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Goals: Aleph: To Learn about the Ten Commandments To Learn more specifically about the commandment of “Do not Covet”
Bet: To learn about the traits of greed and Jealousy To learn about the Yetzer hara and its role within every Jew
What is the definition of Kinah (Jealousy)? Jealousy is understood to mean feelings of anger over the successes and acquisitions/ property of another. Anger in itself can be destructive and it can also motivate a person to good deeds. The anger of Jealousy as we know it is not for good- “Leshem Shamayim” and is destructive and entirely negative.
Probably, the most tragic of stories in the T”nach concerning greed and Jealousy is the one of Saul and David. Because of Saul’s insane jealousy he tried to kill David. He consequently lost the respect and admiration of his son, Jonathan, and alienated the people of
A Jealous person only too frequently loses more than he gains in pursuit of the thing he desires!
- The Ten Commandments -
R' Samson Raphael Hirsch z"l writes: The first five dibrot are laws between man and G-d. They begin with a purely intellectual and spiritual demand (i.e., believe in one G-d), but they gradually progress into mitzvot that involve physical demands (i.e., keeping Shabbat and honoring parents).
In contrast, the second set of five dibrot are obligations that man owes his fellow man. They begin with a physical demand (i.e., do not murder) and end with an intellectual demand (i.e., do not covet).
From the progression in the first five dibrot, writes R' Hirsch, we learn that honoring G-d in spirit is worthless unless one exercises control over his actions. One's deeds must prove that the honor he gives G-d is genuine. The progression of the second five dibrot teaches, on the other hand, that social order demands more than adherence to the letter of the law; it demands spirit and feelings.
The Ten Commandments are:
1. "You shall have no other gods before Me"
2. "You shall not make yourself any graven image"
3. "You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain"
4. "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy"
5. "Honor your Father and your Mother"
6. "You shall not kill"
7. "You shall not commit adultery"
8. "You shall not steal"
9. "You shall not lie" (a "lying" nine)
10. "You shall not covet"
The tenth commandment is an interesting one. How can I be sure not to covet something? After all, isn't it natural for a human to desire things which appeal to him? And also, what is the harm in it? All I am doing is fantasizing about the ownership of someone else's object.
The actual text of the tenth commandment goes as follows:
“Do not covet your friend's home. Do not covet your friend's wife, his slave, his maid, his ox, his donkey, and all that your friend has.”
It is interesting that the commandment is repeated. What more needs to be said than "Do not covet your friend's home"? What is the purpose of the second sentence?
There is one rule that we need to know in order to decipher this puzzle. When we speak of coveting, we are not refering to merely being jealous. This commandment specifically speaks of coveting the objects which your friend owns. This means that you want HIS car or HIS computer. Not that you merely want a similar one. What can this mean? If I am jealous of my friends new Lexus, wouldn't I be satisfied to have my own? Why would I only covet his?
I believe the answer to this lies in the formulation of the commandment. The first line is the commandment, the second is the explanation. When we speak of not coveting your friends home, we are speaking not of a residence composed of brick and mortar. We are speaking of the home which is the entirety of one's life and existence. When I covet someone's home in this sense, I am coveting his life. I wish to live his life, to own his car, to be married to his spouse. To own his livestock. I do not wish similar things. I want HIS things.
As a matter of fact that second line concludes with a powerful message. "...and all that your friend has." This does not mean that you may not covet many other things besides his wife, ox, etc...It is referring to the nature of the coveting. When I am not satisfied with merely owning a similar object, but I must have HIS object I am coveting more than just a car, I need "all that your friend has".
The root of this commandment is to realize that the life that G-d has given you is the life that you were meant to live. The challenges that G-d has given you are yours to overcome. To ignore these challenges and reject who you are and your ability to achieve things exactly within the life which you have been placed is what we must avoid. This is one of the great lessons of this commandment.
NO CRAVING ALLOWED
The Tenth Commandment
Our sages have discussed this verse over and over to grasp its meaning. Part of their problem and ours is that it seems natural for us to covet: We tend to want what our friends and neighbors have. The commandment "Do not covet…" challenges us to strive to be menschen.
Since antiquity, we Jews have wrestled with our desires or inclinations. In the past, some Jewish leaders have promoted simplicity, but the majority of our sages have preached moderation. In this midrash, we learn of the rabbis' own ambivalence about the so-called evil inclination.
1. What does it mean to "covet"? What aspects of our contemporary society make this commandment difficult to keep? Where are the pressure points for you in relation to this commandment?
2. This commandment is about what we think rather than what we do. Why should it matter what we think, so long as we don't act upon it - surely our thoughts can't hurt anyone...? Why do you think God commands us not to covet - what is at stake in this commandment?
3. What can we do to limit and resist temptation in this area?
4. Given the society in which our children are growing up, how can we "impress this commandment on your children"?
- A ten-commandment team treasure hunt
- Ten-commandment charade- (act it out … and guess the commandment)
- Team quiz- questions based on different commands- receive commandment on paper if question answered right. The first team to win all Ten Commandments and to arrange them in right order wins.
- A moderate version of the action below i.e Any team game, where one team has all the “best” players. Triggering a similar feeling/ discussion of Jealousy amongst the chanichim.
To truly and honestly evoke a discussion on Kinna, the chanichim must firstly experience a situation of Jealousy, deal with it and then be allowed to react to it. Through this experiential gimmick, the discussion will take on a lot more meaning and depth:
The madrich should come into the room and give a beautiful present (chocolate bar!?) to one of the chanichim. (The particular chanich should be briefed beforehand). The madrich should not explain his action except to say that he just felt like giving this chanich a present. The madrich should give it to him/ her in a special and audacious way and give it to a chanich you wouldn’t expect to get it.
Immediately following this the madrich should resume regular games or start a short discussion. He/She should continually re-enforce the present-receiving chanich with (subtle) lavish praise. I.e. You should let this chanich speak in the discussion and be continually complimented.
Let the meeting develop, then take the present back and ask:
1. What is going on here?
2. What effect did the Kinnah have on all of you?
3. How do you feel about it now?
4. Why is Kinnah wrong?
5. What does the Torah say about Kinnah?