The Day that Changed Me in Swimming
Erik A., age 10
Tribe of Judah
On July 2, after lunch we were about to enter a moment of my life that changed my life. We were entering the “pool of edge.” As I entered the pool it was freezing. Even so I couldn’t resist it. Then Baby Carrots came out of nowhere and asked me if I wanted to learn to swim. I said yes. At first I thought I couldn’t do it. It was sort of awkward. But actually my thoughts were wrong and my body was right. In 20 minutes or less I learned many things. I felt perfect. I felt so proud of myself. Today I want to do it more and more! But most of all, I want to thank Baby Carrots because she helped me. THANK YOU Baby Carrots!!
Sorry for the double parsha post, we are still working on getting caught up. Hopefully next week we will be back to a regularly scheduled single parsha per week post. This week’s double parsha gives us the end of Genesis and the beginning of Exodus (Genesis 47:28-50:26 and Exodus 1:1-6:1). The end of Genesis has Joseph and his brothers blessed by their father and then Jacob dies. Jacob’s death raises two problems.
Problem #1- Egypt is not the promised land. It is the land where Jacob and his family have come to be reunited with Joseph and survive the famine but it is not their home, it is not the land that God has promised to them and to their fathers. So, Jacob needs to be taken back home to be buried. This is solved easily enough as Pharaoh allows Joseph time off of work to honor and bury his father with his brothers. Pharaoh even sends servants and dignitaries with him to help with the journey (Genesis 50:7).
Problem #2-The brothers don’t trust that Joseph has actually forgiven them. Genesis 50:15 “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” To deal with their problem of trust they concoct a story to tell Joseph about Jacob’s wishes concerning his forgiveness and throw themselves at Joseph’s feet and offer to be his slaves for life. But, the brothers needn’t worry. Joseph again expresses to them that he has peace that it was God who brought him to Egypt to save the lives of many (including his family) and that while the brothers were trying to harm him, God worked things out for everyone’s benefit.
After this interaction the next thing that happens in the story is that Joseph dies. Genesis 50:22-26 sort of functions like an epilogue to this story about the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It tells us that the whole family continues to live in Egypt and it ends with instructions from Joseph as to what to do with his body and a promise from God.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said , ‘God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.’ So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt. (Genesis 50:24-26)
Which brings us to the Exodus portion of this post. Exodus begins by telling us that the sons of Jacob went to Egypt and that at that time they were 70 people in number. Then the generation of Joseph and his brothers all died, but the children of Israel continued to prosper and were blessed in numbers by God. Genesis 50:7-8 tell “but the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was not filled with them. Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt.”
This new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph looked at the Israelites and their numbers and was afraid of them. Instead of seeking relationship Pharaoh decided that the more likely option was that the Israelites were going to join with the enemies of the Egyptians and go to war against Egypt. This is a very different relationship than Joseph and Pharaoh had. This Pharaoh oppresses the Israelites and makes them slaves. The more he oppresses them the more God blesses them and their numbers increase. In the midst of this hardship we see glimpses of future deliverance. Moses is born and from the very beginning his parents identify that he is “no ordinary child,” he also spends time being trained and raised in Pharaoh’s house. Circumstances arise that have Moses on the run, finding a new family, getting married and living a quiet life.
Well, quiet until God radically enters Moses’ story. It doesn’t get more dramatic than a burning bush, does it? This section of Exodus has some of my favorite stories in the whole Bible. I would encourage you to take a look at this parsha with your family. Genesis closes with a promise that someday God will bring the children of Israel back out of Egypt and Exodus opens with the birth of the one who God will raise up as deliverer for this time. The parsha closes this way:
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.
I love that our God is a God of deliverance. But the deliverance we see in these parshot happens unexpectedly. Joseph’s brothers are saved by God redeeming their mistreatment of Joseph. The children of Israel are redeemed out of slavery because Pharaoh is so afraid of them that he sets circumstances into motion that cause Moses to be raised in his own house. Moses is confronted by the voice of God speaking to him from within a burning bush. Moses argues with God and God provides Aaron. God sends them to Pharaoh and things seemingly get more complicated and more difficult. But, I am reminded of God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis 15:13. God tells Abraham, “know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” God knows the whole story and keeps his promises. God promised to bless the whole world through Abraham’s descendants and I don’t know if anyone guessed that would look like Yeshua (Jesus) dying for our sins. But that is what God does, he unbelievably brings life and blessing out of things that look hopeless. Let’s rest this week knowing that God is at work even in sorrow and suffering and share the hope that we have because of Him.
Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal,
Penina S., age 11
Tribe of Levi
Tribe time is about spending time with your tribe. Your tribe is who you share a cabin with. For tribe time, you get 5 different choices, since there are 5 different tribe times. Your 5 choices are archery, rock wall, team-building initiatives/ropes course, boating, and one tribe time where you get to choose whatever you want to do. Most girls like to use their free tribe time for any Shabbat preparations. You do each tribe time activity at least once. Tribe time activities are to be done together with your tribe. Everyone has to participate. The decisions are made by everyone in your tribe and if there is disagreement, you can always compromise. Tribe time is totally awesome, and it is really fun to spend time with your tribe. It’s also fun to do different activities with other campers that are around your age! Have fun!
Daniel C., age 9
Tribe of Judah
Mission Impossible is fun because the counselors try to find you with flashlights and if they spot you, you have to go back to the cabin and then you start over and you find clues and you have to do all this crazy stuff. PLUS you’re acting like a spy in black clothes and I like how you have to act like an army soldier and you can blend into the dark and that’s why I love Mission Impossible. I can’t wait for Mission Impossible because it is so fun and it’s my favorite thing about Camp Gilgal.