We start preparing for Passover after Purim.
Every year I try do something different for the seder. I've been doing this for several years, with greater or lesser success. I'll post a few of the successes over the next few weeks.
I'll start with a series of four stories I wrote for my four children some time ago. Each story contained a small part of the Exodus story as re-written by different authors.
The first one was written for my youngest daughter, and is in the style of Elsa Holmelund Minarik's classic Little Bear series. I loved reading these to my children. They are perfect examples of story-telling at its best: warm, familiar, and humorous.
My story contains a new explanation for God's choice to turn the staff into a snake.
A Burning Bush For Little Bear
Little Bear is watching sheep. He is carrying a stick. How many sheep? One, two, three ... There are a lot of sheep! A little sheep runs over the hill. Little Bear runs over the hill to catch him.
Little Bear sees a fire in a bush. The bush is very small. The fire is very big. Little Bear likes fires. Little Bear is happy. He does a little dance.
Little Bear hears a voice coming from the fire. Little Bear is afraid. He hides his face with his paws.
"Hello, Little Bear," says the voice. "I am God. My little bears are not happy. You must go to the King and say, 'Let my little bears go!'"
"I am afraid of the King," says Little Bear.
"Little Bear," says the voice, "are you really afraid of the King?"
"Yes," says Little Bear.
"What else are you afraid of?" says the voice.
"I am afraid of a lot of things," says Little Bear. "I am afraid of
"See the stick?" asks the voice. "See the stick that you are holding?"
"Yes," says Little Bear.
"Throw the stick onto the ground," says the voice. Little Bear throws the stick onto the ground. It turns into a snake. Little Bear is afraid of snakes. He hides his face with his paws.
"Pick up the snake," says the voice. "I am afraid of snakes," says Little Bear. "It is okay," says the voice. "I will make sure that the snake does not bite you. See, there is nothing to be afraid of."
Little Bear bravely reaches out his paw and picks up the snake. Now it is a stick again. Little Bear is no longer afraid. In fact, Little Bear is happy. He is almost laughing. He does a little dance.
"See?" says the voice. "You were afraid of the snake, but I made sure that it did not bite you. You are afraid of the King, but I will make sure that the King does not bite you, either."
So Little Bear goes to the King.