Ehud Ben Gera
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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- Random object (for "The Moon" game)
Game 1: The Moon
Have the chanichim sit in a circle. Take an object and begin passing it around the circle. As each chanich gets it, s/he must say “The moon is ______.” (i.e. “The moon is round.”) The madrich picks a certain pattern, and depending on whether chanich’s statement fits the pattern, the madrich says whether they are right or wrong. The game is most commonly played with the word “thank you.” In other words, the person who takes the object must say “thank you” before his or her statement in order to be correct. So if I got the object, I could say “thank you. The moon is a shoe,” and it would be correct. However, you can play with any pattern: statements might need to begin alphabetically (the first with a, the second with b, etc.) or with the first letter of the chanich’s name, or they might have to nod their head. Be creative.
Discussion: In Sefer Shoftim there is a cycle that keeps repeating itself. Am Yisrael stop keeping mitzvot. Then Hashem punishes them by having another nation conquer them and oppress them. Eventually Am Yisrael realizes and does Teshuva. Then Hashem appoints a new shofet to lead them, and they win freedom. Once they have freedom, it begins again, with Am Yisrael stopping to do mitzvot.
In our game, we also had patterns. However, we figured them out and learned from them, so that we were able to win. Am Yisrael did not do such a good job at figuring out the pattern. It seems kind of obvious, but they kept making the same mistakes.
In our case, we have the same situation. Am Yisrael was bad, and Moav conquered them. They did teshuva and Hashem picked a man from Shevet Binyamin named Ehud to lead them.
Game 2: Idiot
Have all the chanichim sit around either by a table or on the floor. Each chanich puts his or her hands on the table, so that they cross the hands of the persons on their left and right. You put your left hand over your left neighbor’s right hand, and your right hand under your right neighbor’s left hand.
Play proceeds with one person starting and choosing a direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise. S/he then hits the table. Then, in order, the next person must hit the table, keeping in mind that we go in order of hands, not in order of sitting. Play continues in order around the circle until someone gets out. In addition, there are a couple other moves: if you hit the table twice instead of once, it reverses the direction. If you hit the table with a fist, it jumps the next person. And if you hit the table TWICE with a fist, it reverses and skips. When a hand messes up, it is out, and play begins again.
Discussion: Was it harder at all with your left hand than your right hand? Was there a difference? Maybe not, because of the confusing nature of the game, but still, some people are much stronger with one hand than the other.
Ehud decided that the best way to win against Moav was by tricking them. He was a little strange in that he was left-handed. Usually at that time, no one expected people to be lefties, so when they checked you for weapons, they only checked your left side, where you would strap a sword for your right hand. Ehud, however, put his sword on his RIGHT side, so they didn’t check there. He brought a present for Eglon, the king of Moav, and was able to get into the room with Eglon with his sword.
Alternative Game: You can also play dodge ball, but instruct the kids only to throw with their wrong hand.
Game 3: Blob
We play this game a lot, but it’s fun and it fits too well not to use it. Choose one chanich to be it. S/he must run around trying to tag everyone else. Whenever someone is tagged, they join hands with It, until there is a big blob of people running around trying to tag. When only one person is left, that person wins and becomes the new It and the start of the new blob.
Discussion: The thing about Eglon, the king of Moav, that everyone remembers is that he was incredibly fat. After Ehud gave him the present, he told Eglon that he had a secret to tell him. Eglon instructed everyone to leave. Then Ehud took out his sword and stabbed Eglon in the stomach. Eglon was so fat that the sword disappeared entirely into his stomach, and Ehud couldn’t pull it out. He locked the doors and left the back way. By the time anyone looked into the room, Eglon was dead and Ehud had escaped. He then raised an army and was able to defeat Moav.