Download the Powerpoint by clicking here: The Prophecies of Amos
As a way of introducing Amos to the kids of Hebrew School, I made this Powerpoint. It was used to accompany an “interview”. The interview was an activity that involved the kids a bit, with answers taped under the seats. Here’s the script for that:
Interviewer: [Makes a welcome such as a talk show host would] So, Amos, you have been quite in the news, recently! You made a big splash when King Jeroboam the second – remember, viewers, he is the second king name Jeroboam! Our great and mighty king gave a party for all the dignataries of Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon and Moab! And you, a little prophet, crashed that party! Why? That is what everyone wants to know! But I want to know you, before we talk about that! Who are you? Where did you come from?
Amos: It’s not easy to be a prophet. I did not want this job at all! My name means burdened. I am burdened with my visions! My burden is being a prophet and having to speak publicly the words of God! I was a shepherd. Actually, my biggest fear used to be public speaking… I loved being in silence. I worked alone, sometimes with other quiet folk. My sheep were small and speckled, hardy breed to survive the wilderness near Tekoa, where I was born. Let me show you and our viewers some pictures [Fires up Powerpoint] I also dressed sycamore trees..
Interviewer: And what is that?
Amos: You might not know, being a bigshot and all, but that is what poor people like me eat. The sycamore tree makes a very bitter fig. A dresser of sycamore trees needs to puncture the ripened fig to get the bitter juice coming out, and then to be able to make the dried fig into a flour. This is our bread.
Interviewer: Really? I had no idea… I never knew that poor people struggled that much.
Amos: Let me guess. You have a bed made of ivory, don’t you?
Interviewer: Yes… what’s wrong with that?
Amos: even the children of Adath Israel know how people get ivory! Who can educated this man?
Child: [Answers or reads: Ivory is teeth from elephants, their tusks. To get ivory you have to make the elephant feel a lot of pain, is like pulling your teeth out. People kill elephants just for ivory. It is very cruel.]
Interviewer: It is true that my bed was extremely expensive. But I had no idea… [Smiling] But let’s get back to you! You are from Tekoa, you used to be a shepherd of small flock, and made flour from figs. How did you become a prophet?
Amos: I was taking my sheep to graze, and it was midday. You know how hot it can get. I was looking for a sycamore tree to get the sheep to rest under its shade, but suddenly the sheep stopped and would not move, no matter what I did! Suddenly, I heard this voice, coming from the tree!
Interviewer: [getting up all excited] Are you kidding me? A tree that speaks?! I want to go there! I will worship this tree!
Amos: Don’t be a dunce! Sit down! It was Ad-nai! God! Hashem! God was speaking! The tree was just the meeting point! We, Jews, don’t worship trees! Or idols! Any how, the voice of God said: “Amos! Go prophesy to My people Israel! They have strayed far from Me! They are pursuing the gods of corruption and greed!”
Interviewer: But I don’t know what those words mean! Is there a wise child that can tell me?
Child 1: Greed – Greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or things. A greedy person is also materialistic and grabby.
Child 2: Corruption – Corruption is using people in power to get something for a specific person. It usually involves bribery, which are illegal gifts of money, to make the people in power to act or make a law in a way that will benefit the person who gave them the money.
Interviewer: But how can corruption and greed be gods?
Amos: It’s not easy to be a prophet. I did not want this job at all! So much explaining! Greed and corruption become gods when people forget the laws of the Torah! When people use their power against the poor and the weak in a society. [increasingly agitated] When the poor have to pay more taxes than the rich, so that the rich will become more rich, that is corruption and greed. When the poor have to eat bread made from sycamore figs while the rich lie in ivory beds, that is corruption and greed! People are forgetting that the Torah tells us that we have to take care of the orphan, the widow, the poor! A Jewish society is to be a just society, where everyone has the same laws, and rights, and chances to be the best they can! Everyone should be able to eat three meals a day! Everyone should be able to sleep in a house, protected from cold and heat! Every child should be able to go to school! When those things don’t happen, that is because corruption and greed have taken over a society!
Interviewer: calm down, no need to be so excited!
Amos: No need to be excited?! Do you know what I see? I see people being exiled from our land! I see the Temple being destroyed! If we do not change our society, and do right by all our citizens, our people will suffer the consequences! God does not like we have been doing! And God does not like what other peoples have been doing! That is why I, in my poor, coarse, robes of shepherd, had to crash that party!
Interviewer: So now let’s get to the main point of our conversation. Why did you crash that party? [derisively, smirking] And why did you not wear a better robe than your shepherd’s robe?
Amos: Because I had to deliver the messages of Hashem! God had messages to all those kingdoms! And I didn’t care that people were looking at me funny. I know who I am! I am a shepherd. I am a Jew! I obey the Torah! I speak for the poor. The robe I have is the robe I have! The sandals I have are the sandals I have! I became a prophet because God said so. But let me tell you and all our viewers the messages! [Fires up Powerpoint, reads animatedly]
And let us say “amen”!
Interviewer ends with thanking Amos and opening a Q&A.