Below is a collection of Parashat Vaera resources created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
This is a growing collection. Check back soon or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you didn’t find what you’re looking for.
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
Question #1: Do you think that someone who has a physical disability feels self-conscious? What can you do to make them feel more comfortable? God tells Moses to speak to Pharoah. But Moses explains that he has a speech impediment and therefore believes that Pharoah won’t listen to him.
Look inside the text (Shemot 6:12),
וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁ֔ה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לֵאמֹר הֵן בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא שָׁמְעוּ אֵלַי וְאֵיךְ יִשְׁמָעֵנִי פַרְעֹה וַאֲנִי עֲרַל שְׂפָתָיִם – But Moses spoke to God, saying, “The Israelites would not listen to me; how then should Pharaoh listen to me, a man with a speech impediment!”
Question #2: Many of the plagues sound like they are punishment for Pharaoh’s, and Egypt’s, mistreatment of the Jewish people. What sort of punishment is appropriate for someone who is a mass murderer? What about if it is someone who has denied the masses their civil rights, or embezzled members of his community to the tune of billions of dollars?
Question #3: The plagues apparently affected all Egyptians. (We know, for example, that the plague of the firstborn affected every Egyptian household without exception.) Is it possible that there were no good Egyptians? There has been much discussion over the past few years about a book called Hitler’s Willing Executioners, in which the author claims that hatred of Jews was so deeply embedded in German culture that it was easy for the masses of Germans to join in the Nazi campaign of extermination. In the last two years, there has been an alarming resurgence of European antisemitism. Can a culture of hate be undone?
LESSON PLANS AND ARTICLES
Parashat Va’era: The Hardening of Pharoh’s Heart – This lesson plan for middle school students analyzes different interpretations of the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart.