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Teach about Jewish Leadership: Harav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, ZTL


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Goal: To introduce Rav Kook as a Jewish Leader and to highlight his ability to relate to all types of Jews.

Peulah:

Grades 1-3

This peulah is comprised of a few mini-peulot each of which should take between 10-20 minutes. You can run these mini-peulot one after another in the same group, or you can set up stations and have the chanichim rotate to a new station for each peulah. The advantage of the station method is that it tends to break things up and keeps the chanichim interested.

Mini-Peulah #1:

Ask one chanich/a to leave the room.

Give each other chanich/a one specific characteristic which they have to keep in mind when responding to the first chanich/as requests. Eg. They will only listen to the first chanich/a if s/he talks to them in Hebrew; if s/he says simon says; if s/he talks softly; loudly

Bring the first chanich/a back and have him/her try to get everyone in the circle to do something simple (i.e. stand up, walk over to the wall). The other chanichim will only respond if s/he uses the right technique.

Other chanichim or the madrich should give the first chanich/a hints until s/he figures each persons characteristic out.

Switch chanichim and start over if you have time/chanich interest!

Close with a short word on the need to understand every individuals specific characteristics and to be able to relate to each one in his or her own terms if you want to be their leader.

Mini-Peulah #2:

This peulah relates directly to Rav Kook. It is a short apocryphal story (probably not quite true) about the Rav. Use what is written here as an OUTLINE to tell your own story-Please do NOT read directly from this sheet.

Yerushalayim is filled with small shuls, many of which are referred to as shtiebels. These shuls are famous for their singing, their warmth and the special nature of their davening.

It was in front of one such shul that David and his friend Moshe decided to play soccer one Friday evening. Not having been raised in religious families, David and Moshe didnt even realize that there was something wrong with playing soccer on Shabbat. They certainly did not understand why it was wrong to play soccer in front of a synagogue.

As the congregants began to make their way into the shul one by one, they noticed the boys playing soccer outside and simply shook their heads, upset that the boys were playing soccer on Shabbat-and in front of a synagogue no less!!

These shul-goers werent quite sure how to approach the boys, they didnt know what to say or do or how to ask them to stop. To make matters worse, this was the Shabbat that the Rav HaRashi, the chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the State of Israel, Rav Kook, was coming to visit their shtiebel to give the Friday night derasha.

As the men were discussing what to do Rav Kook himself turned onto the street! Now the men were very nervous, they couldnt let the Rav see these boys playing soccer outside their shul on Shabbat!

Before the men could do anything, though, they noticed that Rav Kook was not walking up to the shul entrance. Instead, the Rav had turned off to the side and was walking towards Moshe and David, the two young soccer players.

The men were too far away to hear what Rav Kook said to the boys. All they saw was that the boys stopped playing soccer and walked awaywith Huge Smiles on their faces.

Rav Kook was able to relate to them and speak to them on their level in order to explain why it was wrong to play soccer in front of the shul. He explained this without making them feel bad about themselves and he made sure that they left the courtyard with smiles on their faces.

Mini-Peulah #3:

Now for another gameFreeze!

Bring two chanichim into the center of the circle and whisper a situation into their ears. (i.e. changing a lightbulb)

Have the two chanichim act out the situation in a pantomime (no words).

Call FREEZE and have the chanichim freeze and two other chanichim take over.

The second chanichim have to try to continue the scene in whatever direction they though it was going.

Repeat the Freeze switch once more.

Ask the third pair what scene they were acting out and what scene they though the second pair had been acting out.

Ask the second pair the same question.

Have the original pair reveal what was really going on.

Close with a short word about the need to realize that we dont always understand what others are trying to do and we must judge each person favorably though we dont understand what they are doing at a given time.

Grades 4-6

This peulah is comprised of a few mini-peulot each of which should take between 10-20 minutes. You can run these mini-peulot one after another in the same group, or you can set up stations and have the chanichim rotate to a new station for each peulah. The advantage of the station method is that it tends to break things up and keeps the chanichim interested.

Mini-Peulah #1:

Ask one chanich/a to leave the room.

Give each other chanich/a one specific characteristic which they have to keep in mind when responding to the first chanich/as requests. Eg. They will only listen to the first chanich/a if s/he talks to them in Hebrew; if s/he says simon says; if s/he talks softly; loudly

Bring the first chanich/a back and have him/her try to get everyone in the circle to do something simple (i.e. stand up, walk over to the wall). The other chanichim will only respond if s/he uses the right technique.

Other chanichim or the madrich should give the first chanich/a hints until s/he figures each persons characteristic out.

Switch chanichim and start over if you have time/chanich interest!

Close with a short word on the need to understand every individuals specific characteristics and to be able to relate to each one in his or her own terms if you want to be their leader.

Pass the picture around to your chanichim and ask if anyone knows who this is.

If they dont know who it is (Rav Kook), ask each chanich to give a 2 minute Biography of the personWho is he? Whats his job like? Whats his family like?

Explain that this is a picture of Rav Kook, a former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel and go over some of the following information with them:

[Taken from OU website]

Above all, Rav Kook pulsated with a sense of the Divine. And, he sought to reach those who had strayed.

He once quoted the rabbinic dictum that one should embrace with the right hand and rebuff with the left and commented that he was fully capable of rejecting, but since there were enough rejecters, he was fulfilling the role of embracer. On the other hand, he was never tolerant of desecration of Torah, as will be clear to any objective student of his life and works.

Though keenly aware of the huge numbers of non-observant Jews, he had a vision of the repentance of the nation. His concept of repentance envisioned in addition to the repentance of the individual, a repentance of the nation as a whole; a repentance which would be joyous and healing.

He refused to reject Jews as long as they identified themselves as Jews. In a noteworthy exchange with his great friend, admirer, and opponent, Rabbi Yaakov David Willowski, Rav Kook explained the two components of a Jew: his essential nature - the pintele yid, and the path he had chosen in exercising free will. Even if the second element was weak, as long as the first was not repudiated, there was still hope.

He called for and envisioned a spiritual renaissance where "the ancient would be renewed and the new would be sanctified."

His vision of repentance disdained fear and apprehension and looked forward to "the poet of Teshuva, who would be the poet of life, the poet of renewal and the poet of the national soul waiting to be redeemed."

Perhaps he was that poet.

Rav Kook's printed works to date are in excess of 30 volumes with many works still in manuscript. There are a number of translations into English of a small fraction of his works.

-M.G.

Mini-Peulah #3:

Now for another gameFreeze!

Bring two chanichim into the center of the circle and whisper a situation into their ears. (i.e. changing a lightbulb)

Have the two chanichim act out the situation in a pantomime (no words).

Call FREEZE and have the chanichim freeze and two other chanichim take over.

The second chanichim have to try to continue the scene in whatever direction they though it was going.

Repeat the Freeze switch once more.

Ask the third pair what scene they were acting out and what scene they though the second pair had been acting out.

Ask the second pair the same question.

Have the original pair reveal what was really going on.

Close with a short word about the need to realize that we dont always understand what others are trying to do and we must judge each person favorably though we dont understand what they are doing at a given time.

Grades 7-8

Pass the picture around to your chanichim and ask if anyone knows who this is.

If they dont know who it is (Rav Kook), ask each chanich to give a 2 minute Biography of the personWho is he? Whats his job like? Whats his family like?

Ask them why they have come up with these answers. What can you really learn about someone from a picture?

Once you have given everyone a chance to answer, its time to reveal the truth about this picture:

[Taken from OU website]

Above all, Rav Kook pulsated with a sense of the Divine. And, he sought to reach those who had strayed.

He once quoted the rabbinic dictum that one should embrace with the right hand and rebuff with the left and commented that he was fully capable of rejecting, but since there were enough rejecters, he was fulfilling the role of embracer. On the other hand, he was never tolerant of desecration of Torah, as will be clear to any objective student of his life and works.

Though keenly aware of the huge numbers of non-observant Jews, he had a vision of the repentance of the nation. His concept of repentance envisioned in addition to the repentance of the individual, a repentance of the nation as a whole; a repentance which would be joyous and healing.

He refused to reject Jews as long as they identified themselves as Jews. In a noteworthy exchange with his great friend, admirer, and opponent, Rabbi Yaakov David Willowski, Rav Kook explained the two components of a Jew: his essential nature - the pintele yid, and the path he had chosen in exercising free will. Even if the second element was weak, as long as the first was not repudiated, there was still hope.

He called for and envisioned a spiritual renaissance where "the ancient would be renewed and the new would be sanctified."

His vision of repentance disdained fear and apprehension and looked forward to "the poet of Teshuva, who would be the poet of life, the poet of renewal and the poet of the national soul waiting to be redeemed."

Perhaps he was that poet.

Rav Kook's printed works to date are in excess of 30 volumes with many works still in manuscript. There are a number of translations into English of a small fraction of his works.

-M.G.

Sicha:

The Rabbinic dictum mentioned above is based on a passuk from Shir HaShirim:
Smolo tachat lroshi, Vyimino techabkeini, His left hand is under my head (rebuking me) and his right hand caresses me. This passuk is used by the Rabbis as a source for their dictum that the left hand, the weaker hand, should rebuke while the stronger right hand should bring others closer to us.

Why do we need a left hand to rebuke?

Why do we need a right hand to be nice?

Why do you think the nice hand is supposed to be stronger?

What can we learn from this in terms of how we are supposed to act towards other people?

How can you make this a practical part of your life?


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