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3 Object Lessons for Teaching on Purim [from the book of Esther]

I taught on Purim recently. You know, the annual celebration of the Jews being saved from Haman’s plan to have all them all killed..

As I was preparing my lesson I had some information that I could share, but it was going to be DRY. I was fairly certain that the kids would only half way pay attention and they’d be most excited when I was done talking. I suppose part of that is pride, I wanted the kids to pay attention to me…but the other part was that I really wanted them to learn something and be excited about hearing from God’s Word.

Regardless of whether the lesson is on Purim, or on crossing the Red Sea, I want the kids to WANT to listen and learn.

So here’s what I did, to the make the story of Purim a little more interesting.

1. I got some dice.

In Esther 3 it says that Haman rolled the “pur” to decide when all the Jews should be put to death. Not only does Purim get its name from this act, but its a perfect opportunity to mimic what Haman was probably doing.

“Should I take the Jews out in January?”

(Roll the dice)

“No!”

“Should I take the Jews out in February?”

(Roll the dice)

No!”

Haman ends up deciding on a time that is at the very end of the Jewish calendar year. I don’t suggest doing this for all 12 months…but rolling a few dice on the stage and going through 2 or 3 months breaks up the lesson more than just you rambling on and on.

2. Buy some challah bread

I found some really great bread in San Diego at D.Z. Akins. It’s freshly made and an absolutely perfect food for an object lesson.

If you look at the top of the challah bread it looks like it could be “braided”. (like braided hair..it’s the bread in the bag in the picture below)

Every year the Jews eat challah bread during Purim and when they see it they are reminded of the story of Esther. Just like the top of the bread is braided, so too was the rope that Haman was going to hang Mordecai on. The bread reminds us of God saving Mordecai from the hands of Haman.

Challah-Hamantashen
Challah bread and Hamantashen

3. Buy some Hamantashen

This might be the best one. This is a triangular cookie-like pastry (see picture above – its the cookie looking thing in the box) that is filled in the center with a delicious filling like cherry, or apricot, or poppyseed.

As you might guess from the name “Hamantashen” the dish reminds the Jewish people of how God protected them and delivered them from Haman.

In fact, tradition says that the pastry’s shape represents either Haman’s hat or….his ears! (perhaps villains ears are supposed to be pointy?) I’m not making this up!

I used this in my lesson and let one kid come up and eat one. I had everyone’s attention the second I started looking for someone to come eat some food!!

I hope this gives you a few ideas the next time you need to teach the story of Esther, and in particular the festival of Purim.

I’m always excited to hear from readers so if you have any other suggestions on ways to make the story of Purim exciting for kids don’t hesitate to shoot me an email: nathan -at- betterbibleteachers -dotcom

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