> Weekly Torah Portion > Parents & Kids > Family Parsha

Doing the Right Thing

Shmot (Exodus 1:1-6:1 )

by Nesanel Yoel Safran

Shifra and Puah were the two Jewish midwives in Egypt. It was their job to help women to deliver their new babies. They were very kind and helped a lot of people.

One day, Pharaoh -- the wicked king of Egypt -- called the midwives into his palace and told them his evil plan. "I want to kill all the new Jewish baby boys," he said, "and I order you to help me. From now on, whenever you go to deliver a Jewish baby boy I want you to kill it."

The midwives were shocked. "How can we ever do such a terrible thing?" they asked themselves. "We're supposed to be helping people, not hurting them!"

So Shifra and Puah made a very brave decision. They decided not to hurt even one baby boy. They told each other, "Even though Pharaoh said it was the law, and he might punish us for not doing what he said, we have to do what we know is right."

And in the end, Pharaoh never even punished them, and God rewarded them with very great children of their own.


Shifra and Puah made a very brave decision when they saved all the baby boys, against Pharaoh's orders. In this story a boy finds himself facing a similar struggle to do the right thing.


"I'm the captain and I order you to do it!" thundered Kurt.

Marc didn't know what to do. As the senior member of the swimming team, it was his job to help train the new team members. But now Kurt, the team captain, told Marc to steal money out of the new swimmer's lockers while they were practicing in the pool.

"We can make some easy cash, heh heh," sniggered the nasty captain, "And you better do what I order you or you're in big trouble," he added.

Marc thought to himself, "If I don't do what Kurt says he could cause me problems and maybe even kick me off the swim team. But I know it's wrong to steal people's wallets and I'm not going to do it," he decided.

After practice the captain came over to Marc. "So, how much did we get?"

But Marc just looked him in the eye and said, "We didn't 'get' anything, Kurt. My job is to help these boys swim, not to make their money 'float' away."


Ages 3-5

Q. How did Marc feel when Kurt told him to steal the money?
A. Bad, because he didn't want to do something wrong.

Q. Why didn't Marc listen to Kurt and do what he told him?
A. Because he knew it was wrong to steal.


Age 6-9

Q. If Marc knew for sure that Kurt would kick him off the team for not obeying him as the captain, do you think that would have been a good reason to act differently?
A. No, because unpleasant consequences are never a good reason for doing something you know is bad.

Q. Do you think Kurt is going to try to make Marc do wrong things anymore?
A. No, because he know that Marc won't listen and he'll only do what he knows is right.


Ages 10 and Up

Q. Do you think the excuse "I was just following orders so it's not my fault" justifies doing something wrong? Why or why not?

Q. When should a person decide to listen to his conscience instead of obeying authority? How big a price should he be willing to pay?


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