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29- The Greatest Educational Tool

This week, Rabbi Lehrfield talks about the holiday of Passover.


Hey everyone. I'm Menachem Lehrfield and this is 0% where we explore world changing ideas, introduced by Judaism. We've been discussing the different Jewish holidays. And this week Jews throughout the world will sell break the most important time of year Passover the holiday of Passover or Paya and the Paya S Sader or the ritual that we have on the first night of Paya and here outside the land of Israel we have for the first two nights of Paya are the most practiced Jewish rituals throughout the war. Old. When David Bangorian had to give testimony to the UN commission on the partition of Palestine, to explain why the Jewish people deserve the land of Israel. He said 300 years ago, a ship called the Mayflower set sail to the new world. This was a great event in the history of England. And yet I wonder if there's a single Englishman or American for that matter. Who knows what time the ship set sail. Do the English know how many people embarked on the voyage? What quality of bread they ate? Of course not. And yet more than 3000 years ago, before the Mayflower set sail, the Jews left Egypt and every Jew in the world, even in America or Soviet Russia knows what kind of bread the Jews ate. Moza even today, the Jews worldwide eat Moza on the 15th of Nissan. They retell the story of the Exodus and all the troubles Jews have endured since being exiled saying this year, slaves next year free this year here next year in Jerusalem in C and SEL, that is the nature of the Jews. The majority of Jews, no matter how disconnected they are celebrate Paya. This Sader is the most powerful and effective educational experience the world has ever seen. And since Judaism at its core is all about the growth mindset. It's no wonder that the holiday of payso and the Sater itself is so overflowing with growth mindset concept. Let's begin with a short overview of the Seder itself and where we see the growth mindset and where we see educational philosophy coming to life in a way that's so much more powerful than anything we could do in a classroom. The word sadder literally means order the name come from the specific 15 steps of this AER in education, predictable schedules and routine provide a sense of security and decreased levels of anxiety. Especially in young children, even with adults, it's really helpful for a class to have a class outline, to let the student know what to expect for each segment of the lesson. So the same is true with our payso. We begin this AER by saying all the steps that will follow throughout the evening within those fixed steps. There's plenty of room to add and to embellish. In fact, the ha GTA says that it's praiseworthy to add and embellish on what we're talking about. This creates the ultimate balance between the predictable structured environment and the flexibility necessary to be responsive to the individual needs of each ser participant it important to note that the Sader is really focused on the children. Sometimes we'll ask in a class, you know, what is the focal point of the S Sader and it's not Mo it's not Maur. It's not the Sater plate. Really it's the children. Another point that the Sater really brings out is the emphasis on questions. As we've talked about in previous episodes, questions are at the core of Judaism. We don't believe that a question means that a person doesn't have the proper trust in God. We don't believe in blind faith, alone questions are at the core of Judaism and the, to revolves around questions. In fact, the goal of the Sader leader is to prompt questions, because questions are the seeds of learning. We pointed out early in the season that a teacher and a parent's primary role is to cultivate curiosity. And the Sader leader is the teacher part Alon. Whoever is leading the Seder. Their job is to cultivate that curiosity, to prompt the children and all the guests to ask questions. I always recommend that when someone is leading the Seder, the S sadder should not begin until someone asks a question. So do something silly, wear a funny hat. Don't your normal seat, whatever it is that will prompt someone to ask a question. And then when they ask that question, you can answer and say, you know what, the reason why I'm wearing this funny hat, or the reason why I am standing or sitting backwards, or the reason why I'm doing whatever it is that you're asking is because tonight is different. Tonight is special, and tonight is all about asking questions. And I'm so glad you asked that question. Now that you ask the question, we can begin. Questions are so important that there are steps of the Sader that were instituted specifically, just to arouse the child's curiosity at my payoffs, sad, we have a very complicated currency that goes on with different types of candies. So you can trade in a certain number of jelly beans to get a marshmallow and a certain number of marshmallows to get some, you know, a prize or something else. And at my sadder, children are rewarded for answering questions, but they get double the reward. If they ask a question, because like we said, in Jewish learning, the question is always more valuable than the answer. And when it comes to the pay south ser specifically, the question is more valuable sadder night, the first and second night of Passover is all about encouraging those questions. The reason why questions are so fundamental. And I think we may have pointed this out in our talk about curiosity. And if we did, it'll be a good review. And if we didn't, it's really important, but the morale of Prague or by Juda LOI explains that the reason why questions are so important is that people are generally happy, accepting their point of view. It's only when they're bothered by a question, does a person open their mind and embrace a paradigm shift. He explains that curiosity creates a hole that can now be filled. If there's no hole, then the information will go in one ear and out the other. There's nowhere for that information to be top face. There's no place for that information to sit and to dwell and to live. And so curiosity creates that hole that can now be filled with, that's not to say that we always require an answer. One of the most important Jewish concepts is the idea of being comfortable living and sitting with a question it's okay to not have all the answers, but there's no question that's off the table. There's no question that is not appropriate to ask children are naturally curious, right? They question everything and they approach learning with excitement and enthusiasm. I don't know about you, but my four year old, can't wait to go to school every day. And he's noticeably disappointed when school canceled or on vacation. Why doesn't that love of learning last? Why is my 14 year old? Not as excited about learning as my four year old? Where do the curiosity go? I think as we grow up, we begin to learn that questions make us look foolish because the definition of a question, and I think this is so crucial in Judaism. We talk about defining our terms. We don't just go through life on autopilot. And as soon we know what we're talking about, we need clear definitions. And there's a clear definition of a question. And I think Passover is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves and our children of what it is to ask a question. I know adults that don't truly know this definition and they may acknowledge and say that they agree with it. But when you look at the way they ask questions and approach questions, I'm not sure they truly understand it. A question by definition is a statement, an acknowledgement of two things. Number one, I don't know something. And number two, I want to know more. And when my four year old Arron says, I want ask you a question, which more often than not, doesn't really mean he's asking a question. It means he's telling me something. I remind him. And I say, is there something that you don't know that you want to know the answer? Is there something you wanna learn more about? And if he says, no, I wanna tell you about something happened in school. I say, that's not a question. It's a story. So now whenever he wants to tell me something, he starts with once upon a time, once upon a time, RO shared her toy with me at school, which I always find, you know, really cute. But the point is that questions by definition, make me vulnerable questions, tell the world, I don't know everything. And in a culture that doesn't value those questions. I replace real questions with statements punctuated with question marks. That is not a question just because my verbal tone makes you think it's a question doesn't automatically make it a question. There's a difference between a statement with a question mark and a true question. So many people ask questions when they're not really trying to learn something new, they just want people to look at them as smart. They want people to say, wow, what a brilliant question you have asked if my motivation is not to learn more, if built into my question is not an acknowledgement, a statement that I don't know something. Then by definition, it's not a question in the fixed mindset. My concern is not being smart. My concern is looking smart with a growth mindset. I'm interested in the process of learning. And therefore I'm more likely to ask questions because I wanna know the answer I wanna learn. And therefore I approach everything with this curiosity that is truly insatiable because no matter how much I know, I know that there's so much more for me to learn in the growth mindset, not knowing something doesn't tarnish my reputation of who I am. If anything, it helps me become better, stronger, smarter. When we have a night of the year that is dedicating to asking questions, we allow our children to understand that we, their parents, their grand parents, their loved ones are here to help cultivate that curiosity. And when we become cultivators of curiosity, when we see our role, as those who are there to cultivate curiosity, we encourage lifelong learning with traditions like a Sater that are so focused on asking questions. We can help our children and ourselves embrace a growth mindset. Another important educational tool, which is employed at the Sader is the idea of experiential learning. We could really sit down our children and give them a lesson in the exists from Egypt, tell them about what the slavery was like. And instead of just telling our children the story and letting them know that God's still involved in the world that he created and that he cares about them and loves them. We conduct a Sater where they learn these lessons in a profound experiential way. We reenact the bitterness of slavery and experience the feeling of freedom. There are those who actually put the mat on their back and run around the table. As if they're leaving Egypt. The Haga, the manual for the Seder encourages us and reminds us that every single person is required to see themselves as if they left Egypt. We'll get back in a future episode, into the, as if and what that's signifying, but at its simplest form, it's telling us that we need to reenact the experience. We eat bitter herbs to conjure up and remind us of the bitterness of slavery. We drink wine and we lean as if we are aristocracy. We have the Moza on our table that reminds us that we didn't have time to allow the bread to rise. Cuz we left Egypt in such haste. We have all of these symbols, all of these pointers on our table, the sadder plate itself, all of these opportunities to prompt questions, to explain the story and to make the story come to life. It's not just about telling a dry, empty story. We employ all of these different ways to make it an experiential learning experience. Another idea, a growth mindset idea we've talked about is recognizing the uniqueness of each person and a sad leader is charged with the task of engaging all different types of people in a meaningful way because as Judaism teaches us and as we've discussed before every single person is unique king Solomon, the wisest of all men provided us with the fundamental principle of Jewish education. This one idea encapsulates the essence of Jewish education and that is Haar ALPI Darco educated child, according to his or her, our unique path. And so on the night of education on the night of Passover, when we sit at our Sater, we have to make sure that we are reaching all kinds of minds. There are specific passages in the S sadder that are meant to address the needs of an intellectual student who wants to know about all the details. There are others that relate to the technical details of what we're doing and why. And still other participants are not even bothered by the peculiarities of the evening. And they also need to be reached even a child who's challenging, who's difficult and just attacks instead of really asking a question that child too needs to be addressed. And the story itself needs to appeal to every single person on his or her level when introducing the four sons, the four different, and again, there's obviously many more, but it uses four as, as a means of an example, when introducing the four sons who are each unique and different and approach their education differently, the Haga uses the word. Aha, Ahaha, aha, Tom a Russia. The word one before it, which is really redundant. It shouldn't say one is the Haum. One is the Tom. One is the, why does it say the word one before each one to tell us that every single one of those children, every one of those learners must be taught differently. You need to approach them as individuals. You need to approach them as unique. We understand an education that for an educator to reach the entire class, they have to use multiple modalities. Otherwise they're not gonna be reaching all their students. When I was in graduate school, we had classes on special education. Not because any of us were going into special ed because we needed to learn how to use special ed techniques in a traditional classroom. A modality of learning is a sensory channel, whether it's a visual or auditory or kinesthetic or tactile through which a learner gathers and processes information. And it's important to use all modalities for learning because over time, time, most learners will show an affinity towards one modality, more than others. There are certain ways of learning that appeal to us personally, more than others. And that's why the Sater has multiple opportunities for all types of learners, to be engaged through all of our senses, the focal point of the a table. Again, the focal point of the ser is the children, but the focal point of the table is a S Sater plate, which is a visual aid for the different Passover symbols. Many people don't even eat the items off the ser plate it's they literally just as a visual aid, auditory learners can listen to the story. As it's being told, can aesthetic learners get to taste the bitterness of slavery through the Maur. They taste the sweet of freedom through the grape juice for the wine. The Mo isn't just talked about. It's not something we say, oh, back then. This is what our ancestors ate. We actually bring the Mo to the table, or it can be seen, felt tasted. You can even hear the crunch. We reenact the leaving of Egypt with Moss over our shoulders. Not just because it's experiential, because it's a modality that reaches certain learners in a way that other experiences won't. We go through the motions of freedom. As we recline on our chairs, the ser is a whole body experience. It's not just sitting and learning.

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