by Joshua Salik
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
First They Came…
- Martin Niemöller
In this quotation, Martin Niemöller, a German anti-Nazi activist and Lutheran pastor, reflects on the consequences of staying silent and not protesting arrests made during World War II.Pair “The Worst Sin” with “First They Came…” and ask students to discuss the dangers of indifference. How would the author of “First They Came…” be judged according to the parable “The Worst Sin”? Do students think that is fair?
Danish Resistance During the Holocaust
- Hans Holmskov Schlüter
During the Holocaust, some people in German-controlled Denmark fought against the violent actions and policies put in place by the Nazi party.Pair “The Worst Sin” with “Danish Resistance During the Holocaust” and ask students if they agree or disagree with the theme of Salik’s story. Encourage them to use evidence from “Danish Resistance During the Holocaust” in their answer.
The Farmer and the Viper
- 620-560 BCE
In this fable, a farmer finds a snake frozen in his field and decides to help it, only to see the snake betray him.Pair “The Farmer and the Viper” with “The Worst Sin” and ask students to discuss the morality of the farmer in relation to the idea of the worst sin, indifference and inaction.
- Barbara Radner
“Honest Abe” describes the famous, storied honesty of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States.Pair “Honest Abe” with “The Worst Sin” and ask students to think about how the ideas of morality and goodness are taken up in each text. Why did people prize Lincoln’s honesty, compassion, and devotion to being fair to all? How does his willingness to take action to set things right differ from the nature of the man discussed at the end of the latter story? Do you think a person has to be as honest and actively committed to fairness as Lincoln was to be considered good?
Queen Esther and Me
- Amalia Hoffman
In Amalia Hoffman’s essay “Queen Esther and Me,” Hoffman explores the origin and celebration of the Jewish holiday Purim.Pair “The Worst Sin” with “Queen Esther and Me” and ask students to consider values in Judaism and Jewish culture based on their readings. What do Jewish people value, according to each text? What do students think about the ideas and values behind the lessons in “The Worst Sin” and “Queen Esther and Me”?