This Week’s Shoafim Story: The Case of the Normal Parents
Shoafim Story: The Case of the Normal Parents
Inspired by Parshat B’Shallach (Exodus 13:17-17:16)
In this Torah portion, God tells Moses to set camp the Israelites at the Sea of Reeds until Pharaoh changes his mind about freeing the Jews and chases his former slaves. With the Egyptians on their tail, God splits the sea and Moses leads the Israelites through it. When the Egyptians entered, God closed the waters and the Egyptians drowned. Miriam led all the women in song and dance to celebrate. Soon after, the Israelites begin to complain about life in the desert. God provides quail and manna to feed the Israelites. The Israelites battle the Amalekites and win.
The Case of the Normal Parents
Katie’s Mom and Dad pull up to the front of the school to drop Katie off.
Mom and Dad: Bye, Katie! Have a great day at school!
Katie is embarrassed. Charlie walks up to Katie.
Charlie: It’s ok, Katie. All parents are embarrassing sometimes.
Katie: Yeah, but mine are embarrassing ALL the time. You have normal parents.
Charlie: Well, let’s just go to class.
After school Katie’s mom drives up to the front of the school to pick her up
Mom: How was your day, Katie? We missed you so much. Daddy is at home. You will see him soon.
Katie: Ugh, be QUIET.
Katie’s school friends laugh
George (in a mocking tone): Hi, sweetie! Have a good day!
Charlie: Ignore him. Can I come over?
Katie and Charlie are hanging out in her room at home. Katie’s mom come into her room.
Mom: Hey, girls, what’s up? What’s new? Let’s have girltime!
Katie: Go away.
Mom (sad): Oh, ok.
Katie’s Mom leaves. Katie’s Dad comes in.
Dad: Make sure you two meet nice Jewish boys. Ok, well, gotta go organize my action figures and play the banjo.
Katie: My dad is so embarrassing!
Katie’s room suddenly becomes filled with fog. Charlie disappears. A Gypsy and her assistant appear in the room.
Katie: Is this a dream? Charlie, where are you? WHERE AM I?
Gypsy: This is not a dream. My name is Yaffa the gypsy and I’m here to grant your wish. You do have a wish, right? Anything in the world, take your pick!
Katie (to the assistant): Charlie, is that you?
Gypsy: No, this is Charlotte, the GIT, or gypsy in training.
Katie: Anyway, I’ve always wished for normal parents. Not crazy ones like mine.
Gypsy: Ok, if that’s what you want. I bid you farewell. Now go to sleep.
The next morning, Katie’s Mom and Dad drop her off at school again.
Katie: Bye Mom, bye Dad.
Dad: See ya.
Katie (a little sad): Oh, ok, well, bye. Wait! Where’s my lunch for school?
Mom: You should have made it yourself. We’re busy. Do you expect us to do everything for you?
Dad: Or use your own money to buy it. You are responsible, and we shouldn’t have to pay for you.
George: Hey Katie. Wanna walk to class together?
Katie: Sure? This is weird.
Afterschool Katie calls Charlie.
Katie: Charlie! This is freaky. I think the gypsy from my dream is real!!! I need you to come over.
Charlie: I’ll be there soon.
Katie’s room is filled with fog again and the Gypsy reappears.
Gypsy: Hello, Katie. How are you? How have your new parents been? I did grant your wish, you know.
Katie: I miss my old parents. I miss them painting on the walls, and calling me sweetheart, and embarrassing me in front of the whole school. I just want them back.
Gypsy: I can only reverse a wish once. That is the rule. Are you sure this is what you want?
Katie: YES. I’m sure.
Gypsy: snaps fingers
The next day at school…
Matt: Hey, I’m Matt. I’m new here at school.
Katie: Where are you from?
Charlie: How do you like your life here?
Matt: It’s good, but my parents are SO annoying.
Katie: What do you mean? What have they been doing wrong?
Matt: They embarrass me in front of everyone. I’m not going to make any friends!
Katie: That’s so annoying. That happens to me, too. But I still love them.
Matt: Yeah, well, I wish I had different parents.
Katie: Be careful what you wish for.
1. In what ways does this story teach us not to take things for granted in our lives?
2. Do we have to lose something to realize we appreciate or need it? Why is that?
3. Did the Israelites have a right to be unsatisfied with the manna that God provided for food? If so, is there another, better way that they could have addressed the issue rather than complain that life was better in Egypt?
4. What is the connection between the Israelites’ overeating of quail and the lifestyle they had escaped from in Egypt?
We encourage you to share your family's responses to the discussion questions, in the comments section of this story's post.