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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Not-As-Sanitized Parsha Retelling

One of my valued commenters, Sephardilady, left this comment on the thread of my Parsha post from last week:
We need an update for this Shabbat's parsha, Orthomom. What did the parsha questions say?!?!

Last week's parsha sure was tame in comparison.
In answer to your question, this past Shabbos, we recieved a slightly more graphic retelling than we had of the previous week's Parsha. A very close paraphrasis of my 5-year-old's version of the most lascivious part:
Yosef was working in Potiphar's house, and Potiphar's wife liked him. So one day, everyone left to go worship idols, and Potiphar's wife pretended she was sick so she could stay home and attack Yosef. She tried to attack Yosef, but when she grabbed him, he slipped out of his clothing so that she was just left with the clothing in her hands, and couldn't attack him.
At least this week the teacher used the word "attack", and didn't try to convince the class that Potiphar's wife just wanted to "marry" Yosef, like they tried to pull last week. Though I have a feeling that the sexual innuendo in the story was lost on my five-year-old. At least I think so.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know. I don't have a problem with saying marry in this context.

10:02 AM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

I'm thrilled to be a valued commenter! :) Thanks for the follow-up too.

While attacked might not be the most exacting word, it is certainly a more true to the spirit than wanting to marry of of the Shechem/Dina incident. One must wonder why the word "attack" wasn't used for what Shechem did to Dina. After all, rape is an attack (although I'm aware that describing the Dina incident as an attack won't cover all the meforshim. But, nobody is trying to do that anyways.)

Out of curiousity, was the Yehuda/Tamar incident mentioned? Or was it skipped over entirely. My husband and I discussed some possible ways to cleanly describe that incident for a young child. But, we came up short everytime. Either the event made no sense, or it begged too many questions.

One has to wonder what Rashi, the Rambam, and the Ramban said to their children. Did the tone down their own commentaries, skip the events completely, or give similiar explainations to those discussed?

10:40 AM  
Blogger Just Passing Through said...

Funny. My kid came home with the "she wanted to marry him". My wife has to constantly remind me to stop rolling my eyes and chuckling.

10:51 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

When I lived in Brooklyn, I used to attend a shiur on Shabbosim immediately following davening in which we learned Ramban on the Chumash. The theme on the shiur was "everything you learned in the 3rd grade is false" -- ok, a bit extreme maybe, but the point was certainly made.

At a younger age, do we really need to know everything that happened -- to the nary details? The point is the story -- that Yosef was tested and that he stayed true to his yiddishkeit. Later in life we find out what really happened. Is that so bad? I agree that you can't say an outset lie to a child, but I see nothing wrong with leaving out certain details.

When I was in yeshiva, I didn't pay that much attention to begin with, so I can't say for sure that we did or did not skip Yehudah and Tamar, etc. But I was learning with my son earlier this year at a grandfather/father/son melave malka and my son was learning about Yehudah and Tamar and my father-in-law, who had joined us, snapped "we skipped this in yeshiva"

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't any of the kids ask the question "If Potiphar liked Yosef so much why did she want to attack him?" I agree with anon. #2 - in this case saying that she wanted to marry him would make a lot more sense and may be closer to what actually happened. And of course "attack" would have been better than "marry" for the Dina/Shecem story, Sephardilady. Your kid's teacher got the stories backwards, OM.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous curly said...

Isn't that what five year old boys and girls do? Attack the the boys/girls they like? Makes perfect sense.

11:39 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

in a pinch, pardon the pun, one could use the Midrash that relates that Potiphar's wife mistakenly thought that it was she who was destined to have Yosef's child when actually it was her daughter.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous SIM said...

When I was in 3rd grade I had a male teacher (not a Rabbi) who loved to waggle his eyebrows and wink at us and wave his fingers and smirk so we definitly got the less-sanitized version. I don't mind that my 3rd grader gets an easier to discuss at the Shabbat table version.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Marjorie said...

With so much going on in each week’s parasha why do we have to focus on ideas and actions that are intellectually and developmentally inappropriate? If we had a balanced and thought out parsha curriculum that would pace ideas, themes, vocabulary etc. for each grade these issues would disappear. If the entire parsha experience was planned for the 8 years of elementary school teachers and parents would know all the salient issues would be covered at the right time in the appropriate manner. This would also end the “my Morah or Rebbe did not tell me the truth” issue. This would also make Friday night interesting and less fraught for a family. Each age would have their "own" idea to share with the family without stepping on anyone elses toes. Parents could then see fit to add whatever they choose to suppelement what was covered in school.

Marjorie

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8:20 PM  

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