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Goals: To teach chanichim

1. About the importance of water in life,

2. Why Hashem chose a land wiyout a steady water supply

3. The connection of water and Succot.

By: Josh Skarf

Noseh:Rain and Succot

Chevraya: Aleph, Bet, Zach

Materials: ALEPH: Straws, bowls, cups, water, 6 cheap plastic water guns ZaCH/BET: Photocopied sources, Candy, city cards,

Goals: To teach chanichim

1. About the importance of water in life,

2. Why Hashem chose a land wiyout a steady water supply

3. The connection of water and Succot.


Since the beginning of civilization water has played a large role in determining where settlements can occur. Bereshit describes how Gan Eden was surrounded by four rivers. Mesopotamia, the Cradle of Civilization and the original home of Avraham, is bounded by the Tigris and Euphrates. Early man did not have the means to transport water over great distances, so all settlements needed a regular supply of water nearby. Eventually methods were developed to move water from rivers and lakes to areas where it was lacking: irrigation, aqueducts, and modern plumbing systems.

In general, the Middle East is an arid area. Water resources tend to be scarce. Other than Mesopotamia, Turkey is the only country in the area with a sufficient water supply. The lack of water is sometimes hard to comprehend to people from North America, where there is a great abundance of water. Someone in Michigan or Ontario, areas where you can hardly drive for 20 miles wiyout hitting a freshwater body, might have trouble with this concept. However, it is specifically in the Middle East, an area where this most vital of all human needs is not readily available, that God choose to plant Am Yisrael. Even more, the capital Yerushalayim also lacks a good source of water. Chezkiyahu had a water tunnel built when Yerushalayim was coming under siege specifically for this reason there was no source of water in the city.

The Torah (Devarim Perek 11, Pesukim 10-12) tells us that the reason God chose Eretz Yisrael for the Jews was specifically due to the lack of water. God wanted us to have a personal relationship with Him, and to this end He wanted us to have to ask Him daily for things we need. By not having a steady supply of water, we are forced to turn to God and ask Him to provide for us. By doing so, we help create a relationship with Him. We see that the two main things promised to Am Yisrael if they follow the mitzvot are peace and plentiful water. The Rishonim argue which of these is primary, and according to many opinions peace can only happen once there is enough water and there is no reason for fights over water to continue. Clearly water plays a very important role not only in the survival of civilization but also in peaceful living.

In modern day Israel the same concerns still exist. One of the first major water projects undertaken was the National Water Carrier, which allowed water from the Kineret to be brought down to the Negev. One of the main concerns and sticking points of the peace process is division of water resources, primarily the aquifers and access to the Kineret. Water continues to play a huge role in our existence, and the importance of having plentiful rain still exists and continues to bring us close to God.


Chevraya Aleph: Grades 1-6

Game 1: National Water Carrier

This game is a relay race which can get a little wet. Its probably a good idea not to play this inside an actual Beit Knesset, but rather outside in the hall or in a place wiyout carpeting. Divide the chanichim into two teams. Each team member gets a drinking straw and has a number of cups filled with water on one side of the room. On the other side, each team is designated a bowl. One at a time, a member of each team must suck up water into his straw, run across the room, and empty the straw into the bowl. Then he must return to the other side and tag the next teammate, who does the same. First team to fill up their bowl wins.


Water is the most important resource in the world every person must drink about 2 liters of water a day to be healthy. Ask chanichim what they need water for (washing, cleaning, netilat yadaim, cooking, brushing teeth, drinking, perhaps one day running your car) We take our water very seriously just ask someone who didnt have water during the great blackout of 03 how it felt. Water is also one of the major problems in Israel. We dont have very much of it, and what we do have is mostly located in the Galil in the Kineret. To deal with this problem, Israel decided in 1953 to build the National Water Carrier, a system designed to pump water from the Kineret to places in Israel with less water. This is what we just reenacted by carrying water from an area with water to one wiyout. The NWC is a little cleaner, yough, and a little longer- 130 kilometers, or 81 miles, long! Despite Israels efforts to manage its water, we still often end up wiyout enough. What we really need in Israel is enough rain to suffice, which unfortunately we dont always get.

Game 2: Blindfold Obstacle Course

Choose one chanich to negotiate an obstacle course. Blindfold him and start him on one side of the room. Give the other chanichim a minute to set up obstacles in the middle of the room. These obstacles could be chairs, people, shoes, etc. For the first rounds, have the chanichim only place one or two obstacles, and nothing that the blindfolded person could get hurt with. Instruct the blindfold chanich that he must get from one side of the room to the other hitting as few obstacles as possible. Let one or two chanichim do the obstacle course in this way. Then, blindfold someone and let the chanichim put more obstacles in the way. But this time, the blindfolded person can ask as many yes or no questions as he likes. So, for example, he can ask if he is able to take 5 steps forward. The chanichim yell out the answers depending on whether it is possible or not. (Occasionally there will be different answers, in which case the chanich must judge what to do). It is possible that the chanich could ask before every single step, but this would take longer. The other chanichim are only allowed to respond to questions the one chanich asks, can only say yes or no, and cannot volunteer information. See who can get through the obstacle course fastest, and with hitting the least obstacles.


What was the difference between the first people who went (wiyout asking questions) and the second people who went (with asking questions)? Which was faster? Which was more fun? Which was more exciting? Which was more satisfying? Which way were you more a part of the group, and which way were you on your own? While in some ways, the first way was easier, and it might have been faster, the second way, with asking questions, allowed the person to accomplish more than he would have otherwise, and also created a connection between the blindfolded person and the group giving the instructions- you knew that there were people who cared about you, who wanted you to do well. So- is it better to have things easy and be on your own, or to have help, even yough you have to ask for it? Even yough before this you might have yought that its better if you just have everything handed to you, we now understand that there are big advantages to the other way. Before we talked about the importance of water and how Israel doesnt have a lot of water. Can you think of why Hashem chose a country that doesnt have a lot of water available as our homeland? In Israel, we need to ask God for rain. Just like in the game, having to ask questions of God means we have a stronger relationship with God, and that we can really accomplish more than if we had been given everything we need.

Mother May I? For younger chanichim, another game that can work very well is Mother May I: Choose one person to play "Mother." Mother lines up the children in a straight line and then moves to the other side of the room and stands facing the group. The chanichim move toward Mother by asking permission to take steps in order. For example, a child could ask, "Mother May I take ten baby steps forward?" Encourage children to be creative with the types of steps they want to take. Some common choices are regular steps, giant steps, and baby steps. The game is much more fun if kids want to take ballerina steps or frog steps. Mother answers, "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not," and the child must once again ask Mother May I and wait for Mother to respond Yes you may before following her commands. If the child moves when she has not been given permission, she must go back to the starting line. Now heres an additional twist- have Mother choose one person who will not have to ask permission, and can just go whenever they want. The game is won when someone reaches Mother. Let the game go until you have a first, second and third place winner (i.e. three people who reach Mother), and then choose another Mother.


Which person had the easiest time winning? Was the game more fun for that person or less? Did that person enjoy the game with the group as much? Even yough it was much easier for the person who didnt have to ask any questions, they missed out on the fun of the whole game!! Part of the fun was the children asking questions and Mother answering them. Who is the person in the world youd most like to meet and ask some questions to? Do you think youd like it better if someone got them to write down all the answers on a piece of paper, and give them to you, or if youd get to meet the person and ask the questions in person? Why is there a difference? You get the answers either way! Of course, its cooler to actually meet them. The point is- sometimes its better to be able to ask the questions than to be just given all the answers. Before we talked about the importance of water and how Israel doesnt have a lot of water. Can you think of why Hashem chose a country that doesnt have a lot of water available as our homeland? In Israel, we need to ask God for rain. Just like in the game, having to ask questions of God means we have a stronger relationship with God- we get to really talk to him, and not just have all the answers given to us!

Game 3: Tefila for Rain

The instructions for Game #1s room conditions apply here too. Divide the chanichim into two teams, and give each team three small, cheap, plastic water guns (if you get more, thats even better). Line both teams up on one side of the room, and line up ten cups in front of each team. Instruct them that each team member must take one shot and then pass the gun on down the line. A madrich will take guns from the end of the line and bring them back to the start. When guns get empty, teams must send a member to refill. Tell the teams that they must try to push the cups as far as possible. At the end of a certain time limit, all distance will be added up and whichever team has gained the most overall ground will win.

Explanation: Teams may utilize various strategies to succeed at this game. One team may try to shoot all cups equally, while another may focus on pushing a few cups as far as possible. As some players succeed more than others, fire might need to be focused on the weaker side of the line. The point is that different areas will need to be sprayed at different times. Similarly, not all parts of earth need rain at the same time. The rainy season in Israel isnt the same as the season in America. In tefila, we have a specific time when we start praying for rain. On Shmini Atzeret we start saying Morid HaGashem, recalling the need for rain. However, we dont actually start asking for rain until later. In Israel they start saying VTen Tal UMatar Lvracha on 7 Cheshvan, while outside of Israel we only start on December 5th. The reason is because people used to go to Israel for Sukkot, and needed enough time to journey home. It took them a long time to travel, and if it started to rain during that time, traveling would have been a mess. Nonetheless, when we pray for rain, we are asking for rain in Israel.

Chevraya Zach/ Bet- Grades 7-8, 9-12

Peulah #1

Present the following scenario to the kevutzah:

Imagine that you had all the money you could possibly ever want more than you could ever use. You could buy yourself all the nicest clothes, the best games, movies, dvds, cds, computers, technology, shoes- everything that you ever wanted but couldnt afford. You could build the biggest house, exactly as you wanted it- with movie screens, pool tables, bowling alleys, basketball court- whatever you wanted What else would you want? (Let the chanichim add to the description)- all the best kosher food, all the time, whatever you liked, somebody to do all of your chores for you. And not only that, but you were famous- people all over the world loved you, you were on magazine covers and in newspapers and on TV and in movies. What could possibly be lacking from your life? How would you like a life like this one? Is it what you sometimes dream of?

After allowing some time to talk about, and for opinions to go back and forth, tell the chanichim that this is basically the story of Macauley Culkin, the star of Home Alone, who got divorced from his wife not too long ago, but even before that wanted to divorce his parents!! Divorce his parents? But he had everything a boy or girl could want! So why so miserable? Why are so many famous people often so miserable? Why do they often have unhappy lives with divorce and drug use and all sorts of bad things? What about children of rich and famous people? Are they happy?

A lot of answers could be given for this, but in this sicha, we want to lead the chanichim in one particular direction- sometimes, just getting everything you want, just like that, isnt the best way to be. Even yough they might be showered with gifts, be given everything wiyout even asking for it, children of rich and famous parents are often missing something else- a close and loving relationship. Think about this honestly- would you trade your relationship with your parents, who you have to ask for stuff, and sometimes say yes and sometimes say no, for a billion dollar inheritance that would give you enough money to provide for everything you needed? If your chanichim are saying yes at this point, theyre being wise-guys! Having things is no substitute for a good connection to your parents.

Present the pesukim from Devarim, Chapter 11, Pesukim 10-12 (attached below. it is best to photocopy this before Shabbat so that you can give a copy to everyone).

Whats the difference between Eretz Yisrael and Egypt? In Egypt, the Nile provided water- it was always there, you just needed to kick up the earth to get to the water source. In Israel, youre dependent on rain for water. What does it take to get rain? Take a look at the next paragraph, pesukim 13-22- it should be familiar!

When we do mitzvot, when were doing the right things, we get rain in the proper time. So whos better off? Well, in Egypt you dont have to even do anything to get good stuff- youve got everything you need all the timebut that means theres no relationship with God, like Macauley Culkin, or a million other famous people. Is that really the recipe for happiness? We see that its not! Hashem really cares about what were doing, He wants us to look to him and ask him for things all the time, and thats why he specifically gave us Eretz Yisrael, a place where we need to always look to him for help.

This is all good stuff to think about now as we start the rainy season in Eretz Yisrael with Shemini Atzeret.

Peulah #2

Water Trivia

Play a quick game with the chanichim. On pieces of paper, write the names of various cities. Tell the chanichim that when you hold up a piece of paper, they must identify a body of water that is associated with the city or area on the card. Have some candy and give the first person to call it out some candy as a prize. For some of them (Pittsburgh) you may want to reverse the order and say the name of the river instead of the city name.

Detroit Detroit River

Toronto Lake Ontario

Montreal The St. Lawrence River

Pittsburgh Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers

Boston Charles River

San Antonio Rio Grande

Grand Canyon Colorado River

Alexandria, Egypt Nile River

Peru Amazon River

Shanghai, China Yangtze River

Cleveland Lake Erie

London, England Thames River

Berlin, Germany Elbe River

Paris, France Seine River

Baghdad, Iraq Tigris River

Jericho, Israel Jordan River

Babylon Euphrates River

Question: Why is it that the majority of cities are built on waterways? What were the first major cities in America, and why were they located in those places? (New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Charleston) Rivers are important for any city for many reasons. They provide drinking water, transportation, and sanitation. Until very recently, these things couldnt be supplied any other way. Cities HAD to be on water.

Being wiyout water isnt really an option. Ask anyone who was wiyout water during the great blackout of 03 its not a pleasant experience. (Just think back to your last chutz!) What do we use water for today? How is our water situation different today from what it was 200 years ago?

For one thing, we can transport water much more easily. Our modern sewer systems and water treatment plants make things much cleaner and allow us to move water and sewage over great distances. In areas with little water, this is of great importance. Its also one of the technologies that Israel leads the world in we have some of the most advanced methods of cultivating arid climates, such as the drip irrigation method. Israel has done some major projects to improve its water situation and ensure that all areas of the country have access to this vital resource. Nonetheless, today it remains one of the most important concerns to the country. Israel is currently arranging deals with Turkey to buy water, and has begun to build desalination plants. And even with these activities, we still find ourselves with a shortage of water.

We all know that Israel has this water shortage problem. Many chanichim will also know that Chazal explain our lack of water by saying that it helps us build a connection with God, as explained in the introduction. Have one of them explain this to the group.

We have already discussed some of the important roles of water today. In areas where water is scarce it takes on an additional role a political one. Several books have been written on the subject, claiming that World War III will be fought over water resources. In Israel water has played a big role in some negotiations. Ask chanichim to give some examples. (Giving Syria a border on the Kineret, control of the aquifer under the West Bank, water sharing with Jordan, the tributaries of the Kineret being tapped in Syria and Lebanon).

In the Torah we are told the many things we will get if we follow the mitzvot. Foremost in this list are two things: Peace and Water. The Meforshim argue which of these two is primary, and according to one side it is only when we have enough water that peace will be possible. Looking at the situation in Israel, its easy to see how this might be true, if not now than perhaps some day, that water will be the major source of contention between countries.

So how do we deal with our rain situation? We already described how we have to pray for rain regularly. But if we are going to ask God for rain, is it okay to also do our best to provide water ourselves, be it through treaties or desalination? Israel even tried something called Cloud Seeding, where planes drop salt into clouds to try and make them become rain clouds! Alyough there isnt a concrete answer to this question, it is interesting to discuss, and mention how we arent supposed to wait for God to do everything for us, we still have to do what we can. We will always be dependent on Him for rain, so we dont have to worry about eliminating that connection.

As a conclusion, go through the halachot of praying for rain, when we start doing it, and remind the chanichim how important it is, and how that tefila is a manifestation of our close relationship with God.

Devarim Perek 11, Pesukim 10-12

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10 For the land, where you go to possess, is not as the land of Egypt, from where you came out, where you sowed your seed, and watered it with your foot, as a garden of herbs;

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11 but the land, that you go to possess, is a land of hills and valleys, by the rain of the heaven will you drink water

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12 a land which Hashem cares for; the eyes of Hashem are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

Devarim Perek 11, Pesukim 13-14

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13 And it shall come to pass, if you listen diligently to My commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,

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14 that I will give the rain of your land in its season, the former rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your corn, and your wine, and your oil.

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