Two Brothers and the Temple Site
Adapted by: Dvora Omer
Illustrated by: Yael Albert
When two brothers meet midway, each bearing a gift for the other, love fills their hearts. Israeli author and Israel Prize laureate Dvora Omer has adapted this well-known tale about fraternity for young children.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Psalms 133:2)
The father in this story suggests that his sons divide his field between them, however, the brothers understand that it is nicer to spend time with one another and work together, rather than to be alone each on their own plot of land. Each brother is considerate of the other, wanting the best for his sibling, and without ever being asked to do so, gives up his share so that his brother would have more. Each brother's concern for the other expresses the great affection they share, and demonstrates the power of brotherly love.
Enjoy reading and discussing this book together!
Proposed Family Activities:
- You may want to leaf through the book and look for all the activities that the brothers do together. Perhaps your child can think with you about all the things around the house that are easier and more fun to do together by joining forces.
- There are many words in Hebrew that describe farming. Does your child know the names of all the different actions? You could look at the illustrations depicting farming activities in the book, and try to do the same using hand gestures.
- Each of the brothers is considerate of the other, and gives up his share without ever having been asked to do so. You may enjoy making an illustrated list together of examples of actions that show how each of you has conceded and helped members of your family.
- Like the brothers in this book, you too can make a heartwarming surprise for your child during the night, to which they will open their eyes in the morning. Afterwards, your child may surprise you too!
- The brothers in this story understand that dividing things up equally is not always the fairest method, and therefore each of them wishes to give up some of his share for his brother. You may want to discuss the different needs of your own family members, and promise your child that even when they do not get exactly the same things as their siblings, they too will always get what they need.
- "Each of us has a city called Jerusalem" (Natan Yonatan): the book informs us that the Temple in Jerusalem was built on the exact spot where the two brothers met. Having read this story, you may want to look for pictures of Jerusalem together, sing songs about the city, and tell your children about "your Jerusalem".
Different written versions of this story appear in Jewish and Arab texts since the early 19th century. One of the first ones can be found in the Jewish storybook Maase Nissim published in Baghdad in 1890. This tale is part of many traditions and stories about why Jerusalem was chosen as the site of the Temple, expressing the desire that his city and its holy site be a place of peace, unity, and fraternity.