Shmah Yisroel - ùîò éùøàì
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Estimated Time: 30 minutes
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The chanichim should understand some of the basic themes touched upon in the Shmah.
By Rachel Koller and Sarah Gordon
Theme: The Shmah
Goal: The chanichim should understand some of the basic themes touched upon in the Shmah.
Age Group: Grades 1-6
Suitable for Shabbat
Materials: Prepared sentences, blind folds
Game #1: Make a list of different sentences before Shabbat. (It could be movie titles, to lines like “Bnei Akiva is really cool”, or “I really like chulent” or the first line of Yad Achim, or “Am Israel, B’Eretz Israel Al Pi Torat Israel”…)
Then divide the chanichim up into 2 teams. The game runs a little like charades. One kid is picked from each team, and he has to fill his mouth with Marshmellow Fluff and then read the sentence to his team and whichever team understands their person first and guesses correctly wins.
The point is, when your mouth is full of marshmellow fluff you garble your words and no-one can understand what you’re saying. For people to understand what you say you need to speak clearly. Kal V’Chomer with Shmah Israel when you’re talking to G-d.
There are many halachot about how we have to be extremely careful with how we pronounce each word of Shmah, and don’t slur the words, and how we pronounce “tizzceru”, for example.
Game #2: Play the rain game with the chanichim. Everyone sits in a circle and one Madrich goes around the circle and as he passes every chanich they start to make the noise or motion he is making. It starts off with drumming your feet and then drumming your hands on your knees, and then clapping, then snapping your fingers... you can play around with the sounds. It ends up sounding like rain (it’s cool).
The message is hear that a main theme in the Shmah is that of rain, and also of Schar and Onesh, reward and punishment. When we are good, Hashem gives us rain, when we are bad, there is no rain. This is especially important in Israel where rain is so crucial. This also shows that we have a special relationship with G-d, like that of a parent and child, that we have to behave in order to get rain.
Game #3: Divide all the chanichim up into pairs. One kid in each pair gets blindfolded. Now each kid that is not blindfolded has to lead his partner (by talking to him, directing him, not touching him) to a certain location.
The message is hear that the kid who was blindfolded had to totally trust the other kid. This is our relationship with Hashem as a nation, bitachon is a definite theme in Shmah and it is shown also perhaps in how we cover our eyes when we say the 1st line.
Conclusion: Shmah has to be said clearly with kavana, and the main themes in Shmah (reward and punishment with rain, and bitachon) show a lot about our relationship as an Am (nation) with Hashem.