Ben Adam L'chavera - Emet
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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This is the place!
To teach about the importance of telling the truth
General Introduction: Welcome to the first snif sheets of the year. Every month we will pick a new Noseh, or broad topic, to address. Each week a different aspect of that topic will be dealt with. For example, the first Noseh of the year is Bein Adam L’Chavero, and the first topic is Emet V’Sheker.
This snif sheet is meant to act as a guide for you, the madrich. In every sheet, we will attempt to give some brief background material. It is important for you to read this so that you are familiar with the topic and are comfortable to teach it to your chanichim. (As a teacher, you are responsible to know more than just the basics you want to convey.) We will then include a variety of games, puzzles and stories for you to use during snif to teach the topic. Usually following each game we include discussion points that are raised by the game. This way, you play for 85% of the time, followed by a brief snippet of learning related to the game. This is the nature of “informal education,” and we feel it’s the most effective way to teach.
It is important to explain that these games are only suggestions. If at any time you do not feel like one of the games will be successful, or you have a better idea of how to get the message across, by all means use it and be creative. You will learn what your specific chanichim like and what they do not, and should adjust accordingly. (Feedback, by the way, is much appreciated and helps us make the sheets more useful.) As the year goes on, we hope you will become less and less reliant upon the sheets. All we ask is that you try to cover the important points raised in each snif, so that the chanichim get as much from it as possible.
At the top of the sheet, we also include a list of all the materials you will need for snif. This often includes things like a ball, or cut out cards. Many times these materials will need to be prepared before Shabbat. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with snif during the week, and to make sure you have whatever you need for that Shabbat.
Introduction: One of the qualities that is vital to maintaining society en large is the principle of Honesty. In Sanhedrin 64a, Chazal call truth “the seal of God.” On the other hand, the absence of truth is characteristic of wrongful actions. “Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle to fit them all.” The Rabbis regard false speech as a form of idolatry since it is disobedience Hashem, who is Emet. The games we will be playing today all involve some aspect of lying. We hope that during snif you will be able to initiate a conversation (Sicha) about the importance of telling the truth, and perhaps ask the chanichim why it is such an important trait. Highlight things that show that without truth society cannot function.
Game 1: Two truths and lie
Have the chanichim sit in a circle. Ask each one to think of three statements to say. Two of them must be true, and the third must be a lie. Go around the circle, and one by one, have each person say the three things in random order. Then take a vote as to which statement is not true. Every time a chanich correctly guesses, they register a point. After everyone goes, whoever scored the most points wins.
Discussion: Although this game is a little slow, it can also be used as an ice breaker, so that the kids can learn a bit about each other. For this reason, encourage them to make the statements about themselves. This is one of the reasons we are opening our first snif of the year with this game.
Game 2: Red Light, Green Light
The rules of this game are well known. Choose one person to be the caller. S/he goes to one side of the room while everyone else stays on the other side. The caller turns his or her back towards the chanichim and quickly says “Red Light, Green Light, one two three.” S/he then turns around. While the caller is backwards, all the other chanichim are free to move towards him or her. However, once the caller turns around, anyone s/he sees moving must go back to the other end. Whichever chanich tags the caller first becomes the new caller, and everyone else begins again.
Discussion: There are actually two aspects of Emet V’Sheker in this game. Firstly, the caller must be truthful about whether or not s/he saw someone moving. If s/he is not truthful, the game becomes unfair and unfun for everyone else involved. We often count on people to tell us the truth in the same way. Secondly, the chanichim are all trying to lie to the caller – they are trying to make it seem like they aren’t moving when really they are. Just as the chanichim in the game are often caught and must start again, so too when we lie it’s very easy to get caught, and if we do lie to people we lose their trust and must start from the beginning earning it back.
(There are several games that involve the same setup as Red Light, Green Light with different variations. Feel free to use any of them.)
Game 3: Paper Bag Dramatics
Divide the chanichim into two groups. Give each one a paper bag filled with random things. Each group must act out a skit using all the materials in their bag. Assign one to do a skit on “A nation where only truth is allowed,” while the other does “A nation where truth is never allowed.” Give them five minutes to prepare, and then have each group perform for the other. It is important to have one or two madrichim with each group to help keep them motivated. For a game like this, madrichim will have to take the lead to get them involved.
Discussion: Following the game, ask the chanichim which country they’d rather live in. While it would be possible to live normally in the nation with only truth (though certainly some impolite things would happen), it would be nearly impossible for a society to function without any truth.
At Mifkad: Because this is the first week of snif, we must leave plenty of time for mifkad, Bnei Akiva’s ceremony. Have the chanichim arrange themselves in a Chet (the Hebrew letter) and stand in the opening. Explain to them the commands you are giving.
Hamifkad na ya’avor l’noach, amod noach means they should stand with their feet shoulder length apart, and their hands behind their back.
Hamifkad na ya’avor l’dom, amod dom means they should stand with feet together, and their hands at their sides.
L’shirat Himnon HaTnua, Yad Achim, Hamifkad na ya’avor l’dom, amod dom means we are going to sing the anthem of our Movement, Yad Achim.
L’shirat Himnon HaMedina, Hatikva, Hamifkad na ya’avor l’dom, amod dom means we are going to sing the anthem of our State, Hatikva.
Livrachot, Imdu Dom means stand at attention for our Brachot:
Mi Anachnu? Bnei Akiva Who are we? Bnei Akiva
Me Chayeinu? Torah V’Avodah What is our life? Torah and work (Tell them we will explain this is a later snif).
U’ma Sismateinu? Am Yisrael B’Eretz Yisrael Al Pi Torat Yisrael What is our motto? The nation of
Hashem Imachem – Yivarechecha Hashem. A greeting found in tanach in two places, meaning “Hashem is with you”, with the response of “May Hashem bless you.”
P’turim means dismissed.
Mifkad is a great time to do something fun with the kids and be creative. It’s also the perfect time to summarize the things you’ve learnt that day. In addition, you can tell them that today’s snif had some simple games that they probably already knew, but that in snifim to come, the games will be more exciting and creative. Perhaps it is a good idea to teach them one line of Yad Achim each week, by translating it and discussing it a bit with them.
Riddle: One thing you could do at this week’s mifkad is ask the following riddle:
You’re walking down a path and come to a fork in the road. You don’t know which way to go. There are two people standing there, one of which only tells lies, while the other only tells truth. But you don’t know which is which. What one question could you ask to figure out where to go?
Answer: Ask either person what the other one would say, then go the opposite way. If you ask the truthful person, he will tell you what the liar would say, the wrong way. If you ask the liar, he would tell you what the truthful person would NOT say, the wrong way.
You can give whoever gets this right extra snack.
Some other things to remember in this, your first snif:
- It is crucial to always read the snif packets ahead of time.
- Never read stories right from the sheet. Instead, retell them in your own words. It’s always more boring to here a story being read, as opposed to a story being told.
- Be on time, waiting for the kids. Set up some chairs in a circle so that the kids know exactly where to sit.
- Get the feel for the room you’re in. If you’re working in a small room indoors, the dynamics of the area will be much different from a snif run outside. Learn to use your area.
- If you see a kid acting up or getting wild, give them a special job. Have them help you explain the next game, make them feel special, etc.
- Giving out candy often ensures that things will go well. It’s always good to have food.
- Dress in Blue and White
These are just some basic things I thought of off the top of my head that seemed more important. Hopefully we will have some intensive snif hadracha training soon to better address these issues and others.