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
Sound effects add to the drama and make the show and
encourage auditory recognition of the sound source.
YOU WILL NEED
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
Cardboard from back of cereal box, plastic disposable
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
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
Draw and cut out shape of luchos from back of cereal
Attach the luchos with tape to top of stick.
Draw and cut out a silhouette of fire with flames jumping
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
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.
LIGHT AND SOUND EFFECTS
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
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.]