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Do we teach young children about the Binding of Issac?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Karen: I want to teach my 5 and 4 year olds the story of Abraham. Should I teach them about the binding of Isaac, or are they too young in your opinion?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I don't think they are too young at all. To the contrary children that age have a innocence that we adults don't have, and whereas we would make things complicated and have a story "disturb" us, a child - when told the story in the context of the Bible, how it was test etc - they accept it as is and love it

Karen: OK. Please can you help me out with a few details...

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: i can try

Karen: Firstly, how should I explain what a sacrifice is? So far I have told them it was a "present" that we used to give Hashem. Now I actually have to deal with "killing" if I am to explain the sacrifice properly. How should I do it?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: For starters you need to think in their terms, not in yours. Meaning there are certain questions, simple one and complex ones, that only come up in your mind as an adult, but don't enter a child's mind

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: So don't answer things based on what YOU are thinking; rather say the story in the simple for it is written as in the bible, and when THEY ask questions answer THEIR questions

Karen: Would you mention the whole deal with Abraham picking up the knife etc and Hashem stopping him, or should I just not mention the knife and merely say that Abraham was going to "give" Isaac to Hashem?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: I would mention the whole thing

Karen: OK. Just out of curiosity, would you advise me to do the same when I get to the story of Joseph? Just tell them the whole deal with the brothers trying to kill him etc, but in "simple" terms?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Yes. I would advise to tell the children straight as it was, and to leave any adult initiated questions and complexities out of it.

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Children like stories. They don't question things like adults. They listen to the story and take the message you tell them

Karen: Rabbi Shlomo Chein - I have had countless converstaion with you in the past - you are GR8! Thank you!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: It is hard to educate children :-)

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Thank you. It is my pleasure to try to help

Karen: Hag Sameach!

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: to you too

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Mitzvot » Education
History » Patriarchs, 12 Tribes

First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
"The Name." Out of respect, we do not explicitly mention G-d's name, unless in the course of prayer. Instead, "Hashem" is substituted.
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.
Firstborn son of Rachel and Jacob. Because he was Jacob's favorite son, his brothers conspired against him and sold him into slavery He ended up in Egypt where he became viceroy of the land, and eventually brought his entire family to Egypt. Died in 1451 BCE.