Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Emor 74 - Pe-sach and the Redemption of speech on Shavuot.

Pesach – Passover, the festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt and Shavuot – the festival celebrating the giving of the Torah 50 days later are considered in a sense as one holiday. The intervening days when we count the o'mer -= sefirat ha'omer   marks   the process of spiritual growth and elevation towards the receiving of the Torah and thus connects Pesach and Shavuot, similar to chol ha'moed. The Zohar makes a similar connection. In Egypt speech = di'bur was in galut=exile. On Shavuot, the final redemption of speech = ge'ulat ha'dibur took place. When the Egyptian king died and it became clear that the new Pharaoh was no better than the old, the people moaned and cried out in pent- up despair. Their outcry was not one of repentance or prayer but of pain.  Because of the slavery and oppression they could not speak to God but only lift up their eyes to God as the verse in Psalms 123:2 הנה כעיני עבדים אל יד אדוניהם, כן עינינו אל ה' , תהילים קכג:ב  the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master so are our eyes unto Hashem our God They could not communicate with God as 'dibur' =speech was in exile. The process of  redemption of speech  began on Pesach = פה –סח , the' mouth relates and says' , continued when they reached ' Pee  ha'chirot' or called Pee Ha'cherut '  the mouth of freedom and reached a high after the miracle of  the Red Sea when  the children of Israel sang praises to God – the song of the Sea שירת הים.The final redemption   of speech took place on shavu'ot  when  God spoke directly to the children of Israel ( the first 2 commandments ) and Moses despite previously having a speech disability spoke  the rest of the commandments.

We give expression to the process of the redemption of speech – geulat ha'dibur on the seider night by telling and recalling the story of the exodus from Egypt. We encourage the participants and especially the children to ask questions because authentic questions drive true speech and communication.

Unfortunately, we soon forget the educational lessons of the seider night. A teacher complained that he could not get a kid in his class to listen. On the seider night we discuss the 4 sons and their questions and if a child has difficulty in asking questions we help him. Instead of theorizing about the reason the kid is not listening we should try and get that info from the kid. We might need to reassure him  that he is not in trouble and all we are trying to do is gather information from him about why it is difficult for him to listen during a lesson in Gemorrah. 

The famous educationalist Deborah Meier said that teaching is essentially listening and learning is essentially talking. Ross Greene, the originator of the CPS – collaborative problem solving approach asks challenging kids the following question - to build trust but also to understand the parent – child dynamic from the kid's point of view. What's the matter with them ( your parents )? Most often the answer is ' they don't listen to me, so I have stopped talking to them'.

If we want kids to talk to us, we must listen to them and in this way we can contribute to the redemption of their speech - ge'ulat ha'dibur.

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