Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Yee-Haw! It's The Hillel-Shammai Showdown. Git Along, Little Dogies!

Shalom Sesame, the Israeli version of Sesame Street, has just posted a collection of skits from their classic and new series on YouTube.  Some are simply Hebrew versions of classic Ernie, Bert, and Cookie Monster sketches.  But there are a few good examples of effective teaching of Jewish culture.

Here is one of the best, a retelling of the famous story of Hillel and Shammai and how they dealt with the stranger who asked to be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot.  Using a western theme, the narrator retells the story as it is told in the Talmud (translation below) but uses a more child-friendly, animated approach to get the point across.
It happened that a certain heathen came before Shammai and said to him, 'Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.' Thereupon he repulsed him with the builder's cubit which was in his hand.  When he went before Hillel, he said to him, 'What is hateful to you, do not to your neighbour:  that is the whole Torah, while the rest is the commentary thereof; go and learn it.' (Tractate Shabbat, 31a)
Enjoy (and learn!)

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