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Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    Great Book!!

    This is a wonderful Passover story. This Midrash is beautifully told and illustrated. I used this book with pre-school to 2nd grade this Passover. The children loved the story. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Passover and all the tales.

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  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    enjoyable accompaniment to Bible stody

    Nachshon, along with the rest of his family and all the Israelites, is a slave in Egypt. His parents, grandparents, and even great-great-grandparents had been slaves, and he is afraid that he may be a slave for his whole life too. However, Nachshon remembers the stories of how long ago his ancestors had been free, and he dreams of freedom every night. Nachshon's father and brothers make straw and mud into bricks, but Nachshon slips past the taskmasters to bring them cool drinking water. He also spies on Pharaoh and his royal courtiers to give reports to the Israelite elders. Everyone begins calling him "Brave Nachshon." However, Nachshon does have one fear. When the other slaves take a cool dip in the Nile River each evening, he is afraid of water.
    One day, a stranger named Moses comes and promises the Israelites freedom. That evening, when the slaves jump in the river, Moses sees Nachshon's hesitation and says, "Real freedom means facing your fears and overcoming them." Many people can tell the story from here. Moses calls on Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. At first the king refuses, but after ten terrible plagues, he finally agrees, and the Israelites march to the Sea of Reeds. Then, they look back and see the armies of Pharaoh chasing them. When Moses tells them to march forward into the sea, what will Nachshon, who is afraid to swim, do?
    According to a note by author Deborah Bodin Cohen, the Torah does include brief references to Nachshon ben Aminadav who was a leader in the tribe of Judah (Naashon or Nahshon in English Bibles; see Numbers 1:7). However, in the Midrash or Rabbinic lore, his story is more fully developed as an example of faith and courage. Jewish parents will certainly find this book useful for their children especially during the Passover season, but any parent who would like a good book to accompany their children's study of the Scriptural story of the Israelites' Exodus from Egyptian bondage should like it. The attention-grabbing illustrations of Jago and the added lesson of working to overcome fear help make Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim stand out as a book that children will truly enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2009

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