I did Ariella's most recent parsha sheet with her. They are learning about Yosef and his brothers. I'm not sure if they actually learn it in class since Ariella always seems to be clueless about the questions when I ask her. But she does pick up and retain the information pretty well. Anyway, the sheet is very intense, especially since Ariella insists on writing the answers herself, so I have to dictate the letters in each word to her. This week we started off with a winner question: "How many children did Yaakov have.....and what were their names?" After twenty minutes of patiently writing down all 13 names - thank the good Lord for "Gad" and "Dan" - we were ready for the second question!
"Which child did Yaakov love best?" Now I had to go into a whole explanation of favortism. "So, you see, Yaakov wasn't exactly the best daddy," I began, throwing ten years of Bais Yaakov education out the window, "Can you believe that he loved one of his children more than the other? Isn't that crazy!" I said, as I watched Ariella trying to absorb the information that her worst nightmare is true, and it is, in fact, possible for one child to be more loved than another child. Uh-oh, therapy here we come. ["Well," she said practically, "Yaakov wasn't such a good daddy and our Yaakov isn't always such a good boy!"] Anyway, she thought she had this answer all wrapped up: "Which child did he love best? The GIRL," she said confidently.
Then I had to launch into a whole explanation about Yaakov's four wives, and how he loved one wife more so he loved her children the best. Ariella was still fixated on Dena. "Which one was her mother?" "Leah," I replied. "Oh," she said, disappointed. Then we went on to discuss how Yosef's brothers hated him, then about Yosef's dreams and how that made the brothers hate him even more, and finally about the coat, which, if it is possible, caused the brothers to hate Yosef EVEN MORE. Ariella's eyes were getting really bugged out of her head at this point. Finally, we get to the best part - "What did the brothers do to Yosef, and what did they tell Yaakov?" Well, we're having some kind of fun now!
"You see, Ariella, the brothers threw Yosef into a pit because they were so angry with him. [Discussion about what a "pit" is.] They figured he would die in the pit. Ha ha! Can you imagine that? [Nervously glancing at Ariella to see if her face is registering horror or understanding.] Then, haha, they told their father that Yosef was eaten by wild animals! Isn't that SILLY? Don't worry," I quickly reassured her, "Yosef did not actually die in the pit! He was taken and brought to Pharaoh in Mitzrayim." [Realization hits.]
"You mean the Pharaoh that was mean to the Jewish people?"
"Well, actually, this is a different pharaoh. This one was NICE to the Jewish people. The pharaoh after him was the mean one."
"What was the nice one's name?" she asks
"And the mean one?"
So ended our lesson on the most extreme case of sibling rivalry in history. I am fairly certain that although Yaakov pulls her hair, messes up her block towers, and holds Bunny hostage, and Ariella hits him and teases him, they do love each other and [probably] would never throw each other down pits and then lie to Donny and me about it for years. Although maybe it is a good time for a talk about this. "Pits: Not for your siblings!"