Brother Where Art Thou? - àçé, àéôä àúä?
Group Size: 10-18
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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Topic: Following the themes of brotherhood in the parshot of Bereshit.
Goal: To have the chanichim think about their roles as siblings, and as siblings with all of Am Yisrael.
In the following peula there are two games and a story. Use any and all combinations to get the conversation flowing. You probably have a good idea how many siblings your chanichim have, so cater to that.
Game 1: Headbands- with a twist
Two people get headbands, to wear on their heads.
- Don’t let them see each other’s headbands!
- The two people get the following instructions: you are famous pair of siblings. You may ask the audience general questions (yes/no) (e.g. are we still alive?) or questions about how you get along with each other (e.g. do we throw things at each other?)
- When you guess who you are, you win and the next pair comes up.
Prepare the headbands before Shabbat! If you don’t just send the pair out the room and then tell the group who they are.
Examples of pairs: Yaakov and Eisav, Cain and Hevel, Leah and Rachel, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Serena and Venus Williams, Moshe and Aharon.
Now ask the chanichim about the characters they just were. Which siblings were nice to each other, which were not? What nice things to do some of the siblings do for each other? What mean things? Talk about what makes a good sister or brother.
Game 2: The Perfect Sister/Brother
Prepare blue and red cards before Shabbat with short sentences on them. The game is as follows: You have been given the opportunity to trade in your brother/sister and get anew one who is perfect in every way.
Split the chanichim into 2 or 3 teams.
Ask the teams trivia questions about the parsha, movies, whatever you want. Every time they get one right you let them choose one of the blue cards. Every time they get one wrong, you give them one of the red cards.
Lets you play with their presents
Doesn’t tell on you
Plays with you when you’re bored
Remembers your birthday
Does your chores
Is really cool
Makes you laugh
Makes a mess in your room
Borrows stuff and breaks it
Treats you like a baby
Acts like a baby
When you decide the game is over, each team has to try and convince the other team why they have won, e.g. “Our new sister may be annoying and messy, but she always plays with us and never forgets our birthday”. Let them debate what the most important attributes in a sibling are. Now ask them to take a good look at themselves and evaluate what they are like as siblings.
Leo lived in a small village in Russia with his mother and father, little brothers and sisters. Life in the village was very simple. Leo’s father worked and a tailor and the rest of the family watched the chickens and geese that lived in the little coop on the side of their small hut. There were only thirty families in the village and everyone lived in small crowded huts just like Leo’s family. In the summer after doing their chores, all the children of the village would play outside until late at night, but in the winter they hardly left the house. Russian winters were cold and bitter. The snow fell up to your knees, the wind stung your face, and you tried to spend as much time indoors as possible.
But one winter, tragedy struck when the village was struck by a plague. One by one, children and adults became sick and could not get out of bed. The village doctor said that there was medicine that could cure everyone, but he didn’t have it in the village. The doctor said that he would travel to the big city to get the medicine, but the people of the village begged him not to, so he would stay and take care of them. “If you leave, we will all die before you get back with the medicine!” No one knew what to do. That night, Leo came to talk to the doctor. “Send me!” he said. “I am young and healthy and don’t have a family to take care of”. The doctor thought it was a good idea. He wrote out a prescription, and told Leo how to get to the city and where to go when he got there. Leo went home to pack his bag.
At home, Leo’s little brother saw him packing his bag, and starting packing a bag is his own. Annoyed, Leo asked Yosef what he was doing,
“I’m getting ready to go to the city with you, to get the medicine,” said Yosef.
“what do you mean?” said Leo. “Who told you where I was going? Who said you could come? You know it’s a three day journey into the city. Are you able to walk that far in the snow?” Yosef didn’t answer and just kept on packing. Finally Leo said: “Okay come with me. It will be nice to have the company.”
Leo and Yosef’s father hardly noticed that they were leaving. He was too busy fussing over their mother, who was sick in bed. He blessed them, thanked them and sent them on their way. The boys walked and walked, and in three days they reached the city. They were freezing and their legs ached, but as soon as they got the medicine they turned around to head back to the village.
On the first day of walking back, there was a huge snowstorm; the boys had to hold hands to stay together because they couldn’t even see each other through the snow. All of a sudden Leo screamed and fell down. He had tripped on a log hidden by the snow. His leg was twisted and he could not walk.
“Listen Yosef,” he said. “You must go on to the village and bring them the medicine. They need it right away. Leave me here, and when you get to the village you can send someone to get me.”
“No,” was Yosef’s firm reply. “I can’t leave you here. You can’t walk and if you remain here in the snow for 4 days you will die.”
“So how will we get the medicine to the village?
“You will carry the medicine”
“But I can’t walk…”
“And I will carry you.”
And Yosef lifted his brother onto his back and began to walk. And two days later, Yosef walked into the village with Leo on his back, holding the medicine in his arms. The doctor sent both boys to bed and used the medicine to cure the people of the village. Afterwards he saw to Leo’s broken leg. The village was saved and both boys were heroes.
The next summer, when the people of the village were once again outside all day together, people used to ask Yosef about his amazing trip with his brother.
“How did you do it?” they would ask. “Wasn’t Leo heavy to carry for two whole days?”
“Heavy?” Yosef would reply. “He’s not heavy. He’s my brother”.