The Zionist Rainbow -

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Resource Type: Shiur in: English
Age: 12-18
Group Size: 2-100
Estimated Time: 60 minutes

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Resource Goal
  • To familiarise chanichim with the Torah resposibility for caring for the land
  • To familiarise tha chanichim with the activities of the JNF, The Jewish Agency and the State of Israel with nature conservation 

Resource Contents

 The Zionist Rainbow

Green - planting trees in the Land of Israel

1.     The Mitzva of planting:

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Vayikra 19:23-25 | And you shall come to the Land, and plant trees which bear fruit… and in the fifth year, eat the fruits of your trees, add the fruits to your crop. I am Hashem your Gd.

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Vayikra Raba, Parshat Kedoshim | From the beginning of the covenant of creation G-d only began with planting, as it says: “and G-D planted a garden in Eden” (Bereshit 2:8) So you too, when you enter the Land of Israel, should first only occupy yourselves with planting.

        I.            What is the first commandment when the nation enters the land?

      II.            In your opinion, why should we plant when we enter Israel? What does planting achieve? Why must planting be the first thing we do? How much time does it take from planting until we can enjoy the fruit?

    III.            When we plant in the Land of Israel, it is compared to G-d planting in the Garden of Eden. That signifies the importance of this Mitzva, and turns man into G-d’s partner in creation.


2.     Actions performed for others

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Midrash Tanchuma Perek 19: Siman 8:6 | It is told that the King Adrianus was on his way to war, to fight off a state which had rebelled against him, when he came across an old man planting fig trees. Adrianus said to him: “Old man, you stand here slaving away for others!” And the old man replied: “Your majesty, I am planting. If I am lucky enough to eat from my own fruits, so it shall be. And if I am not, my son will enjoy these fruits.” After three years Adrianus returned from war, and again he came across the old man. This time, he was filling offering baskets with big, ripe figs. He came close to Adrianus and said: “Majesty, please accept these figs. I am the old man you came across years ago, and you asked me why I worked for others. Now, you are here, and you may be the other who tastes from my fruit!” And Adrianus said to his servant: “Take the old man’s baskets, and return them to him filled with gold.” And so it was done.




        I.            In this Midrash, we hear about a man who does something for someone else, and not for himself. When do we act like this in our day to day life?


3.     A Sustained State

The concept of “Green Zones” is great. They act as “green lungs” in cities- their plants take in the carbon dioxide that is expelled from automobiles, and release oxygen into the air. This is how the Green Zones clean the city air, similar to the way our lungs filter the polluted air we breathe into our bodies. The Green Zones allow rain water to seep into the ground- as opposed to the built up areas, covered in asphalt and cement, where water cannot pass through them. The Green Territories are saving our environment!


        I.            How often do we think about survival, and put those thoughts into action?

      II.            Is every one of us personally responsible for making sure the earth continues to flourish?


4.     Responsibility towards the Jewish people

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The Scroll of Planting | Shalom Karniel HY”D

…at the time that the world is full of rivers of blood that flow like water, belonging to our tortured brothers, we came here to build and plant deep roots into the hills of Judea, because with these plants comes a new future, a new redemption for our people and our souls. We were uprooted in the diaspora, and this was a terrible ailment to our people spread across the world. We need new roots, we need a strong hold onto our homeland- this is what we are now doing.

These trees we are planting here today will stand as a symbol, a symbol to our people as the pioneers of this earth- “because a man is of the field”. These deep roots will remind us that we must stick to this Land- build it up, plant and work in it. And the high branches- the will lift us high, reminding us always to strive to be whole. That was the way of our forefathers, and this is our way as well, Pioneers guided by Torah and Avodah…

        I.            Are we responsible for our past generations? Must we do something to remember?

      II.            How do we succeed in creating the next link in the chain which is our history?


Blue the source of water

1.     The importance of the Land of Israel

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Dvarim 11:10- 12 | Because the Land you come to capture is not like the Land of Egypt, which you have left, where you would plant your seeds and water them by foot as you would a garden*: the Land to which you are going is a Land of hills and mountains, and you shall drink from the rain of the sky.

*”water them by foot”- the main source of water in Egypt is the Nile river, from which the people would draw water for all necessary needs, including watering gardens.

        I.            What is the difference between the method of watering plants in Egypt and in Israel?

      II.            When water is not available, what should we do?

    III.            Why did G-D lead us to the Promised Land, to a place where there is a desert and not enough water?


2.     Asking for water


From Pesach until the 7th of Chashvan (spring and summer) we add to our prayers:

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Bless us G-D for this year, and bless all of its produce. Give a blessing to the earth and fill us with its goodness and bless our year as you have the good years.

From the 7th of Cheshvan until Pesach we say:

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Bless us G-D for this year, and bless all of its produce. Give dew and rain plentifully on the ground and fill us with its goodness and bless our year as you have the good years.

        I.            Why is the prayer different in the summer and in the winter?




3.     Taking action for everyone

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Mishna Taanit 3:8 | A story is told of Choni the Me’agel (roofer), who prayed that it would rain. He prayed, yet it did not rain. What did he do? He dug a hole and stood in it. He said, “G-D, your children turn to me, as I am so close to you. I swear by your name that I will not move from this place until you pity your children and make it rain.” It began to drizzle and he said: “Not like this kind of rain, but hard rain that will fill all of the pits and wells.” It began to pour. And he said: “Not this kind of rain, but blessed rain, given by choice.” And it rained steadily until the people of Israel left Jerusalem and came to the temple mount. They said to him: “As you prayed for the rain to start, pray for it now to stop.” Shimon Ben Shatach said to him, “If you were just Choni, I would banish you from society. But I cannot, for you are as a son before G-D, and he treats you as a father would treat a son”.


        I.            Why is Choni asked to make it rain?  

      II.            What method does Choni use with G-D to make it rain?

    III.            Why did the people of Israel ascend from Jerusalem to the temple mount?

    IV.            Why was Choni asked to pray for the rain to stop?

      V.            Choni possessed special strength to make it rain. Shimon Ben Shatach saw Choni as rude for speaking to G-D as he did. What do you think? Is Ben Shatach right about Choni?


4.     JNF productivity for all

The water economy of Israel is first and foremost affected by the fact that most of the Land in our state is located on the borders of desert.

The UN has declared that in Israel there is a severe water problem. The JNF sees the importance of developing farming in the land, not only for the sake of farming, but also for the sake of nature.

JNF solutions for the water problem:

1.       The development of manmade lakes began in the 1990s in the Bet She’an valley. This activity was significant because it was a way to catch water and save it. Without the intervention of JNF, these waters would be lost. This water is caught in the reservoirs, let to seep into the ground and then pumped up in the summer. Today, the JNF reservoirs are a main source of sweet water for farming.

2.       Rehabilitating Israel’s rivers and nature depends on water- a classic example would be the Hula valley. This way, the water that comes by pipe is already clean.


        I.            In the past JNF’s role was the purchasing of land and the planting of trees. Should they be getting involved in dealing with water?

      II.            What can a single person give to the struggle for water in Israel?

    III.            Is the saving of water a value that we as a youth movement should prioritise? Why?


Brown Aliya and settlement

1.     Property rights

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Bereshit 23:8-19 | And he spoke with them, saying: 'If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession of a burying-place…'Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee; bury thy dead….And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.… And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan.

        I.            Why did Abraham insisted on buying with money the tomb in Machpelah?

      II.            What does the tomb of the Machpelah symbolize today?


2.     A national assignment


Ben Gurion, from his speech “The Meaning of the Negev”, January 17th, 1955:


“It is in the Negev that the nation of Israel and its state will be tested. Only with the effort put out by a giving nation and a state can we build here, can we grow from this vast desert. This effort will determine the fate of the state of Israel, as well as the status of our nation in the human race.”









    III.            What does Ben Guryon demand from everyone?

    IV.            In our day, can his dream possibly come true?





3.     JNF activty for everyone

The role of JNF

JNF’s role in the past was to buy plots in the land of Israel so as to create new areas for Jewish settlements. When the state was born, an agreement was made with the JNF, for the state to manage the land, while JNF would continue to represent the Jewish Nation.

Since the founding of the State the JNF acts, together with the Jewish Agency, as one of the bodies responsible for settlement in the State of Israel. A law was made in the Knesset in 1953, stating the aims of the JNF are to purchase land and settle Jews.

        I.            What do you think should be the role of the JNF in this century?

      II.            Are land purchases today equivalent to contemporary Zionism?


4.     The Vision of the Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee

Vision of the Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee

The Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee, headed by Minister Silvan Shalom, was established in January 2005 by the decision of the Israeli government in order to promote and develop the Negev and Galilee, and place them as top priorities of the State of Israel. Actually as the first establishment of this office, the Israeli government committed to bring the Negev and the Galilee to growth and prosperity by utilising the existing possibilities, since it is already clear: Israel's future lies in the development of these regions

The Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee began building a solid foundation for employment and industry, housing and settlement, education and society in the Negev and the Galilee while making turns generating projects.

        I.            The Ministry of Development of the Negev and Galilee is a government ministry and they even have a Minister. Why do we need so much investment in specific region?

      II.            How a simple man can affect these areas?

Resource Comments

 environment, nature, conservation, JNF

Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Bein Adam l'Chavero > Social Justice

» All > Bnei Akiva > Ideology

» All > Eretz Yisrael > Settling The Land

» All > Jewish Holidays > Tu BiShvat

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