28 May 2015

Floor Wax Min HaTorah Minayin? An Experiment in Teaching Sefer Yishaya

My boarding-housemates and I used to play a game we called Min HaTorah Minayin. The sink is leaking? A leak min haTorah minayin, where do we find a leak in the Torah? (I found the leak, in parshas Noach). We're waxing the floor? Floor wax min haTorah minayin? That one stumped us. Floor wax min haTorah minayin?

Maybe a month later, as I was looking up a reference in Tanach, the page fell open to a verse in which Iyov (Job) reminisces about the days when he had his steps buttered.
I found it! I found it! Floor wax min haTorah!

Silly; but from that discovery I began to read more of the page, and really fell in love with the book of Iyov for the first time.
I thought my students might have a similar experience, so one day when we needed some space between units, I gave them a...

Sefer Yishaya (Isaiah) Scavenger Hunt

Can you find...

Something dripping?
A spice?
Glue or riveting?
Sargon, king of Assyria?
A piece of furniture?
A contractor's tools?
A song by Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah)?
An insect?
A very personal description of the navi?
A musical instrument?
A line from Lecha Dodi?
A long list of jewelry?
An agricultural tool?
A horse?
An extremely unusual name for a child?
A curtain?
A tail?
The shiras hakerem? (a song about a vineyard)
Daylight savings?
The Leviathan?
A list of ten animals in two consecutive psukim (verses)?
A mountain?
The land Rus came from?
A tear in something?
Something wearing out?
A pasuk from Aleinu?
A wall?
An island?
Rosh Chodesh?
A chasan and kallah (bride and groom)?
A color?
Something bubbling?
100 years?
A paved street?
A rodent?
Three kinds of birds? (not necessarily in the same verse)
The moon?
A word or phrase repeated?
Beis Yaakov lechu v'nelcha b'or Hashem?
Yotzer or uvorei choshech oseh shalom uvorei ra?
A song lyric?
A textile or textile fibre?
The defeat of an army?
A hill?
An alcoholic beverage?
Something that makes you, personally, happy?
The capitol of Syria?
Something (not a person) singing?
A mashal of childbirth?
Shaavtem mayim b'sason mimayenei hayeshua?
A reptile?
A night watchman?
Five kinds of trees? (not necessarily in the same verse)
Nachamu nachamu ami?
A pasuk from davening?
The name Yishayahu (Isaiah)?

I decided to err on the side of light and fun, but they didn't relate to it as expected; so if I were to do this again I would get heavier and have them look for certain messages and themes and ideas and feelings, with just a sprinkling of interesting superficialities.

However, it worked for an adult who came in as I was drawing up the list – he thought that this cutesy list looked like a good time, pulled out a navi to help me find objects, and got thoroughly sidetracked into just reading the navi: “Oh, this is beautiful! Ooh, I have to learn more Navi. Oh, wow, you have to read this.” – which is the reaction I was hoping for in my students. So I guess superficial scavenger hunts are better for adults.

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