Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

4 Sivan 5762 - May 15, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family
Shavuos Light and Sound Show

by Devora Piha

We are commanded to remember the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai. It was an event that defined the Jewish Nation for all time. The Revelation at Mount Sinai occurred with actions from nature and with supernal events beyond nature. Imagine that if we are inspired and in awe of a colorful sunset or thunder from a storm, how much more awesomely impressive were the events at Har Sinai.

Children run out of the house to look at an unusual color in the sky or cloud formation. Thunder shakes us. Loud unexpected noise causes us to look around for its source. Fire frightens us. The stark acts of weather and nature cause us to run for cover. At Har Sinai, six hundred thousand men and several times that number in women and children stood still and witnessed events wondrous in revelation and miracles beyond our human comprehension, beyond the usual thunder of a stormy night. The Jewish People were part of the purpose of the Revelation of the Giving of the Torah. It was a thunder that shook the entire world at once.

For a comprehensive English description of Mattan Torah, R' Shlomo Rozner directs readers to A Nation of Witnesses produced by Feldheim Publishers. The reader is offered an anthology of commentaries and insights from the Torah and our Sages on the Revelation at Sinai. These visual guides help us `relive' the events of Shavuos and re- internalize what took place. With refreshed memories, we can pass on with enthusiasm these events to our children.

From Har Sinai came loud sounds, various types of lightning, thick clouds on the mountain, light rain, the sound of the shofar and rock-shattering wind. The Jewish People stood at the base, encircling the mountain, and miraculously was not crowded. They stood underneath the mountain as it rose above them till it reached the heavens. It was poised over them like a basin, says the Midrash. Fiery angels like consuming fire watched as Hashem gave the Torah. The entire nation beheld the seven heavens and their glory, which were opened before their eyes. The earth trembled and all the mountains in the world shook. There was thunder and the sound of a mighty shofar.

"Israel was able to see as one can see light in a glass- walled lamp, and with that light, they were able to see what the prophet Yechezkel was only able to see behind thick veils" (Zohar, Yisro).

From this verse came the idea for a Shavuos project to portray this drama. A light and sound show from a cereal box theatre with the silhouettes of Har Sinai and Mattan Torah moving behind a screen is an exciting way to retell to our children the monumental events that took place at the giving of the Torah.

You can make it as simple or elaborate as you like. The main thing is to tell the story of mattan Torah with the props silhouetted against the light in the stage. You will use a cereal box, cut open for a large screen or window and a table lamp. Add some transparent paper to the window, attached with glue to make a dramatic silhouette light show. Har Sinai comes alive from a cup, cut out shapes of lightning, the luchos or other symbols that you make and attach to a craft stick or straw. You can also use your hands open or closed, with fingers forming different actions, just as you did as a child with shadows on the walls at night.

Sound effects add to the drama and make the show and encourage auditory recognition of the sound source.


An empty cornflakes type cereal box.

Baking paper or tracing paper.

Scissors, pencil, ruler, glue and scotch tape.

Optional: colored paper to cover cereal box.

Table lamp with shade removed.


A hairdryer or crumpled paper or beans or small rocks in a closed container.

Cardboard from back of cereal box, plastic disposable drinking cup.

Craft or popsicle sticks or drinking straws.

Cotton or crushed white facial tissues.

Optional: the sounds from dramatic music, a real shofar and any of your own bright [or loud] ideas.


Remove back from cereal box. Reserve back for cardboard for later use.

Cut out a stage opening in front of the box, about six by eight inches. If desired, cut on three sides, leaving one side attached for a door.

Cut away, from the bottom of the box, a half circle large enough for your hand to hold the box (stage) when it is not sitting on a table.

Cut baking or tracing paper a bit larger than the opening.

Glue paper onto back of opening.

Optional: Cover front and sides of box stage with colored paper. Use contrasting colors for small pictures or decorative shapes. Cut out drawings of Har Sinai, the luchos, lightning, clouds, fire and a shofar. Glue on. Or draw directly on the colored paper.


Use a plastic disposable cup for Har Sinai.

Cut a slit in bottom of cup, large enough to insert craft (popsicle) stick.

Draw and cut out shape of luchos from back of cereal box.

Attach the luchos with tape to top of stick.

Draw and cut out a silhouette of fire with flames jumping up.

Attach to craft stick with tape.

Attach cotton or crumpled tissue on top of stick for clouds, with glue or tape.

Draw and then cut out shape of lightning from back of cereal box.

Attach to craft stick with tape.

Draw and cut out people to represent the families that stood at Har Sinai. Cut out their silhouettes.

Attach to craft stick with tape.

Make any optional props as desired.


Your stage will be set up on a table in front of a table lamp with the lampshade removed. A slide projector will also work. It is important to have strong light from behind to enhance the dramatic effect of the light show.

Use a flashlight for additional strong flashing effects.

Use beans tied up in a sock or in a glass bottle with a lid to shake for the sound of thunder (or pound on a Shabbos blech). Use a hairdryer for the strong wind. Crumple paper or cellophane for the crackling sound of fire. Blow a real shofar if you can get one.

You may need a few people to help you do the show, each one holding one or two props.

Each prop will be on a stick to make it easy to move from behind the stage. Plan in what order each prop will appear to correspond to the events as they took place. Plan the sound or light effect to accompany the props.

Do a trial run. Test out the lamp, the flashlight and the sound effects.

For a simplified version, eliminate the theater and set up the lamp or projector near a wall so that the light shines on the wall. Hold the silhouette props on the sticks in front of the light until their shadows can be seen on the wall.

Do you remember doing this as children late at night before the light was turned off? We made birds and other things by folding our hands and wiggling our fingers in different ways and watched in awe as these images performed for us on the walls of our bedroom. With the subject tonight being Shavuos, the memories the children gain from the light show will have a signficant lasting impact.

[Note: You may wish to do the telling from a prepared source, or impromptu, with the children filling in from what they know from all the Midrashim.]


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