World Bnei Akiva MovementCenter for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora
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All Together Now- Arba Minim -

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 10-14
Group Size: 10-30
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal

Goals: To teach the chanichim that

1. Every person has something special and different to contribute to the Klal.

2. Achdut means bringing different people together for a common goal.

3. This is the message of the Arba Minim


Required Props & Materials

Materials: cards for fruit basket (optional), playing cards


Resource Contents

By: Esther Cohen and Nechama Gottlieb

Noseh: Achdut in Am Yisrael

Chevraya: Aleph and Zach

Materials: cards for fruit basket (optional), playing cards

Goals: To teach the chanichim that

1. Every person has something special and different to contribute to the Klal.

2. Achdut means bringing different people together for a common goal.

3. This is the message of the Arba Minim

Peulah:

Grades 1-3

Game #1- Fruit Basket.

This game, generally known as Fruit Basket, requires exactly enough chairs for everyone playing, minus one. The Chanichim will take their chairs and make a circle surrounding the Madrich leading the game who will be in the middle explaining the rules. Going around the circle, the Madrich will identify the Chanichim as one of four different things: Lulav, Etrog, Arava, Hadas. Either before Shabbat you can make cards with these names and give them out, or you can simply give them their names. When the Madrich yells out one of the four items, each Chanich who was given that name must get up and try to find an empty seat. At the same time, the Madrich will attempt to sit down as well, leaving one person in the middle without a seat. Its then that Chanichs turn to call out another of the four items. If the person in the middle decides to be a bit trickier, he can call out Fruit Basket where everyone gets up and must try to find an empty seat. As with all games, do not wait until the Chanichim get tired; end the game at its peak.

Game #2- Conductor

Players sit in a circle. Players are divided into four teams. Each team must shout a word when the madrich (conductor) points to them. You can choose any words that have a good beat to them. A good set of words that works is Chinga for the first group, Pa-Na-Ma for the 2nd group, Vie-did-ee-doo for the 3rd and EhhhhhhhhhhBoom for the 4th. The madrich has to create a rhythm by combining the different shouts.

Variation: Theres a similar game using the words peanut butter (repeated slowly in a low voice), jelly jelly jelly jelly (in a sing-song, like na-na-na-na poo-poo), and bread (repeated quickly)

Explanation: Ask the chanichim if anyone knows what the Arba Minim represent. The four species are often compared to four types of Jews. The Etrog has taste and smell, so it represents people who learn Torah and do Mitzvot. The Lulav has taste but no smell, so it stands for those people who learn Torah but dont do Mitzvot. The Hadas has smell but no taste, so it represents people who do Mitzvot but dont learn Torah. The Arava, has neither taste nor smell, so it represents those who neither learn Torah nor do Mitzvot. In Judaism, we have many different types of Jews who, although seem very different from one another, are all in the same circle. Everyone has something different, yet something special to offer to the Klal. Ask the kevutza how this connects to the game they played. Just like all the different sounds in the games created a cool rhythm, much cooler than just having the sounds by themselves. The message of the arba minim is that achdut doesnt mean people who are all very similar coming together- it means that very different people need to come together, because thats when we can really create something great.

Story: The following are two stories about Rav Kook, the spiritual leader of Bnei Akiva and first chief rabbi of Israel, who was famed for the way he was able to connect to all types of Jews.

Story #1

Before Rav Kook went to live in Eretz Yisrael, he was appointed as the rabbi of Zoimel, one of the small villages in Lithuania.
In Zoimel, there lived a poor shoemakerwho earned a meager living from his small shop. The man worked very hard, from Saturday night when Shabbat ended to Friday afternoon, when Shabbat began.
One Friday afternoon it was almost timefor the Shabbat to begin and he had nothing with which to celebrate the arrival of the Shabbat Queen: no challot, no fish and no wine for kiddush. He looked across the deserted street. All the Jews had finished their business a while ago. Their stores closed, one by one, and their owners hurried home to complete their Shabbat preparations.
He then saw Jews dressed in their Shabbat finery, coming out of their houses, strolling leisurely to shul. The shoemaker, however, was still standing at the entrance of his shop, in his workday clothes, his heart heavy.
The passersby were amazed. "What chutzpah! How dare he leave his shop open on Shabbat"
At the shul, Rav Kook stood ready to receive the Shabbat Queen, his face alight. The worshippers excitedly told the Rav what they had seen and asked Rav Kook to punish the shoemaker for his insolence. The Rav tried to calm the people, "Wait a while and let's see what happens."
When the prayers came to a close, the Rav, accompanied by a few members of his congregation, went to the shoemaker's shop. Rav Kook did not scold the man and did not berate him for his wrongdoing. He simply turned to the shoemaker with a smile on his face and greeted him,
"Shabbat Shalom, my dear Jew!"

Although those who accompanied the Rav were amazed by the Rav's action, they too, continued on their way.
The shoemaker was ashamed. He hurriedly locked his store and ran to Rav Kook's home. The Rav greeted him pleasantly and said, "Sit down, Reb Yid, my fellow Jew. Don't be ashamed. Tell me what is troubling you. "
The man cried out bitterly and began his story:
"I lead a hard and bitter life. Customers have not come to my shop for a long time now. I am ashamed to go home to my wife and children empty handed. How can I face my good children without bringing home any challot, candies, or wine for the Shabbat table?"
"So, I stayed in my shop until now. Maybe someone, anyone, would come to have his shoes repaired. Then I could save my family from starving!"
The Rav listened to the bitter words of the shoemaker. Slowly, the wrinkles on his forehead softened,
"Do not be troubled any longer, Reb Yid. From now on, every month you will receive enough money to support your family. You will be able to feel the same happiness and oneg Shabbat, Shabbat joy, as every other Jew."
Crying out of joy and gratitude, the man got up and kissed the hands of the Rav.
It's been said that the Rav gave his precious silver candlesticks to the shoemaker after that Shabbat, and he lived on the money from its sale for a long time.
From that day on, no Jew kept his store open on Shabbat in Zoimel.

Story #2.

Yerushalayim is filled with small shuls, many of which are referred to as shtiebels. These shuls are famous for their singing, their warmth and the special nature of their davening.

It was in front of one such shul that David and his friend Moshe decided to play soccer one Friday evening. Not having been raised in religious families, David and Moshe didnt even realize that there was something wrong with playing soccer on Shabbat. They certainly did not understand why it was wrong to play soccer in front of a synagogue.

As the congregants began to make their way into the shul one by one, they noticed the boys playing soccer outside and simply shook their heads, upset that the boys were playing soccer on Shabbat-and in front of a synagogue no less!!

These shul-goers werent quite sure how to approach the boys, they didnt know what to say or do or how to ask them to stop. To make matters worse, this was the Shabbat that the Rav HaRashi, the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the State of Israel, Rav Kook, was coming to visit their shtiebel to give the Friday night derasha.

As the men were discussing what to do Rav Kook himself turned onto the street! Now the men were very nervous, they couldnt let the Rav see these boys playing soccer outside their shul on Shabbat!

Before the men could do anything, though, they noticed that Rav Kook was not walking up to the shul entrance. Instead, the Rav had turned off to the side and was walking towards Moshe and David, the two young soccer players.

The men were too far away to hear what Rav Kook said to the boys. All they saw was that the boys stopped playing soccer and walked awaywith Huge Smiles on their faces.

Rav Kook was able to relate to them and speak to them on their level in order to explain why it was wrong to play soccer in front of the shul. He explained this without making them feel bad about themselves and he made sure that they left the courtyard with smiles on their faces.

Grades 4-6

Game #1- Team Charades

The Madrich will start off this game by announcing to the Chanichim that everyone (boys and girls separate) must pair off and form a chair with their partner. The Madrich will walk around and compare to the different ways the chairs were formed. Then, two groups will pair up (4 people) and the Madrich will tell them to make a table, give them a few moments and walk around comparing. You may do this with different numbers of people in a group, and different items to create. The final item they will create will be with around 8 people per group, depending on the crowd. You will ask them to make a bottle factory using all necessary people for all necessary parts of the factory. Give them hints if they need them. (bottles need to be made, filled, capped, labeled, etc.) Each group should present to the rest of the Chanichim how they formed their factory.

Game #2- Conductor (see above)

Explanation: Ask the kevutzah what they thought the message of the charades game was. From the game, we see that the bigger the goal we had, the more people we needed to be involved doing different things. In the last round of the game, one person capped the bottles, while one person was the conveyer belt. Both jobs are important, and without each job, the bottles would not exist. So too regarding Am Yisrael- we need all different types of people to unite for a big goal. Ask the kevutzah what they thought the message of the conductor game was. In the game, everyone has something to add. By themselves, they were ok- it might be fun to say chinga a lot, but it would get boring after a little bit. But when you put it all together, something really amazing could be created. Ask the kevutzah if they can connect this to Sukkot and the Arba Minim. This is the message of the Arba Minim- The four species are often compared to four types of Jews. The Etrog has taste and smell, so it represents people who learn Torah and do Mitzvot. The Lulav has taste but no smell, so it stands for those people who learn Torah but dont do Mitzvot. The Hadas has smell but no taste, so it represents people who do Mitzvot but dont learn Torah. The Arava, has neither taste nor smell, so it represents those who neither learn Torah nor do Mitzvot. The message of the Arba minim is that we need to bring together all types of Jews to reach our goals. Achdut doesnt mean lots of people who are the same uniting, it means very different people still being able to work together to create something wonderful.

Story: See above

Zach (grades 7-8)

Sicha: This is a great age to have a sicha (discussion) with. A sicha gives the chanichim an opportunity to express their opinions and think for themselves.

Stage 1: To start the sicha you have to first grab the chanichims attention with an interesting introduction, so in this case we want to talk about the importance of every individual, their ability to work together and their contribution to the Klal. You can start off with a short game, have them all stand and face in the one direction and tell them to count randomly out loud from 1-10, if two people call out the same number together, the whole group must start over and begin to count out loud from 1-10 until they have all done it successfully. If the are having difficulties give the hints to help them out, for example the person who is going to call out the number should sit down before calling the number or raise his/her hand. After playing this game, you can begin by asking the chanichim to explain what was difficult about this game and how and why they finally succeeded. The main point of this sicha is to have the chanichim discuss the importance of achdut, working together and the importance of the individual.

Stage 2: But what is achdut?

To answer that question on a deeper level, tell the group that youre going to give them all different cards, and that they should first look around and see what cards other people have, and then get themselves into groups based on their cards (dont tell them how to use their cards to get into a group!).

You will have prepared cards before shabbat! of things that typically go together (e.g. peanut butter and jelly cards- youll make enough cards so that everyone can get a peanut butter card OR a jelly card; Torah and Avodah cards- youll make enough cards so that everyone can get a Torah card or an Avodah card. You can also use regular playing cards.)

Give out one set of the cards and see how they organize themselves- did they organize into a peanut butter group and a jelly group, or peanut butter and jelly pairs? Did they organize themselves into a Torah group and an Avodah group, or into Torah Vaavodah pairs? (You can have them reorganize with different sets of cards a couple of times.) Ask why they organized themselves the way they did. Did they create groups of all the same thing? Why? What do they lose out by doing that (isnt peanut butter and jelly better than plain old jelly? Isnt Torah Vaavodah better than either one alone?)

Lead this into a discussion of whether, in our lives, were part of groups where everyones the same, or where there are different types of people. What is more important, to study at a school were everyone around you is exactly like you and comes from the same religious background or to study in an environment where all different kinds of Jews are present? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? Should religious girls who wear long black skirts, with three quarter length sleeves all go to the same school and not allow Jews coming from different backgrounds into their schools? Is it better to stay safe within our own group, or to interact with other types of people, even if their way of life is very different?

Conclusion: We talk about achdut a lot, but sometimes were only thinking of achdut within our own group. The real meaning of achdut is to even work together with Jews who are very different from ourselves. Every Jew within Am Yisrael has his/her tafkid but no one can accomplish anything on his/her own and must work together with everyone else. Our goal as Jews should be to recognize the importance of every individual and his/her contribution to the Klal but at the same time to realize that we all have a common goal and that is to sanctify the name of Hashem. Everything that we do should be LShem Shamayim and that common goal should be the string that ties us together to be able to accomplished greater things by us working together regardless of our religious backgrounds.

This is the message of the arba minim. The four species are often compared to four types of Jews. The Etrog has taste and smell, so it represents people who learn Torah and do Mitzvot. The Lulav has taste but no smell, so it stands for those people who learn Torah but dont do Mitzvot. The Hadas has smell but no taste, so it represents people who do Mitzvot but dont learn Torah. The Arava, has neither taste nor smell, so it represents those who neither learn Torah nor do Mitzvot. In order to fulfill the mitzvah, you need to bring all the types together in one group. Succot is a time to recognize that we need to connect to all Jews, not only the ones we associate ourselves with in our daily lives.



Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Jewish Holidays > Succot

» All > Am Yisrael > Unity

» All > Am Yisrael > Uniqueness

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