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Monday, June 25, 2012

New Bilam and Balak Printable PDF Book

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Well, not exactly new – but just in time for next week’s parsha, Balak!  This is just about the same story as last year (and every year, because the Torah hasn’t changed much… ;-)).  But I have splurged (um, thank to Fiverr and unemployed cartoonists willing to draw anything for $5!) and commissioned semi-exciting new graphics that you may enjoy somewhat more than the stolen graphics in last year’s edition.

If you use this site's resources and want to help support my Fiverr habit (ie acquiring legitimate, fun images to use for the parsha summaries, riddles and mini-books like these), please click...
  • Download this and many other mini-books and parsha/holiday resources from my Limudei Kodesh (Jewish Studies) page, here.  (scroll down or search the page for “Balak”)
  • For general-studies downloads and printables, including bilingual Hebrew-English science resources, click here.

2 comments:

Dina Roth said...

Can you explain to me the issue with Midrash? I keep seeing this amongst a lot of homeschoolers and I don't understand. When you say "some people say" it sounds like you are negating the authenticity and value of those Rabbis who wrote these texts as well as what those texts say. Rashi often uses Midrashic texts to elucidate the pshat.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

Happily - just like Rashi, I love Midrash! Unlike Rashi, however, I am not deeply-grounded enough in Torah to know and understand ALL of the midrashim on a particular word or passuk.
Trouble is, many of the midrashim contradict each other - for instance, on the issue of how old Rivka was when she married Yitzchak. Any schoolchild these days will bring the midrash Rashi used and tell you she was three! Which is a great understanding of ONE particular midrash, but which overlooks others which may be equally authoritative. (see DovBear for details)
Now, Rashi had the skills to pick and choose midrashim to support his views; I don't, and neither do most baalei teshuvah - okay, neither do most FFBs I've met.
And there seems to be a movement afoot within the frum world to use the term "the midrash" to mean a single authoritative set of comments and stories-behind-the-pshat, when really it's a never-been-collated hodge-podge (enough hyphens for ya? ;-) ) from any number of sources over the ages.
Yet I believe many of these traditional midrashim are useful - for kids and adults - and I also believe that in some cases, the pshat is very hard or impossible to understand without them.
So I don't AVOID midrash, but I want my kids to understand as well the idea of "eilu v'eilu divrei elokim chayim." (these AND these are the words of the living G-d, in case anybody's still reading), in other words:
"Some people believed this, others, it's implied (I think), do not."
I do try to bring in many major, ie "popular" midrashim (or, as DovBear would call them, "lucky" midrashim). But I DO want my kids to know that few of these have the same authority as the pshat and that, in fact, some are quite puzzling (Rivka was 3 years old?!?).
I hope this approach makes sense to at least a few people who are not me. ;-)