroyed. Dark clouds are thickening (motion to the clouds on the board). God is preparing thunder, lightning and balls of sulfur and fire to throw at you! Everyone in the city and its environs will be destroyed! Only one family will make it. Yours. But you are still in grave danger. What must you do? S: Escape! T: What about you? S: Escape! T: And you? S: Escape! T: Anybody else want to escape? Everyone raises their hands.
III. Escape Clouds Are in the Air Distribute Escape Clouds worksheet: T: You’ve decide to escape! Quickly! Now what? Look at the “Escape Clouds” on the board. Read them with me together.All read.Which word is repeated? S: הימלט T: Any ideas what it means? Listen to various responses; if no correct response, tell them. T: Look at Escape Cloud #1. What is a נפש? S: A soul, or a person. T: So the angel is telling you to run for your life – to save your soul! Write the Hebrew phrase in your Escape Clouds worksheets. T: Let’s read Escape Cloud 2 together. All read. Recognize any words? S: תספה like להוסיף? T: Yes. The angels are warning you that you should run away lest – פן – so that – you won’t be ‘added’ to the destruction of the people of Sdom. Write the text in Escape Cloud two in your worksheets. T: Escape Cloud 3. Let’s read. All read. Recognize any words? S: לא אוכל like יכול. T: Right! You don’t think you can escape. The א is for future tense, meaning I am not able to escape there, to the mountains. Please write that phrase in your Escape Cloud copies. T: Let’s read Escape Cloud 4. All read. Any ideas? S: שמה – there. T: right – he doesn’t think he can make it to the mountains, so he’ll escape there. א –מלט-ה . א in future tense again, I will escape – ה- meaning there, like ההרה in the previous phrase. Please write that in your Escape Clouds. T: Let’s read cloud 5. All read.This is an easy one. S: Quickly escape to there. T: Great. Add that last phrase to your sheets. T: Let’s see if you can remember the translations again and attach a bit of meaning to them. What are these? (Teacher holds up storm symbols – on cutouts – the symbols of destruction). Students identifies flame, lightning, sulfur ball, escaping man and rain. T: What do they represent? S: Sdom’s destruction. It’s what God will use to destroy them. T: They also have the translations of the text on the Escape Clouds. We’re going to attach each symbol to its matching Escape Cloud. Give students a few moments to read them over. T: Now we’re going to match the symbols to the Escape Clouds on the board. We’ll match them in order and discuss their translations and meanings, as we go along. When I call a student up to the board to do a match, please draw a small storm symbol and write the translation on your cloud sheets. Call up students. S: Student A – המלט על נפשך – matches the sulfur ball of RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! T: What are you running away from? S: Balls of sulfur! T: But are you going to go? S: No – because look at cloud 2. T: Maybe you’re stalling because it’s so hard to leave home. You knows your home is about to be destroyed, along with your neighbors—everything you knows. Maybe you need time to process what is happening. Student B, please come up and match it. S:המלט פן תספה – Escape, lest you be included in their destruction. T: But what’s the next step after you’ve decided to escape? S: You have to know where to escape to. T: Where do you go? You’ve got to get away. But where? How far? S: Far enough away from Sdom that we are not destroyed by the fire. T: So where to? S: Out of the city. T: What was around a city in those days? There were no highways, trains, subways, big cities. The largest city of those times was probably equivalent to a bungalow colony in upstate New York. So what was around Sdom? S: Probably mountains and forests. T: Definitely mountains. Beautiful mountains. But was Lot pleased with this? Let’s take a look at cloud 3. Student C, please come up and read it and match it. S: לא אוכל להימלט ההרה – A raindrop cutout of ‘I cannot escape to that mountain!” T: Why not? What are you afraid of, Lot? S: Maybe he doesn’t like the people who live there. S: Maybe it’s too far. S: Maybe he doesn’t think he can make it – he’s not up to the journey. T: You’re not up to the journey – you didn’t eat a proper breakfast. It must be hard for Lot to leave his city. But the truth is, it’s do or die. Indicate Zoar and ההרה signs on the board. Ask student who attached raindrop to draw an x through ההרה. T: You can’t go to the mountains. So where should you go? S: Somewhere closer. T: Perhaps Zoar? S: What’s Zoar? T: A little city that’s a bit closer than the distant mountains. God had been planning to destroy them as well, because of their proximity to Sdom and Amorrah. But since you asked, I suppose He might be able to spare it. Student D, please come up to read and match cloud 4. S: אמלטה נא שמה – I will escape there (to Zoar). T: Who are you ‘Lots’ speaking with, anyway? Who’s trying to convince you to leave, and negotiating where to go? S: The angels who have come to destroy Sdom. T: Yes. What did they think about escaping to Zoar instead of the mountains? Student E, please come up and match and read Cloud 5. S: מהר המלט שמה – Quickly escape there! T: Was your request approved? S: Yes. T: Zoar it is. Indicate signs on the board. Ask student who hung up cloud 5 translation to circle Zoar on the board.
IV. Textual Highlighting: T: Now we will find the Escape Cloud phrases and highlight them in your text. Listen carefully while I read, highlighters in hand. Teacher reads dramatically verses 15-22, translating when necessary. Students highlight.
V. Lot or Angels? T: I want you to look back at your highlighted phrases in the chumash and tell me who said each phrase. You only have two choices. Whom are your two choices? S: Lot or angels. T: Correct. I am dividing the class into half. Half of you are Lot (indicate line down middle of room). The other half are angels. Everybody stand up with your chumashim in hand. (If there is room in the classroom for students to congregate on separate sides of the room, then move everyone to appropriate sections). This is how we will read. I will read the narrative sections, where Lot and the angels are silent. Whosever turn it is to speak will continue reading as a group. We must understand what we are reading, so please read in phrases remembering to stop at shva na – the two little dots above a word, the etnachta – the wishbone below the word, and at the end of a verse. I will do the majority of the translations. BUT when we get to a phrase from the Escape Clouds, everyone will say it – not shout it – together, because you know that so well now. Teacher begins reading verse 15, stops at לאמר. T: Who reads now? S: Angels! Angel students read. Teacher helps with translation. Teacher continues reading dramatically or reading and translating from verse 16 until ויאמר. T: Who reads now? S: Angels! Teacher assists with translation. All recite translation of escape phrase. Teacher continues reading from verse 18 until אלהם. Lot continues reading and translating with the assistance of the teacher until verse 21. Teacher reads first two words of verse 21, and then angels continue reading and translating, with teacher’s help, until the end of verse 22.
VI. Highlighting: T: Please be seated, Lot and Angels, with your chumashim still open in front of you. Job well done. Please highlight the conversation in your texts. Highlight Lot in blue and the angels in red, or use any two separate colors you have.
VII. Discussion: T: Let’s look at the powerful lesson of verse 22 which highlights the main values of the text we are learning today. If I was doing you a favor, say, going out of my way to pick you up and take you to my house for a BBQ I was making, would you ask me to stop by the supermarket and pick up your favorite snack along the way? S: No way. That’s rude. T: Well, let’s say you grew up in a jungle and you asked anyway. Would you expect me to do it? S: No. T: Isn’t that essentially what Lot is doing to the angels? Let’s review the storyline. Help me out here. God wants to destroy – (pause and wait for students to answer) S: Sdom and Amorrah. T: Avraham begs God to save -(pause and wait for students to answer) S: 50 tzaddikim (righteous people). T: There aren’t any, so he ends up with just – (pause and wait for students to answer) S: Lot. T: The angels come to save Lot – (pause and wait for students to answer) S: And he doesn’t want to go. T: Finally he agrees. Storm clouds are in the air, Sdomites are getting nervous. Lot has to sit and discuss it first with the angels. So much so that they actually have to drag him and his family out of the city – it’s starting to rain! He won’t leave! They’re saving his life! Then he decides he can’t even make it to the mountains, could he please go to – (pause and wait for students to answer) S: Zoar! T: Lot is stalling – his life is on the line and he’s asking for a coffee. To go. With extra sugar and cream. Perhaps the angels would be annoyed and tell him to go escape on his own. Who would be annoyed? Show of hands. T: Let’s look at the kindness of the angels and God Do they permit him his coffee with the extras? Let’s take another look at verses 21-22. Begin reading in phrases and translating. גם לדבר הזה – you can see them getting a little annoyed here – more cream, more sugar? Really, Lot, we’re saving you, you could hurry up a little. But they grant him his wishes. Maybe they realize how hard this is for Lot – to leave his home and lose his city. They give him the extra five minutes he needs to get his act together, as the clouds thicken and the rains start to fall. Continue reading until כי לא אוכל לעשות דבר עד בואך שמה. T: I can’t do anything until you get there – meaning – get a move on Lot. But they’re still waiting patiently for Lot to move. They help him get where he needs to go, whether they like it or not. T: Can anyone give me an example a kindness like this that they have done or seen? Waiting politely when you really want to leave? Helping someone get where they need to go? Or spending the extra five minutes when you really don’t want to? Accept various suggestions. T: On the other hand, if someone tells you there is an emergency and you have to leave the building, what do you do? S: Go quickly. T: Right. You file out of the building in an orderly but quickly fashion. If an adult tells you that there is an emergency and you have to follow instructions, do you make excuses? S: No. T: Exactly. If you wait too long or delay your leaving, there could be a tragedy. In Lot’s case, the angels were able to save Lot anyway, but it’s important to remember to act appropriately in an emergency situation. For homework, please write down a kindness that you have done or witnessed. If neither has happened to you, make up one that you find appealing. Also for homework, read the text three times at home.
VIII. Conclusion: T: The next time your brother or sister, mom or dad keep you waiting, want you to move a little faster, etc, don’t get upset. Cut them some slack. Look at the patience of the angels as Lot stalls. You hear the strain coming through in their voices, but bottom line is, they wait and they grant him his wishes. They give him his favorite snack. And this is to someone they don’t even know. Give someone a break today when you don’t really want to. They deserve it. They’re human. Have a good day.