Pesach--what Makes Us A Nation - פסח--עם ישראל
Group Size: 15-35
Estimated Time: 60 minutes
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This is the place!
to talk about Pesach and what makes us a nation
4 variations of shapes, animal crackers
Pesach and Am Yisrael
Goals: to talk about Pesach and what makes us a nation
Suggested Age: Grades 3-6
Suitable for Shabbat
Materials: 4 variations of shapes
Trigger Game: Everyone gets one of 5 different sounds. Then everyone scatters. When the call comes to find your group, you have to walk around only making your sound and try to find the rest of your group again.
Variation: Now do it again but each group decides on a secret handshake.
Variation #2: (If I can find animal crackers). Everyone gets one of 4 different shapes. You put it behind your back and don’t see it. Then you have to find out who the other members in your group are (who else has the same shape as you) by describing it. Remember, you can’t see it, so the descriptions would be: “it has 3 sides”, “2 legs”..etc.
Point of game: Each group has something about them that made them unique. Am Israel became a nation in Mitzrayim, by distinguishing themselves from the Mitzrayim (ex: they didn’t change their names, clothes or language).
Sicha: There will be 2 parts.
- Discuss with them the concept of Am Israel. How we are different from all other nations? Ask them to think of examples (kashrut, yayin nesach – can’t touch our food or wine…clothes…can’t marry them…). Also difference of Am Israel is that a Frenchmen in America becomes an American. A Jew is always a Jew. (Am Levadan Yishcon – A Nation that dwells separately)
ואומרים חז"ל) במדבר רבה פרשה יג אות כ' ד"ה ביום הששי): "למה נאמר ג' מיני עולה, כנגד ג' מידות טובות שהיו בידן של ישראל במצרים ובזכותן נגאלו, שלא שינו את שמם ולא שינו את לשונם ושגדרו עצמם מן הערוה".
Chazal tell us that Bnei Yisrael kept three unique qualities while they were in Egypt, and because of them they were redeemed: They didn’t change their names, their language or their dress (they didn’t give in to immodesty).
Why do you think it's important for the nation to keep certain qualities? What is the significance of these particular qualities? Do you think the nation is as strong today? Is there a way that we keep oursleves different? What is the advantage in keeping the nation different/separate?
- Why did Bnei Israel become an Am in Mitzrayim? Try to get across to them the concept of being one group, one team. Ask them: “When you are put in a group (like in the peula) and made to work together do you feel more unified or less unified?” Probably more unified, and it was the same in Mitzrayim – had to be slaves together – became one group. Also in army, work together and become one group.
- Tell them the story of Shmuel Weiss Z”L, a soldier killed in Jenin. He was killed running to save a fellow soldier, even though the commander said not to because he might be killed. (His father spoke on a shabbaton I was at last week and said that the reason why Shmuel gave his life for the other soldier was because of this concept of Am Israel – the fact that you do anything to save another Jew- this especially applies in
“Chayav Adam LeHAROT et Atzmo Ke’ilu Hu Yatza MiMitzrayim”.
We have to feel as if WE came out of Mitzrayim. One way to do this is through acting it out – ask if anyone has this minhag – where in the middle of the seder you walk around table carrying matza, or pretending to be slaves freed.
The each group should act out one part of the Yetziat Mitzrayim. (Plagues, Slavery, Moshe talking to Pharoah and Bnei