Bnei Akive--what's All The Fuss About?

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 6-14
Group Size: 10-35
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

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Resource Goal
  • To learn some sources about the way the Torah expects us to live.

  • Learning how the Torah VaAvodah Ideology is a clear message from the Torah
  • Understanding the need to live in Israel in order to keep the ideology.

Resource Contents

Good for all ages


Bnei Akiva what is all the fuss about?


  • To learn some sources about the way the Torah expects us to live.

  • Learning how the Torah VaAvodah Ideology is a clear message from the Torah
  • Understanding the need to live in Israel in order to keep the ideology.


Prepare source cards for the groups

Photo copy source sheet

1. Opening and icebreakers:

Play an Ice Breaker.

Every body knows that Bnei-Akiva is about Torah VeAvodah. Ask the Madrichim what is more important Torah or Avodah, both? If we have a free hour we should do Torah or Avodah? What does it exactly mean Torah VeAvodah?

what does Hashem want from us?

To help answer these questions we will bring in some sources that speak of different aspects of what Hashem expects from us.

Before you hand out the cards with the sources split the objects into 4 groups and then tell the Chanichim to go to the group according to the place of their object.

2. Source learning and categorizing:

Give each group 6 cards as marked on the source cards (all the #1 are for group #1, all the #2 are for group #2).

Each group should take their sources and categorize them of the 3 choices:

Only Torah

Only Avodah

Torah and Avodah

You should find that 2 of the sources of each group relate to Torah, 2 relate to Avodah, and 2 speak of combining Torah VeAvodah. At least one source in every group will speak of how Hashem would like the world to be continued and completed by man. This will help with the continuation of the Peulah, but try not to get the steps mixed up.

After all the sources are placed ask a representative from each group to explain their sources meanings and the category they chose for them.

Help lead them to understand that all the sources are directing us to both learn Torah and do Avodah, the difference is just the adjustment between them. The Torah clearly directs us to learn Torah at any available time and to take our Avodah seriously for as long as it takes. All this is only after we have kept all the duties of the Mitzvot that make sure we are staying on track.

3. Why do we Learn Torah?

We will try to make Hashems free time requests clearer to ourselves.

The easier one to start with is the always standing Mitzvah to learn Torah. Without going into too much depth it has 4 main reasons:

To learn what we are supposed to do, so that we keep the Mitzvot better.

To learn Hashems philosophy and engage our minds with his thinking.

To make a stronger connection to Hashem by filling his words.

To have the Torah Grow by more people studying it (each understanding of torah adds more Torah to the world)

4. Who Needs Our Work?

Now we want to understand why Hashem wants us to work. We understand why we want to work and make a living, but if Hashem sees this as a Mitzvah there must be an ideology behind it.

Ask the Chanichim to try explaining that ideology in their own eyes.

The best answer we can get as Bnei Akiva is if we ask Rabbi Akiva directly. We are so lucky that Tornosrofus asked that question for a different reason before.

Give out source sheet #1:

Source number 1.

Tornosrofus was the governor of the Roman Empire in Israel in the days of Rabbi Akiva. He is famous in the Gemara for the arguments he had with Rabbi Akiva while he was captured in jail. Some of our best learnings from Rabbi Akiva are from that season.

We learn from Rabbi Akivas answer that Hashem could have created the world in a more perfect way, but he decided not to. Instead of that he gave us the chance to improve and influence the world. In modern words we could explain that Hashem could have created the world in the year 2004 with palm pilots growing on trees, modern architecture and high-teck technology. He didnt do that so that we would get the chance to develop and influence the world. Hashem wants to let each one of us go through the tasks of this world and still make the world march forward.

In doing our Avodah we are taking part in the creation of the world and that makes us Hashems partners. Hashem wants us to take this partnership mission seriously, and that is why he gives us the Mitzvah of Avodah in so many sources. All that is left for us is to find out where we can help creation the most and choose our Avodah accordingly.

5. Short Summery :

Now its clear that in any given time of day we can be keeping Hashems will. No matter what we are doing as long as we are trying to develop the world or even to develop ourselves (learn) so that later on we can help the world, we are doing the right thing. All this is simple and true as long as we really mean to help the world and not only ourselves.

6. And the Mitzvah is

If Avodah is such an important thing to Hashem, where is the Mitzvah to do it?

Source number 2:

Note : if you have time and want to lively it up a little give a Madrich to read a story (in separate file) about Rabbi Yishmael and one other to act it out. And the sme with the story of Rabbi Shimon. Then learn source two.

The Gmara brings a Mchloket in the understanding of " " if it is a Mizva or a bad situation.

I would suggest to learn the Gmara as it is and then try to understand the Psak Halacha or suggestion that Abaye brings. He says that for the Most of the people Working is the right thing to do and those who lived according to Rabbi Shimon did not succeed in life as it is not a suitable way of life for people who were created Human.

A very interesting answer to that can add some more light on all we have learned is brought by the Chatam Sofer in his commentary about a black Etrog in Masechet Sukkah.

Source number 3.

Chatam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer) lived in the 18th century, and was known as one of the greatest Rabbis of his time.

The Chatam Sofer explains that the words we read every day in the second paragraph of Kriat Shma " " are the Mitzvah of working the land. Related to that Mitzvah is all that we need to do in order to develop the land and the world.

7. Short Summery

Now it looks like every thing is clear. Hashem wants us to learn Torah and develop the land. This will of Hashem is also our goal as a movement. We want to keep Torah in a full way, which means to learn it and to do Avodah.

8. Only in Israel?

We want to raise an interesting point that the Chatam Sofer mentions at the end of his explanation.

All the plans Hashem has about developing the land and the world are only in Israel. While in Galut all we are left with is to learn Torah and no reason to do Avodah.

But the only way to fully keep the Torah would be in Israel.

Why is that? Cant we develop the world in America? Sometimes we can do it even more when we are not in Israel.

9. Am Yisraels Job.

To help us find an answer we need to understand what is Am Yisraels job in the world.

To understand that we will bring an essential Passuk before - Maamad Har Sinai the most important time in setting Am Yisrael.

Give out source sheet #2:

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

As this Pasuk has such an important place in the Torah, its the introduction that tells us why we have to keep the commandments and then the whole Torah. We must learn the meaning of it.

Note - You can use the source sheet but it would be more effective to read from the Chumash.

Lets take these words one by one:

A Kingdom what do you need in order to have a modern kingdom?

A king, a government, an army, a police force, a court system, doctors, computer programmers, scientists, roads, trains, pilots, stores and everything.

Of Cohanim: what is the role of the Cohanim (not during the 2 weeks they serve in Beit HaMikdash)?

They are the teachers and Rabbis.

So what would be the role of a nation of Cohanim between the nations?

To teach and direct the world.

And what do you expect from a teacher or Rabbi in the Jewish world?

To be a holy person, that we can learn from his actions.

A holy Nation we need to be more moral and more holy so that others can take an example from us.

A kingdom of Cohanim, and a holy nation means we should teach the world how to be better and more moral people.

And the idea of this coming before the commandments is that first we are told why we need to do these Mitzvot and then we are told what they are.

Short Summery Am yisraels goal is to be a role model for the other nations.

10. A role model - Why Not in Small Communities?

In order to teach the world a more moral way of life we need to become role models to the world. But we have a dilemma: why not have lots of Jewish communities that everyone can see? That way we would have more direct influence on more people.

To answer this we learn the source from Orot by Rav Kook zl and understand the idea.

There are some main reasons that we can count here to why that wouldnt work:

  1. We could only show the basic personal skills, and would never get a way to deal with justice and political issues. People might think Jews are nice but thats not enough to lead a country with wars and financial problems.

  1. As a community surrounded by non-Jews we would work in their businesses and never take care of business ethics. There would also always be some types of jobs that Jews would never do for good and for bad. Also we wouldnt have a chance to take a break at work for learning Torah.

  1. As we would have many communities we would find that there are lots of ways to understand the Torah and Mitzvot. We would create so many Minhagim and Edot that we wouldnt be one Jewish nation any more.

  1. We would be busy trying to role model and we might miss the point of just living the right way and letting the world learn by choice.

There are many more reasons I am sure we can all think of but the idea is clear. We have a goal as a nation to make the world a better place and the best way to accomplish this goal is by going to our Homeland and building the ideal state that the Torah teaches us how to run.

11. To Be a Real Jewish Model.

What now, we are not all in Israel yet, what should we be doing?

Just the same as you would be doing in Israel Be a role model to your surrounding. Live a real kosher Jewish life that will cause people to say I would like to learn from you, and be like you.

That way you would be preparing yourself and the world to the time when you, me and all of Am Yisrael make Aliyah to the Promised Land.

12. Summery:

Quickly skim through what the session was about:

We learned sources telling us that Hashem wants us also to work and also to learn Torah.

We realized that developing the world is also a mitzvah. The reason it is a mitzvah to work because Hashem wanted man to join him and the building of the world. So Torah and Avodah is not a compromise but on the contrary a fuller way of life.

The place to do it is in Israel because our job as the Jewish nation is to create a role model society that will show an example to the whole world . That can only be done in a Jewish country in the Jewish land.

Eretz Yisrael LeAm Yisrael Al Pi Torat Yisrael!



. 1 In the third month after the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 And when they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mount. 3 And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying: 'Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto Myself. 5 Now therefore, if ye will hearken unto My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples; for all the earth is Mine; 6 and ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.'7 And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8 And all the people answered together, and said: 'All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.' And Moses reported the words of the people unto the LORD.

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Shmot, 19


Orot, Rav Kook

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The Goal: To free humanity from a terrible suffering of physical and spiritual troubles and to bring it to a free life full with good and pleasure in the light of the Godly ideal and to apply the idea to all people.

The Method: Only to a nation that has a country, kingship, army, and all the peoples needs is there an option to show how God surrounds us in all aspects of human life. Only by that way will everyone know that Rabbis, Monks, and such are not the only ones who can live good, productive life according to the Creators will from the artful, advanced, holy intelligence, to the wide political, social, and economic systems, and to the working class for all its parts, even the lower and more material ones.

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Resource Comments


Prepare source cards for the groups

Photo copy source sheet

Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Bnei Akiva > General

» All > Bnei Akiva > Ideology

» All > Bnei Akiva > Torah VaAvoda

» All > Eretz Yisrael > Aliya

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