In preparation for Pessach, the kids learn at school about Pesach and the story of the Exodus from Egypt.
In this section we will mention additional topics that can be learned during this special period of the year.
The month of Nissan is always in the spring, as it is written in the Torah: “היום אתם יוצאים, בחודש האביב” (שמות יג ד). “Today, in the month of spring, you are leaving.” (Exodus 13: 4). One of the graces that G-d did with us when he brought us out of Egypt was that it happened in a month in which the weather was comfortable – not cold or rainy, neather too hot.
In the spring it all comes to life again: the trees grow new leaves, the buds begin to open, the seedlings grow rapidly, the birds nest, the animals come out of their hiding places were they were hidden of the cold at the winter, and the whole world is rejuvenating. Everywhere, both in the city and in the village, the signs of spring are evident. Even in the cracks between the city’s tiles fresh green grass are suddenly sprouting up!
The name of the Hebrew month – “Nissan” – is telling us of the spring: “Nissan” is a babylonian name, and comes from the word “ניצן” “Nitzan” – bud, which means the beginning of growth.
The month of Nissan is the time to say the blessings of the trees. If someone sees a blossoming fruit tree, blesses:
“בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ דָבָר, וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבִים, לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם”.
Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who has made nothing lacking in His world, and created in it goodly creatures and goodly trees to give mankind pleasure.
In this Beracha (blessing) we are thanking G‑d for giving us trees that bear fruit. This blessing is said just once a year!
This Berachah is one of the Berachot (blessings) of seeing. The Berachot that the children are familiar with are the blessings associated with the food we eat. This is an opportunity to teach them more Berachot and to tell them about Berachot that are less common. Such as: the Berachot of sound, (like: לשמוע קול שופר, לשמוע מקרא מגילה) the Berachot of sight, the Berachot of smell.
Ask the children to sort out the blessings into types: sight, sound, smell.
Gratitude – הכרת הטוב
Throughout the story of the exodus from Egypt, we we learn about gratitude:
When G-d asks Moshe to beat the Nile turning it into blood, Moshe asked Aaron to do it – because the Nile sheltered Moshe when he was a baby, when he was hidden in a basket on its water.
Because the ground had helped Moshe hide the body of the Egyptian that he had killed, Aaron was the one that hit the ground to start the plague of lice.
Moshe had gratitude to this inanimate objects – the Nile and the earth. We should, all the more so, be grateful to people and to G-d!
There are many stories of gratitude, which saved lives or gave fruit after many years. It would be nice to tell a story like that to the children.
But Hacarat Ha’tov (gratitude) is not taught only from stories. A personal example of parents and teachers, when they express heartfelt gratitude without complaining and comments – is the first true education for deep and rooted gratitude.