This week’s parsha starts with two plagues: locusts and darkness. Hashem hardens Pharaoh’s heart so he doesn’t let the Israelites go. Then comes the one that breaks Pharoah: the death of the firstborn. The Israelites get their first mitzvah: to establish a calendar based on the moon. Then we get instructions on the Passover sacrifice and eating it with matzah and bitter herbs. The Israelites quickly pack up and go, taking the wealth of Egypt with them. We get the Passover commandment and the mitzvah of tefillin.
Bo is one of my favorite parshiot to do with kids, because it’s Passover “stuff,” but without the Passover stress. So you can try making matza (without worrying about the flour getting in the cracks), serve lamb (the Passover offering some have a tradition not to serve on Passover), eat your favorite Passover foods without having to worry about the actual stringency involved in their prep. And we break out some picture Hagadas and talk about what we’re going to do with the ones we make this year. All the fun without the craziness that proceeds Passover.
Make a Passover feast – without the stress of Passover! My kids love boxed matza. You could do matza, matza ball soup, potatoes, and even roast lamb or lamb stew. (Have I ever mentioned my dh loves lamb? It’s a favorite foods Shabbat menu at our house!) You get a taste of Passover food to whet your appetite, but can serve a real cake for dessert. No problem!
Make a book of the 10 plagues
How about dark chocolate marshmallow cookies (with the hidden light inside)?
Hardening Pharoah’s heart: We made clay hearts with pei etched in them and are watching them harden.
Or you could make a cookie heart and dip it half in chocolate to harden like this.
Death of the firstborn: This one is tricky for kids, but here’s a link with some good discussion on it. We did some sad faces, but I’d love to hear your ideas!
Calendar: We’re talking about the Jewish calendar and making some special food for Rosh Hodesh, the new month–Rosh Hodesh Shevat is near this parsha.
And we might used some for dessert: matzo toffee (we don’t use the nuts.) I will say this is better with crunchy matza, but the kids were so excited to use their own!
Lamb! We’re having a Moroccan lamb stew for Shabbat lunch. Obviously not the lamb, but still exciting for the meat eaters here.
Or how about a candy seder plate?
Tefillin. We learned a while ago about how these are prepared, and are going to review and possibly make this into a cake. Here is a short video on how tefillin are made and here is one about how to put them on.
What are you doing for this week’s parsha?