Winter is not my favorite season. The three block walk to the bus stop in frigid temperatures during my school days was a huge damper for me. The only reason to rejoice during the short cold days was when snow kept us home. During that time our parents would take us out for night sledding, and then hot chocolate afterwards, which was great fun. Oh...Sorry for digressing! By the end of winter I had several wonderful things to look forward to every year; flowers, smells of spring, longer days, and warmer weather. It also meant that soon The Ten Commandments would be on television. Every year I would sit riveted in front of the television watching as if for the first time Charlton Heston (Moses) confronting Yul Brynner (Ramses). Edward G. Robinson as Dathan proclaiming, “There’s no blood on my door!” and the Egyptian soldier haughtily replying, “Then stone bleeds!”, and then Israel walking out of Egypt as a free people. My favorite part though was Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on the mountain. Of course at the time it didn’t matter that Cecil B. DeMille’s version was slightly different than the Biblical one. Years later, the VCR was invented and lucky me – I could watch my favorite Bible movie whenever I wanted! There have been many movies which put the men and women we read about in Scripture on our television screens. My preference has slightly changed in that I now prefer the ones that hold true to the Biblical account.
There are also movies that are non-Biblical but deal with Biblical themes. Hopefully you will find some here that you and your family will enjoy.
Besides the three movies that Sara has reviewed, there are others that you may enjoy for this time of year. They are: Messiah: Prophecy Fulfilled, (an excellent movie which shows Passover from the Messianic Jewish perspective), Jesus of Nazareth, Ben-Hur, and of course, The Ten Commandments. Messiah: Prophecy Fulfilled can be purchased from Eden Communications. The others can be purchased at Amazon.com or Wal-Mart.
Starring Ben Kingsley
We’ve seen Ben Kingsley in his Academy Award winning performance in Ghandi, as Itzhak Sternin Schindler’s List, Otto Frank in Ann Frank: The Whole Story, as well as a number of other films. He has also been in two Biblical movies, Joseph and Moses.
What I loved about this film on the life of Moses was the true vulnerability of the man who was given such an amazing task. There were a few discrepancies in the movie, such as the number of sisters Zipporah had, Moses never seeing his wife again in the movie after he returned to Egypt, but all in all this is a great movie. It’s not the big budget epic like The Ten Commandments, but it is more true to the Scripture than others. This movie definitely deserves 4 stars.
The Devils Arithmetic
Boxes Synopsis: “Sixteen year old Hanna Stern was a typical American teenager who ignored her family’s heritage until a mystical Passover Seder takes her back in time to German-occupied Poland on an emotional journey of life, death and survival. Transported to a dank, cold, concentration camp, she experiences the horrors of the Holocaust and for the fist time understands the grim reality of her people’s fate. Fighting for survival, she keeps everyone’s spirits up by entertaining them with stories of the future, but she soon must face a terrible sacrifice.”
Rating: Parental Discretion – Mature for Graphic Violence
The Devils Arithmetic is a very good film, although it was not equal to “Schindlers list” or “The Piano”, the film is perfect for teenagers to watch and learn about the Holocaust without being traumatized by the horrific events shown in other films. I would recommend this to parents, who want their children to have a greater understanding of the Holocaust, and the importance of family and tradition.
Starring Burt Lancaster
There have been a few movies made on the life of Moses. I have had the privilege of not seeing any of the bad ones. After watching countless times the well known and widely loved “The Ten Commandments” starring Charlton Heston, and “Moses” starring Ben Kingsley, I blindly believed that this one would not disappoint. I was wrong. The reason I gave this “Moses” only 1 star is because it was thoroughly disappointing. By the time I reached the end I was surprised that the theme was still God sending Moses back to Egypt to save the Israelites from slavery. The movie was converted from a mini series to a two hour movie, but how hard is it to write a script when you have the complete layout of the story? All you have to do is fill in the tiny details. To my knowledge no one has been able to get the story exactly the way it’s told in the Bible, but so far no one has changed it more than this one. Take your chances watching this Moses film. It seemed more to me like a 1970s horror film more than a story from the Bible.
His Majesty Requests
His Majesty Requests, An Invitation to the Royal Wedding of the Lamb by Rebecca Park Totilo is a beautiful book of devotions which depicts the customs of the ancient Hebrew wedding, and how Yeshua fulfilled them. In each custom Mrs. Totilo gives a vivid fictional example, and then explains from a Hebrew perspective the meaning and relationship to the believer in Yeshua. This book can be purchased from Pleasant Word Bookstore.
Two fictional books that are excellent for this season are Tirzah by Lucille Travis, and The Midwife’s Song by Brenda Ray. Tirzah is the story of a young girl and her family who are slaves in Egypt when Moses returns, sent by God to free them from slavery. The story chronicles the family’s experience through the last plague and their exodus through the wilderness. This is a wonderful book for ages 9 to adult.
The Midwife’s Song is more suited for the older teenager to adult. It is the story of Puah a Hebrew midwife when her people were slaves in Egypt, and the role she played in protecting the Hebrew male babies when they were born. Puah herself recounts the story to her great-great-granddaughter and other children in the camp as Israel leaves Egypt. This book is heartwarming, suspenseful, full of intrigue, and romance. The story is taken from Shemot (Exodus) 1:15-21
Both of these books can be purchased at Amazon.com. For those who home school, Hillside Education has a literature guide for the book Tirzah, which I have used with my daughter.
Below are two pictures that you may print for your cildren to color at Passover, drawn by Samuel Veirs. I also have searched the internet for sites that have free activities for your children to enjoy throughout the week of the Feast.
Lederer Books, a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers distributes a book called Celebrations of the Bible, A Messianic Children's Curriculum which teaches about each of the Feast days and can be used for prechool up to grade 6.
Special thanks to those who took the time out to contribute to this effort. I praise Yahweh for allowing our paths to cross.
Comments or suggestions?
Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.