Shalom Kitah Vav (6th-grade) Families,
After returning from Winter-Break we’ll begin our studies of the middle section of the TaNaKh called The Prophets (Nevi’im). We will be studying selected narratives from the Books of Joshua and Judges which exemplify the turbulent time of settling in the Promised Land. Joshua has taken over for Moses as leader and the Israelite Tribes will reach their designated tribal lands. There is plenty of unrest due to the fact that many Canaanite peoples are negatively influencing the Israelites and the Israelites are human, and so...this leads to a Cycle in the Book of Judges (Shoftim) of the following:
Israelites Sin by following Canaanite practices.
God utilizes enemy rulers to oppress and rule over the Israelites.
The Israelites begin a return to God and truly repent.
God sends a “Judge” (Shofet) who leads the Israelites in a military resistance against the foreign oppressor, and the Israelites gain independence. There is peace for a period of time.
The Israelites again succumb to the ways of the Canaanite people and the cycle is repeated again and again during some two-hundred plus years, until eventually there is an outcry from the Israelites to unify the Tribes under an Israelite King (this will be our next course of study, the beginning of the Israelite Monarchy).
We recently observed Hanukkah in class with candle-lighting and a review of traditions and overview of the narrative of the Maccabean Revolt, including the peaceful arrival of the Greeks with Alexander the Great, and then the subsequent division within the Greek Empire between the Ptolemic/Egypt and Seleucid/Syrian powers following Alexander’s death and positive influence in Judea. We discussed how the Seleucid/Syrian-Greeks eventually gained the upper hand and that became the power, Antiochus-Epiphanes, who oppressed the Israelites and led to the Maccabean Revolt. We studied various rabbinic/source texts (Mai Chanukah?) on why we observe Hanukkah for 8 days.
Our Yad LaTorah Program was via Zoom and wonderful (recorded for those who missed it). We’ll put together the Yads when we’re back in the classroom together.
Have a great Winter-Break, and here’s looking forward to a Happy, Peaceful & Healthy 2022!!!
Rabbi Daniel Ettedgui