Yehudah Maccabee And Peer Pressure -

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 8-12
Group Size: 5-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal

Goal: The chanichim should appreciate how both Yehuda Maccabee and Mizrachi (Religious Zionists) faced opposition on both fronts to their actions, but they believed what they were doing was emet and stuck to their beliefs and were not swayed by other peoples opinions.


Required Props & Materials

Preparation: non- Muktzah objects, strings that have knots tied on it before Shabbat


Resource Contents

Goal: The chanichim should appreciate how both Yehuda Maccabee and Mizrachi (Religious Zionists) faced opposition on both fronts to their actions, but they believed what they were doing was emet and stuck to their beliefs and were not swayed by other peoples opinions.

Game #1: Take 3 strange non-Muktzah objects. Then for each of the 3 objects come up with 3 definitions for what this object is, one of which is the true definition and 2 which are the fake definitions. Then for each object take 3 kids out and give them each a definition. They have to present their definition to the group and try to convince them that their definition is the correct one. They can be funny, exaggerate, etc.

Then, the kids vote on who is the correct definition, and then you tell them whether they voted correctly or not. Do this for each of the objects.

Game #2: The same as game 1, but now pick 3 words that people do not know, and come up with 3 explanations for each.

Game #3: Divide the kids up into 2 or 3 teams. Give each team a big circle of string that you have tied a knot into the middle of it. Each team stands around their rope circle, each of them holding onto it. When you say go, they pass it around and when you say stop it is the turn of the person who has the knot in front of them.

That kid must tell a quick story of something that happened to him (Once, I fell off my bike, Ive been to Israel 4 times, I like throwing things at cats etc). It can either be true or totally made up. Then the other kids have to vote whether they think its true or not. He then tells them whether it was or not. Then you have them pass around the string circle again until everyone has had a chance to tell a story.

Sicha: Ask the chanichim who had to present a word/object how they felt when they had to convince everyone they were right. How did they feel when everyone rejected what they said? How would they feel if they had the right explanation but no one had accepted it? Would they have kept fighting and said they were really correct, or would they give in to peer pressure?

Explain to the chanichim that Yehudah Maccabee and his idea of a rebellion against the Greeks wasnt accepted by lots of Jews. A lot of Jews were Hellenists/Mityavnim and accepted the Greek way of life and didnt want to fight the Greeks. They thought the Maccabim were fanatics because they wanted to uphold a Torah way of life. At the same time, there were Jews who kept the Torah and didnt like the Greeks, but didnt want to start a war with them. Because if we start up with the Greeks, they will strike back and lots of people will be killed! You will also have to fight on Shabbat! How can we fight on Shabbat? But Yehuda Maccabi knew he was right and still fought the Greeks despite peer pressure not to.

So too, before the State of Israel was founded, Mizrachi (Which Bnei Akiva is a part of) or the Religious Zionists, supported the State of Israel , but also wanted it to involve the Torah, even though many Jews disagreed with them. Some Jews were not religious and didnt want there to be any Torah in the State (like the Hellenists) and some Ultra-Orthodox Jews didnt think there should be a State of Israel before Moshiach comes. But despite people being against them, Mizrachi believed what they were doing was right, and maintained its opinion despite peer pressure, just like Yehuda Maccabee.

Conclusion: Dont give into peer pressure! Be like Yehuda Maccabee, and follow what you believe is right, even if your friends disagree.

Snif for Grades 7-8:

Theme: Chanukah

Goal:The chanichim should appreciate how both Yehuda Maccabee and Mizrachi (Religious Zionists) faced opposition on both fronts to their actions, but they believed what they were doing was true and stuck to their beliefs and were not swayed by other peoples opinions.

Trigger Game #1: Take 3 strange non-Muktzah objects. Then for each of the 3 objects come up with 3 definitions for what this object is, one of which is the true definition and 2, which are the fake definitions. Then for each object take 3 kids out and give them each a definition. They have to present their definition to the group and try to convince them that their definition is the correct one. They can be funny, exaggerate, etc.

Then, the kids vote on who is the correct definition, and then you tell them whether they voted correctly or not. Do this for each of the objects.

Trigger Game #2: One player is sent out of the room. The remaining players pick one player to yell the loudest. When the player returns he is told he will have three chances to hear everyone yell, "moo" and after each time he must try to guess who is yelling the loudest. If he guesses correctly, he will win; if not, he loses. The game is repeated once more, but this time when the player (player A) is out of the room, tell all of the other players that the next time they play, player A will be chosen to yell the loudest, and on the third time they yell "Moo!" No one is to yell except player A. Player A returns and has his three guesses. Then someone else leaves the room, and player A is chosen to yell the loudest. On the third guess player A will yell, "moo!" all by himself.

Sicha: Ask the chanichim about Yehuda Maccabees rebellion. Do they think that everyone agreed with him? If no, who would disagree and why? Rav Aviner is his sefer Tal Chermon on the Moadim, explains that really only a very small group of Jews agreed to fight with the rebellion at first! There were many more Jews that could have fought but didnt! (Rabim byad meatim but why meatim, when there were so many more Jews living in Israel then?) Try to get reasons from the chanichim of why they think this would be so.

Really there were Jews on both sides that disagreed with Yehuda Maccabee. A lot of Jews were Hellenists/Mityavnim and accepted the Greek way of life and didnt want to fight the Greeks. They thought the Maccabim were fanatics because they wanted to uphold a Torah way of life. At the same time, there were Jews who kept the Torah and didnt like the Greeks, but didnt want to start a war with them. Ask the chanichim if they can figure out why. These Jews thought that if they start up with the Greeks, the Greeks will strike back harder and many Jews will be killed! Plus, who would the Greeks take their revenge on? The Jews told Yehuda, You and your fighters can flee to the caves, but what about the rest of us? The Greeks will massacre us! Jews also had issues that the Maccabim fought on Shabbat (because of Pikuach Nefesh, because the Greeks would davka raid the caves on Shabbat and one time the Jews did not fight back and were all killed). They didnt think it was allowed to fight on Shabbat.

But Yehuda Maccabee knew he was right and still fought the Greeks despite peer pressure not to. If there would be no rebellion against the Greeks, there would be no more Torah in Israel!

Ask the chanichim about the first game with the definitions. How did they feel when they were trying to convince everyone that their explanation was correct? How would they feel if they knew they were right, but people still would not listen to them? Would they give up and give in to peer pressure or would they continue to push the truth? Ask them if they have any examples of times when they felt like this in their own lives.

Now make the parallel to Mizrachi. (Mizrachi is basically the parent organization for Bnei Akiva). Ask the chanichim if all Jews accept the state of Israel? Who doesnt and why? Do all Jews want Torah to be part of Medinat Israel?

Tell the chanichim how before the State of Israel was founded, Mizrachi (Which Bnei Akiva is a part of) or the Religious Zionists, supported the State of Israel, but also wanted it to involve the Torah, even though many Jews disagreed with them. Some Jews were not religious and didnt want there to be any Torah in the State (like the Hellenists) and some Ultra-Orthodox Jews didnt think there should be a State of Israel before Moshiach comes. (For a response to this see: http://yesha.homestead.com/politics42.html) But despite people being against them, Mizrachi believed what they were doing was right, and maintained their opinion despite peer pressure, just like Yehuda Maccabee.

Bring up the Moo! game with the chanichim. Did anyone step up and say maybe we shouldnt play this game, its not going to be nice to that one chanich?? Why or why not? In life do we usually stop and think about whether what were doing is really correct, or if everyone is going along with it (like in Moo!), do we just go along with it too? Mizrachi was unique because they didnt go along with either side, but had their own opinion, the fusion of Medinat Israel al pi Torat Israel, that no one else believed in, but like Yehuda Maccabee, they stuck to what they thought was the truth and were not swayed by peer pressure.

Ask the chanichim if they feel ever peer pressure over the fact that they believe in Bnei Akiva and are Zionist, or maybe because they are religious and some of their friends are not. How can we as teenagers balance following what we believe is right and not being swayed by peer pressure?

Conclusion: Dont give into peer pressure! Be like Yehuda Maccabee and Mizrachi, and follow what you believe is right, even if your friends disagree.



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