Middah/Mitzvah Being in control of one’s own time
‘Hachodesh Hazeh lachem rosh chodashim’ Why is this the first mitzvah that Hashem gives Bnei Yisrael when they become Am Yisrael – a free nation? As slaves Bnei Yisrael had no control over their time. As a sign of their freedom, Hashem empowers them to fix Rosh Chodesh and thereby the dates of the chagim.
Task 1: Read the text below
Pharaoh still refuses to let the Jews leave Egypt, so G‑d brings more plagues on Egypt. In the eighth plague, a very strong wind brings in great swarms of locusts, which are like grasshoppers. There are so many of them that they darken the earth and eat all the greenery, plants and fruits from the trees, and there is no more food in the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh refuses to let the Jews go, so in the ninth plague, G‑d brings a very thick darkness on Egypt. For seven full days, all of Egypt (except for the homes of the Jews)is covered in complete and total darkness. The Egyptians can't see anything at all, and for the last three days of the plague, the darkness is so thick that they can't even move!
Pharaoh still remains stubborn, so G‑d will bring one final plague upon him and his people. But before that, G‑d gives the Jews some important things to do. In fact, the Jews now get their very first mitzvah—a special commandment from G‑d. Eventually, the Jews receive many mitzvot, but this first one establishes that special connection. In this mitzvah, the Jews are commanded to set up a calendar based on the cycle of the moon. And this is the same Jewish calendar that we use today, over three thousand years later! Next the Jews must each bring a sacrifice of a goat or a lamb and brush the blood on to their doorposts. This way, when the final plague comes, G‑d will know which houses to pass over. (All these miracles are celebrated on a special Jewish holiday called Passover—because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes.) The Jews must then eat the roasted meat with Matzah and bitter herbs.
Now, for the tenth and final plague: On the fourteenth of the month of Nissan, at exactly midnight, every Egyptian firstborn dies. Pharaoh is terrified, for he himself is a firstborn; he jumps out of bed and rushes to find Moses and Aaron. When he does, he simply shouts frantically, "Go! Go! Leave this land, you and all the Jews. Take your sheep and your cattle and whatever you want. JUST GO!" And with that, after 210 years of slavery, Pharaoh practically chases the Jews out of Egypt. So they leave quickly, so quickly, in fact, that their dough does not have time to rise and and becomes matzah—the very same flat bread that we eat on Passover. But they do have time to ask the Egyptians for their gold and silver, emptying Egypt of all its wealth.
Now that the Jews are free, G‑d tells Moses about the holiday that they will be celebrating each year to remember the occasion, Passover, by eating Matza and telling the story to their children. The Jews also receive the mitzvah of Tefillin, special boxes that are put on the head and arm to remind us of our exodus from Egypt and the connection we feel to G‑d since then.
Task 2: Read the powerpoint below
Task 3: Complete the activity below
Comprehend the plain meaning of a simple Torah text with little support. Identify word families in the text.
אמר, א ֶ ל, אֶר ִ ץ מ ְצַריִ ֶ ם, חׂדׁש/
חָד ִש ִ ׁים , ר ָ אׁשוׂן , ש ָ ׁנ ֶ ה , זה,
Prefix: וי, ו, ב, ל, ה