Actions Speak Louder Than Words- Avraham - חשיבות המעשים מדיבורים- אברהם אבינו

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 10-14
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal


1. To learn this story of Avraham
2. To think about how much more our actions say, than our words
3. Micro - macro. Bettering oneself will ultimately lead to bettering the world.


Resource Contents


Avraham is an absolute top bloke. There is so much to learn from him, and this week is no different! Avraham is well known for his midah (characteristic) of chesed (kindness) and we are going to take a closer look at one of the examples of this.

As the Author of "Mesillat Yesharim" - "The Path of the Just" writes in his introduction, "I have written this work not to teach men what they do not know, but to remind them of what they already know and is very evident to them…"

The story so far…

After Avram had rescued Lot, all the other captives and their possessions, he was regarded as a top bloke by all the defeated kings. Following this Hashem spoke to Avram and promised him an heir, and a great nation,

"Look at the sky and count the stars. See if you can count them…That is how numerous your descendants will be." (15: 5)

This is then made final by the 'brit bein habetarim' the covenant between the pieces, when G-d also promises Avram and his descendants the land of Israel.

Meanwhile Sarai had not yet had any children, so she told Avram to marry her servant Hagar. This happened and Hagar soon after gave birth to Yishmael.

Avram has the first brit mila (at 99) and shortly after Hashem tells him that Sarai would give birth to a son, and that it would be through this son, (rather than through Yishmael) that the descendants would come. Avram's name is changed to Avraham and Sarai's to Sara.

Vayeira then begins with Avram in quite a bit of pain following his brit mila (and the immense heat isn't helping either!), and 3 strangers come strolling past.

1) G-d appeared to him [Avraham] in the Plains of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the hottest part of the day. 2) He [Avraham] lifted his eyes and he saw 3 strangers standing a short distance from him. When he saw [them] from the entrance of his tent, he ran to greet them, bowing down to the ground. 3) He said, "Sir, if you would, do not go on without stopping by me. Let some water be brought, and wash your feet. Rest under the tree. I will get a morsel of bread for you to refresh yourselves. Then you can continue on your way. After all, you are passing by my house. "All right," They replied, "Do as you say." 6) Avraham rushed to Sara's tent and said, "Hurry! 3 measures of the finest flour! Knead it and make rolls." 7) Avraham ran to the cattle, and chose a tender, choice calf. He gave it to a young man who rushed to prepare it. 8) He [Avraham] fetched some cottage cheese and milk, and the calf he that prepared, and he placed it before them [his guests]. He stood over them as they ate under the tree. Bereishit 18: 1 - 8

 - What did Avram offer the strangers?

 - What did he then go and sort out for them?

 - Why do you think he got so busy for them?

 - Do you think Avram planned on getting so busy whilst he was asking the strangers to sit and chill for a while? If so, why didn't he make the offer more appealing by telling them what he really had in mind?

"Shammai says: Make your Torah study a fixed practice, say little and do much; and receive everyone with a cheerful face." Pirkei Avot 1: 15 

Why do you think it needed to be stated to "say little and do much"? What normally happens?

How can this be applied to us today?

"Say little and do much"

When one makes a pledge to a friend or for charity, he should do more than he promises. (Rashi)

One should not try not to verbalise his intentions to perform a mitzvah, for once he enunciates his plans, they tend to go awry. If he says little, keeping his good plans to himself, he will succeed and do much. (Magen Avot)

We can learn from this that it is not what we say, but the actual tachlis, of what we do! It's easy to make grand promises, and even easier to talk about just how much we're going to do. But none of it counts until we actually put it into practice.

This is all very nice, but surely we know this!

The truth is, yeah, I hope so! But, how often do we really think about it and stick to the advice given here? Especially after Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, it is so important think about our new years resolutions, as not random, throw away promises, but rather, things that we're going to stick to!

It is also quite fitting that this kvutsah follows one on the Israeli's who are missing in action. It is easy to feel uncomfortable with their situation, perhaps try to empathise with them and their families, and hopefully to want to do something about their situation. This kvutsah has one simple message - Just do it!!!

"When I was young," said Rabbi Israel Salanter, "I wanted to change the world. I tried, but the world did not change. So I concentrated on changing my town, but my town did not change. Then I turned to my family, but my family did not change. Then I realized: first I must change myself." This is the authentic moral voice that has sounded throughout Jewish life since the days of Avraham and Sara. We can change the world because we can change ourselves. That is the birthplace of hope. We are called on to change the world. That is the imperative of faith. It was and still is a complete vision.

"Radical Then, Radical Now" Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks.

Change is a slow and gradual process, but if we diligently work at improving ourselves, we can ultimately improve the world. Every little thing that we say and do has repercussions. This can lead to positive or negative consequences, depending on our actions. Our duty is to start small, but build up in our own progress, until we are fully an 'Or Lagoyim' (a light to the nations).

What's the similarity between Avraham and Moshe?

Well, apart from both being top leaders, both were men of actions. Indeed, Moshe was known for having a speech impediment, yet Hashem chose him to be the leader of (what would become) Am Yisrael. It's what we do that is important. It is easy to make grand promises and talk of ideas, yet how often do they come into fruition?

Our task is simple; we cannot sit back on our bums all day and do nothing. We don't even need to think big, just realistically! As Rabbi Tarfon used to say, "You are not required to complete the task (Avodat Hashem and learning Torah), yet you are not free to withdraw from it" (Pirkei Avot )


1. To learn this story of Avraham

· Learn the text / Act it out / Quiz

· What happened next? Tell chanichim that 3 strangers have appeared near Avraham's tent - what's he going to do? (They pre-empt what Avraham does, which can then be compared to the real sequence of events)

2. To think about how much more our actions say, than our words

· Give us a clue / Charades

· Without talking line up in height order, then age, by name alphabetically etc.

3. Micro - macro. Bettering oneself will ultimately lead to bettering the world.

· Connected puzzles (everyone has their own small puzzle to piece together, which, once finished also fits together with everyone else's, making one big puzzle) - we all do our own, which works towards (quite literally) the bigger picture.

· Simon says / Follow the leader - starts off with one person doing or instructing an action, and then, suddenly, everyone's doing it!










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