Gevura - âáåøä
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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1. Start by handing every chanich/a a card with a word on it. S/he will then have to find the other chanich/a in the room with a card that goes with their own. For example, if your word is COCA, you’d look for someone with the word COLA. The cards will be of around 7 colors. After a couple minutes, we’ll break up into smaller groups, by color.
(Examples: Coca Cola, Raggedy Anne, I Pod, Cell Phone, Lap Top, Air Plane, Trash Can,…)
2. Once we are separated into smaller groups we want everyone to learn each other’s name. Go around the circle and have everyone say their name, favorite color, etc. and a superhero. (It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone they identify with. It could also just be a regular hero, but the game might go better if you use the word “Superhero.” Also, it’ll probably make the sicha better.)
Now that we have heroes, we have to think about super powers. In this week’s parsha Yakov wrestles with Esav’s angel. So we’ll have our own miniature (and very passive) WWF matches.
Pick one person to go in the middle. He must walk over to one person in the circle and say their name, their hero, and what he is attacking with. This could get very creative, especially if the kids pick heroes that aren’t your conventional comic book superheroes. For example, let’s say I’m Batman. I can walk over to someone who has chosen Avraham and say that I’m fighting with the fire stuff that comes out of the Batmobile. Avraham then has 5 seconds to respond what power he’s using to defend himself, ie. he can say fire doesn’t hurt him, as per the furnace he got thrown into. If the person can answer in 5 seconds, the other guy stays in the middle. If not, he must stand up and issue a challenge to someone new.
This game isn’t intended to last any significant amount of time, just a bit, to get the kids a little more active, learn more names, and segue into the sicha. Figure five minutes.
3.This is the main part of the peula, a bit of a sicha. The kids have all chosen heroes. They may range greatly. We have also seen some of their “powers.” Hopefully some kids also chose real heroes, but even if they didn’t, it’s fine. Ask a few chanichim quickly why they chose that hero. Is there something they admire about him/her?
Question 1: Who do Chazal regard as the biggest Gibor? Which person specifically? Let the kids answer what they think, and why. The real answer is Yitzchak.
Question 2:For what reason was Yitzchak considered the most valiant of all people? What did he do that was so great? Seriously, ask the chanichim what they can think of that he did. Someone will of course answer that he allowed himself to be a korban on the Mizbeach at Akeidat Yitzchak.
To address this point, pick two kids and have them act out Akeidat Yitzchak as if they were in a soap opera or dramatic movie. Who has the most drama? Is it Yitchak, who just sits there, or Avraham? Which role would you give the big movie star? Clearly Avraham is the star - he is the gibor in this scene. So once again, why Yitzchak? What did he do?
At this point, you can hand out chumashim, or just one, and ask the kids to start listing all the stories we know about Yitzchak: 1. He was the first to get a brit milah at the age of 8 days 2. Akeidat Yitzcak 3. Eliezer brought him his wife 4. Reconverted the people Avraham had converted 5.Opened the wells that the Pelishtim had closed 6.Made a peace agreement with Avimelech 7. Hashem told him to stay in
Were any of these things so great? Mostly, he was just following what his father had done. Other than that, he just dealt with the details, the little things in life. So why is he THE gibor?
Here we have reached the point. Chazal really want to say that this characteristic of Yitzchak is precisely what Gevura is all about. The Gibor isn’t someone who does one great, big act and gains fame from it, rather he is someone who is always striving to do well, and always concentrated on even the smallest details in life, struggling to be valiant in all of them. Avraham was a trailblazer and did great things, but if Yitzchak had not come along and kept everything moving, it would have all collapsed. Yitzchak is the gibor because he continued along the path of Avraham in a normal fashion, but did so steadily.
Question 3: If this is gevura, what would the opposite of Gevura be? It seems that it would be Egotism. A gibor deals with the small details every day. An Egotist is the opposite.
A Short story to illustrate this point:
A few years ago a group of tourist from
We see from this story that it is much easier to be brave one time and do something big than to do the small things day in and day out, to stay true to your ideologies.
Question 4: You can also ask, based on our discussion, is our generation similar to Avraham’s or to Yitzchaks? (Avraham did things initially, Yitzchak continued them). What type of heroes do we need today? What can we do that’s heroic? (Don’t get to far into this, as it will come up again tomorrow.)
Now, if you like, you can go through again and ask everyone to pick a new hero, and perhaps chose a few to explain who they picked and why.
Finally, the conclusion: Each one of you chaninchim will become part of a shevet (in time). A shevet is a unit you form, more than just people your age, but people you grow up with, go to school, camp, your year in
A few Giborim from Jewish history that, if you have extra time, you can discuss and have the chanichim decide if s/he was indeed a REAL hero, either by the standards we’ve discussed here, or by another set of standards the chanichim may have:
Moshe – the greatest leader, constantly gave of himself to the people, most modest of all people.
Yehoshua – Conquered the Land
Calev – Didn’t give in to the temptations of the 10 other spies.
Shimshon – fought alnoe against the Pelishtim and gave his life.
David – Fought Goliath, led
Ester – put herself in danger for her people
Yehuda HaMakabi – fought in a battle with the odds stacked against him
Chana and her 7 sons – gave themselves up rather than violating the torah
R. Akiva – died saying “Echad”
Bar Kochva – Fought against the Romans
Nachum Ish Gamzoo – saw good things in everything
Herzl – was a visionary, devoted himself entirely to the Jewish State
Chana Senesh – put herself in danger by parachuting into enemy territory
Mordechai Anilevitch – Led the Warsaw Ghetto revolt.
Yanush Korczech – didn’t leave his orphans even until the end
Trumpledor – died for
Rav Kook – loved even those who hated him
Natan Sharansky – was willing to sit in Russian prison in order to make Aliya
Any soldier – gives of himself.
Sylvester Stallone – He’s built.
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