Yerushalayim By The Avot (yaakov) – Story And Game
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes
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Things to prepare:
- A Chumash Bereshit to read Yaakov’s story as it appears.
- A rope tied in a loop that will fit 10 chanichim inside it.
- Tilboshet Bnei Akiva
Yaakov left Be'er-Sheva from Esav and went towards Charan, he went to sleep on the way because the sun was coming down. He took some rocks and put them under his head and he went to sleep there. Then he had a dream that there was a ladder that started in the ground and its head reached the heavens and there were angels going up and down, at the end of the vision in the dream Hashem promised him that “the whole land you are lying on will be given to your children for ever. When he woke up he realized this dream was a message from Hashem and the place he was lying on was a special peace of land, so he took the stone he lay his head on and made it into a Matzeva.
Midrashically, sages render that he took several stones. The stones began quarreling each one saying upon me shall this righteous man rest his head, there upon god combined the12 stones into one. This represents the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel each one is an individual on a separate mission but all of us unite into a single nation. The rock that was combined to make this message is the rock underneath the Kodesh Ha’Kodashim to symbolize that the Shechinah comes to the place where the whole nation of Israel unite. Now we know that the place Yaakov decided to sleep in was Yerushalayim and the Midrash says that the whole land of Israel was included in those rocks while he was promised that the whole land he is sleeping on would be given to his nation.
His dream is explained in the Midrash as follows: Yaakov was shown the angels of the four kingdoms that would ascend to dominate Israel and the world. Yaakov saw each angel climbing the ladder, while each rang symbolized a year that the angels nation would lead its say to the world, and then its descending as its reign ended. Bavels angel climbed 70 ranges and then it went down, Madais angels went 52, and Yavan went 180. Edom kept climbing symbolizing the current Galut witch seems to be endless. Yaakov was afraid to climb as he feared that if he would climb he might end up descending like did the other nations, so Hashem assured that even if he won’t get up and lead the world before this dream comes true, at the end of the dream Hashem will make sure Am Yisrael takes its leadership role, and as long as Am Yisrael remembers that and planes to lead the world back to believing in Hashem, he will protect them and bring them to Eretz Yisrael.
These days Yaakov’s difficult dream is finally coming to an end, and we are the lucky generation to receive Hashem’s promise that we will be brought to Israel. All we have to do is climb the ladder and lead the whole world to be a better place to live in.
Bring food to bribe them with! All Chanichim stand in a circle and a large rope will be tied around them there supposed to march and they’ll probably fall. If they don’t, make them fall. Tell them they need to stay to work together just like the rocks under Yaakov’s head, and even though they represented individual tribes they still had to work together to accomplish their goals
Rabbi Akiva and his vision – story and message
We are going to tell this story about Rabbi Akiva and his vision of life so that we get to know the leader we are named after. Rabbi Akiva lived in the years just after the second Beit Ha’Mikdash destruction, he grew up in a poor family and had to work had for his living from a young age. He didn’t get a chance to learn torah until he got married at the age of 40. His wife then sent him to learn for 24 years and he became the greatest rabbi and Jewish leader of the time.
One day a group of rabbis were going up to Yerushalayim with rabbi Akiva on their regular trip to see the ruins of what used to be the holiest place on earth. As they got to Har Ha’Tzofim (when they first saw the place of Beit Ha’Mikdash they (including rabbi Akiva) tore their clothes. 30 minutes later when they reached Har Habayit they saw a fox that was coming out of the Kodesh Ha’Kodashim and the rabbies began to cry but rabbi Akiva was laughing.
They asked him why are you laughing? He asked then why are you crying? They answered him a place where anyone that would go would die and now a fox walks there and you aren’t crying. Rabbi Akiva answered them, for that reason I’m laughing. Then explained we have 2 Nevuot from the Neviim one is of the destruction and one is of the rebuilding, and if the destruction hadn’t come I wouldn’t have Emunah for the rebuilding, but now that there is destruction we have rebuilding to look forward to. After rabbi Akiva explained himself the rabbis said Akiva you’ve comforted us Akiva you’ve comforted us.
Questions for discussion:
1. Why did rabbi Akiva react differently to the sight than the other rabbies?
Because he felt himself as a leader that has he responsibility to lead the nation to the Geulah and not sink in the sadness of the galoot. So for the 30 minutes of walking with torn clothes towards Har Ha’Bait, he set his mind to think what good can come from this terrible situation. Then when he understood the depth of the Neveem’s meanings, he was so happy that he laughed.
2. Nowadays when bad things happen, should we laugh like rabbi Akiva did or should we cry like the other rabbis?
We should keep in mind that all the problems that come upon us were written in the books of the Nevoah, where we were promised a difficult time before the complete Geulah, and then we will remember that these troubles are the sign that the complete Geulah is close. But we should also know that this is the hard way of bringing the geulah and if we would have bean worthy of it then the geulah could have come in a more comfortable way. So we should be sad when we hear of bad things and we should try harder to bring the geulah faster.
3. If you were one of the rabbis would you laugh or would you cry and why?
Summery – for the first Shabbat in the three weeks.
In difficult days when we are remembering the destruction of Beit Ha’Mikdash it is important to remember the advice we got from our leaders. Rabbi Akiva who we see as our greatest role model told us to think in a positive manner and try leading the nation to a faster Geulah. All this is based on the knowledge we have from the Neveeim and Midrashim that a big Geulah is expected in our days.
When we think of Yerushalayim we have mixed feelings, on one hand we think of the difficult times its had and is having and on the other hand we remember Hashem’s promise to Yaacov that we will all be Brought back home safely. All we must do is unite as friends and as a nation and that will help us get home to the Geulah faster.
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