Bnei Akiva Intro
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Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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Introduce the chanichim to Bnei Akiva –what the tnua is, what it stands for, etc. Through a combination of different kinds of games, we will acquaint the chanichim with various important aspects of Bnei Akiva, which will help them understand more of what we’re all about and help them to become better chaverim in our tnua. There are many peulot here, so it is possible to pick and choose which will be best, or even cover this material in two weeks.
Attached sheets with HaTikva
Various words cut up into sheets as described.
Topic: Bnei Akiva
Noseh: Bnei Akiva
Written By: Yitz and Debbie Feigenbaum
Goals: Introduce the chanichim to Bnei Akiva –what the tnua is, what it stands for, etc. Through a combination of different kinds of games, we will acquaint the chanichim with various important aspects of Bnei Akiva, which will help them understand more of what we’re all about and help them to become better chaverim in our tnua. There are many peulot here, so it is possible to pick and choose which will be best, or even cover this material in two weeks.
1 What is Bnei Akiva?
2 Matchmaker, Matchmaker
3 Yad Achim
5 The Semel
Materials: Attached sheets with HaTikva, Yad Achim, and various words cut up into sheets as described.
Note: This peula requires preparation before Shabbat.
Peula 1: What is Bnei Akiva?
Begin by asking the chanichim what they think Bnei Akiva is. Their responses may include such things as: sniff, tochniot, Sunday trips,
This is where you, the madrich, must spend a little time explaining basically the following (you can also do this in question-an-answer format, seeing how much the kids know about each item; key words are underlined):
Bnei Akiva is a Religious Zionist Youth Movement (tnua). This means that we believe that we should make Aliya, which means live in
Bnei Akiva is a worldwide movement. In
This has been a very basic introduction to Bnei Akiva. Throughout the rest of this sniff and the rest of the year, the chanichim will learn more about what Bnei Akiva is all about.
Peula 2: Matchmaker, Matchmaker
On the following pages are lists of some common words and symbols related to Bnei Akiva, along with their definitions (or symbolism). Cut the words/symbols and definitions out separately before Shabbat. At sniff, hand either a word or a definition to each chanich. Give the chanichim a time limit (1-2 minutes) to find their partner (i.e., match the words and the definitions). Once they have found their match, the chanichim should sit next to each other around the circle. When everyone has finished, or when time is called, go over the matches. In this way, the chanichim can learn the words and symbols in a fun way.
If you have more slips of paper than you have chanichim (which is very likely), play the game in 2 or 3 rounds, making sure that you have both the word (or symbol) and its definition being played in each round, so you don’t end up with unpaired words or definitions. Also, if you have an odd number of chanichim, give one chanich 2 slips of paper (make sure they’re not a match), and have that chanich sit between his two matches.
Alternatively, you can hand out one word to each chanich, pick one chanich to stand in the middle, and take away his seat. Tell the chanichim about Bnei Akiva, using two or more of the words at a time. (Ex: “Bnei Akiva is a worldwide movement or tnua. Each member is called a chaver, who pays mas to belong.”) When you mention their words those chanichim have to switch places while the chanich in the middle tries to grab one of the seats. For younger kvutzot, make sure you also tell them, or have tell/read you, the definitions of each term. For Older kvutzot, cut out the words and definitions separately. Ask questions and the correct “word” and its “definition” must switch places.
Peula 3: Yad Achim
Yad Achim is Bnei Akiva’s anthem. We sing it at mifkad at Bnei Akiva gatherings. Since we sing Yad Achim every Shabbat at mifkad after sniff, we would like to familiarize the chanichim with the words to this song, and the meaning of these words.
On the following pages are the words to Yad Achim, split up line by line, with the English translation below each line. Cut up the lines separately before Shabbat (make sure to leave the English translation attached to each line)!! At sniff, give a line to each chanich. Give the chanichim a time limit (1 minute or so) to arrange themselves in order of the song. They should sit around the circle in order. When time is up, have the first chanich read aloud his line in Hebrew, and go in order around the circle. Then have the chanichim read the words in English (in order), so that they understand the meaning of the song. If they’ve messed up the order, have them try to fix themselves (with your help, of course.)
If you have fewer than 12 chanichim, give some chanichim more than one line. In this case, a chanich’s extra line may not be in the correct order, but s/he should read it in the proper place. If you have more than 12 chanichim, give one line to 2 people and have them work together.
It is a good idea to point out that the author of Yad Achim was Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Neriya, a former chaver of Bnei Akiva in Israel who was a Rosh Yeshiva for many years.
Peula 4: HaTikva
As you know, HaTikva is the anthem of Medinat Yisrael. We also sing HaTikva at mifkad. Most of the chanichim should know the words to HaTikva, but not all of them know the translation.
Play the same game as above, but with the words provided to HaTikva. There are only 8 lines in HaTikva, so you may have to double up some chanichim if you have a larger kvutza. Or, you may choose to play with both the words to Yad Achim and HaTikva simultaneously, to make it even more exciting!
The author of HaTikva was Naftali Imber. Although his personality was not one which can be pointed to with pride, it is good for the madrich to know who he was. Imber was born in Zlotov, Galicia in 1856 and as a young boy attended the local yeshiva where he was proficient in Zonar, Tanach, and Talmud. As a young man he loved to write poetry and used to send his material to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria for which he received money in return. At the age of 18 he left his native city never to return and embarked on a life of wandering. At the age of 21, he found himself in Romania, where it is said he composed HaTikva in 1880. From there he traveled to Israel, saw the Biluim and became inspired with their valor and courage. Unable to remain in one place, he picked himself up and went to London where he remained for 20 years until his death. While there he was said to have received a professorship from the US Government and was granted a fellowship for wok on Hebrew mythology. He died a lonely man and a confirmed alcoholic.
Peula 5: The Semel
Another quick game you can play with your kids involves the Semel Bnei Akiva, our emblem. Before Shabbat cut out the pieces of the Semel Puzzle. Make two copies and divide your kvutza into two groups. Have them race to put the puzzle together. Then discuss with them what the items in the semel represent. The Scythe and Pitchfork represent labor, Avoda. The Olive Leaves are a symbol for us to be content with the blessings of Hashem. The Sheaves of Wheat symbolize agriculture, and the Ten Commandments symbolize the Torah. Taf and Ayin stand for Torah v’Avodah, Bnei Akiva’s motto. Finally, the ribbon with the words “Bnei Akiva” is at the bottom, tying everything together.
If you’re teaching the chanichim about the semel on a weekday, you can also hand out paper and crayons and ask them to design their own semel for Bnei Akiva. Then you can discuss the different things they included.
Peula 6: The Bracha
Tell the following story:
Once a number of important businessmen were traveling on a ship and they had with them a lot of expensive goods. They were a happy group of men, caring little about the language they used and most of the day they would spend playing cards on deck, smoking cigars and talking idle gossip.
On the same ship a very poor but learned Jewish man was also traveling. He spent his time studying torah, praying and trying to make cordial friendship with the other passengers. Indeed, the latter was very difficult, for the businessmen had no use for him nor for his learning. They would despise him and mock him, saying that perhaps if he would stop learning so much, he could make some money and not have to walk around in rags.
It happened that after four days in the ocean the ship was seized by pirates. The pirates confiscated all the goods and took the passengers to be sold on the slave market near by. All the big businessmen wept bitterly and were frantic. Everything they owned was now lost and they were to become slaves. The agony was too great. One of the men, while still on boat, jumped overboard, sinking into the depths of the sea. Another, seizing a knife, plunged it into his fat belly. The rest now wailed and bemoaned as their turn to be sold was coming shortly. Only the learned, pious, poor Jew was quiet and content. “There was little I can lose as far as possessions go,” he thought to himself, “while my Torah will be with me always.”
Meanwhile, the Jews of the town had heard that among the slaves there was also a very learned Jew up for sale. They immediately came to the slave market and bought him to fulfill the mitzvah of freeing a Jew from slavery. Upon investigation they saw that this man’s knowledge and personality was great and therefore they appointed him Dayan of the community, giving him not only a livelihood but also an opportunity to continue the learning of Torah.
Ask the chanichim: What were the main differences in character between the poor Jew and the businessmen? How did they react after the coming of the pirates? Why was the Jew quiet and content with his fate?
The answer is that he had Emunah (faith) in Hashem and his destiny. One indication of man’s faith in Hashem has been formulated in a special halacha: “A man should always greet his fellow man using the name of Hashem. The greeter should say ‘Hashem Imcha’ and the one being greeted should respond “Yevarechacha Hashem.” The source for this greeting is in Shoftim 6:12 and Rut 2:4. This is also comparable to saying “Baruch Hashem” or “Im Yirtze Hashem.” In fact, in Yad Achim we say “B’Ezrat Hashem.”
Finally, the fact that the Jews of the town were able to recognize the poor Jew by the way he behaved was the very reason they were able to save him. By greeting someone in such a way, you immediately identify you as a Torah Jew, and as a Bnei Akivanik.
Therefore, at the end of mifkad we also have this bracha. The madrich says “Hashem Imachem” and the chanichim respond “Yevarechecha Hashem.”
Bnei Akiva Region
Member of Bnei Akiva
Leader of a Kvutza
Member of a Kvutza
Special Name given to each High School grade
Immigrating to Israel
Bnei Akiva Camp
Bnei Akiva’s logo
Stand at Attention
Stand at Ease
Bnei Akiva’s Ceremony