Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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This is the place!
Goal: The chanichim should understand the concept of mesorah, and why there needed to be both the Mapah and the Shulchan Aruch, namely becaue different communities, or Ashkenazim and Sefardim, need to have halacha books that are geared towards their different customs and communities.
We will be focusing on R’ Yosef Karo and R’ Moshe Isserles (The Rama). Yosef Karo was living in Tzefat and he wanted to write a book which would lay out all the practical halachot, codified in one book. So that all halacha would be clear and set out, literally a Shulchan Aruch – a set table. For each halacha, he looked at the opinions of the
Trigger: Zoom Schwartz Mefigliano.
The kids sit in a circle. One kid starts. You tell him that he has the power. He can transfer this power by saying zoom and pointing his hands either person sitting next to him, then it will be their turn. So the kids go out the circle saying zoom and passing it on. When you say Schwartz though, and point to one kid sitting next to you, it is the other kid sitting on the opposite side of you’s turn. And when you say mefigliano and point to anyone not sitting next to you, it is their turn. Nimshal: The power is that power of mesorah, of halacha, where rabbis throughout the generations passed down halachot through their students. We today are going to talk about 2 of these rabbis.
Eidah Alef: For a simplier trigger you guys could do Hot Potato. Pass it around while you sing a song, and whoever its left with get a point, or loses a point. The same idea of passing on the mesorah. This game is classified as B.Y.O.P. (Bring Your Own Potato), preferably set aside before Shabbat to get around Muktzah issues. Or just bring a ball.
Game #1: 2 truths and a lie. Pick a kid, he tells 3 stories, 2 are true, one is a lie, and the kids vote on which one they think is a lie.
Nimshal: This is similar to how R’ Y. Karo looked at 3 opinions, of Rif/Rambam/Rosh, and picked whichever was voted for 2 vs 1.
Game #2: Broken Telephone Charades
We all know how to play because we play it every week. 3 kids leave the room. The rest of the kids decide on a skit for one kid to perform. One kid is called back in, watches it, and then performs it for the next kid, etc etc. The each kid says what they think they were doing.
Nimshal: Just as each kid in this game is building on the skit he saw performed for him, and adding stuff to it, changing it, adapting it, so too, the Ramah added on comments in the Shulchan Aruch to make it applicable to him, and other Ashkenazim.
Eidah Alef: You also might want to try playing broken telephone, if your kids will get into it, as it is the same idea.
Game #3: One madrich gets up and makes a series of statements. The kids who hold one way will run to one area, and the kids who hold another way will run to another area. You could pick landmarks, or just put down 2 shoes. You’ll say statements like: “Coke or Pepsi”, “how do you look at your nails in havdala (up or down)”, “put your watch or your right hand or left hand”….etc. The kids have to run to the area in which they agree and sit down.
The last kid to do so, is now “in the middle” (like “the rain fall on” game) and has to come up with the next statement. Keep going until there are about an even amount of kids on each side, and then end it and say these are now going to be 2 teams, Team Cracow, and Team Tzefat. Then have each team come up with an anthem, specific food they eat in their town, clothing they would wear in their town, and a town holiday.
Nimshal: We see that over many issues, lots of us have different ways to do things, based on where we are from, what school we go too, etc, so too the same halacha book would not be able to suit all of us, the same thing with Ashkenazim and sefaradim, they needed both the Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah’s commentary. This is seen also in how the different teams/towns had different songs, clothing, food. If you made a halacha that said you can’t eat dairy after milk, and one town’s official food was dairy, it would not work.
(A variation of this game is the game “agree-disagree”, where you say a statement and make a line of the ground, and the kids have to line up based on whether they agree or disagree, one side is mostly agree, the other is mostly disagree, and then you ask random kids on the line to state why they belive that or not).
Game #4: Red Rover
Once they are in their teams, have them play red rover. You have the kids hold hands, and they call someone over, if he breaks the chain, he takes a kid from that side back to his side, if he doesn’t break it, he joins that team.
Nimshal: When we are poskening halacha, sometimes we go by the Ramah, and sometimes by Shulchan Aruch. It’s a back and forth (shakla ve’tarya) of halachic discussion. So too in this game, sometimes one side has more people then the other, sometimes we go by the Ramah, and sometimes by Shulchan Aruch.
Wrap up: Shulchan Aruch and Ramah are important as part of the process of mesorah, handing halacha down through the generations. The Shulchan Aruch needed to have the commentary of the Ramah, so that it could apply to both sefardim and Ashkenazim, because they were such different communities that you could not have the same halacha book for both.