Rambam - Rishonim
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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Teach about the life and works of Rambam; his 13 Ikarim
Strips of paper with Ikarim on them, Operation body, tweezers, monopoly tokens, things to balance the body on, 15 pieces of paper to represent the books of Mishna Torah and Moreh Nevuchim.
Background: Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Rambam, known in English as Maimonides) was born in
Game 1: The 13 Ikarim - Variation of Steal the Bacon/Tifsuni
Cut out the strips with the 13 Ikarim of the Rambam, and also the other made up Ikarim. Divide the chachinim into two groups and station them on opposite sides of the room. Give each at least two numbers between 1-13. (Each number should have at LEAST two people on each team). The madrich goes to the middle of the room and reads out an Ikar, either fake or real, and the number after it, and then puts it down and gets out of the way. If the people believe it is a real Ikar, they must run, get the paper, and return to their side without being tagged. By their opponent. If the Ikar was a real one, they get a point. If the Ikar was a fake one, they lose a point. If they are tagged, the other team gets or loses a point accordingly. (Fake ones are numbered in italics)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name, creates and guides all creatures, and that he alone made, makes and will make everything. (1)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name, is unique, and there in no uniqueness like his in any way, and that he alone is our god, who was, who is, and who always will be. (2)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name, is not physical and is not affected by physical phenomena, and that there is no comparison whatsoever to him. (3)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name, is the very first and the very last. (4)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name - to him alone is it proper to pray and it is not proper to pray to any other. (5)
I believe with complete faith that all the words of the prophets are true. (6)
I believe with complete faith that the prophecy of Moshe Rabeinu, peace upon him, was true, and that he was the father of the prophets - both those who preceded him and those who followed him. (7)
I believe with complete faith that the entire Torah now in our hands is the same on that was given to Moshe Rabeinu, peace be upon him. (8)
I believe with complete faith that this Torah will not be exchanged nor will there be another Torah from the creator, blessed be his name. (9)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed be his name, knows all the deeds of human beings and their thoughts, as it is said, "he fashions their hearts all together, he comprehends all their deeds." (10)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name, rewards with good those who observe his commandments, and punishes those who violate his commandments. (11)
I believe with complete faith in the coming of Mashiach, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come. (12)
I believe with complete faith that there will be a resuscitation of the dead whenever the wish emanates from the creator, blessed is his name, and exalted is his mention, forever and for all eternity. (13)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name spoke to Avraham Avinu (1)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name took the Jews out from Egypt and journeyed with them in the desert for forty years. (2)
I believe with complete faith that Shabbat is the holy day. (3)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name gave the Jews the Torah at Mount Sinai (4)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name revealed the Torah She'ba'al Peh to Moshe (5)
I believe with complete faith that the Lions will win the Super Bowl next year (6)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people as a homeland (7)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name has commanded us to only eat Kosher food. (8)
I believe with complete faith that Nike makes the best shoes (9)
I believe with complete faith that you must brush your teeth twice a day (10)
I believe with complete faith that you must honor your father and mother. (11)
I believe with complete faith that you must daven three times a day (12)
I believe with complete faith that the creator, blessed is his name judges us on Rosh Hashana and seals his judgment on Yom Kippur (13)
Explanation: Rambam wrote thirteen Principles of faith that every Jew has to believe. These are found after Shacharit in almost all siddurim, and many people say them after Shacharit. One of the Ikarim, #12, is for sure known by all chanichim: Ani Ma'amin B'Emunah Sh'lema B'viat HaMashiach.... which is a line sung to many tunes. (Perhaps you can teach them one tune that you like.)
Game 2: Operation
This is an old-school board game that you may or may not be familiar with. The board looks like a human body and has several holes in it. You must remove various things from inside the "patient" without touching the sides, or an electronic thing would beep and you would be out. Obviously we can't use a board like this for our game on Shabbat, so instead we will do as follows:
1) Make a large human cutout out of a sheet of posterboard with several holes in it.
2) Take two small objects, such as bottlecaps, straws, or even the corner of books, and put them on a table. Carefully balance the body on the two things, so that a small bump will make it fall.
3) Either go one at a time, or choose chanichim based on trivia questions or some other type of competition, to attempt surgery. If they succeed, they get one point for their team. If they loose, they don't. Use monopoly tokens or some other small pieces for items to remove.
Explanation: When Rambam lived in Egypt, both his father and older brother died. He therefore had to support his entire family. He believed that it was forbidden to be paid to be a rabbi, so instead he studied and became a doctor. He was so successful that he became the doctor of the Sultan in the royal court.
Game 3: Mishne Torah
Make fourteen pieces of paper to represent the fourteen books of the Mishne Torah, and one to be Moreh Nevuchim. (A simple piece of construction paper with the title written on will do.) Choose four or five people to be on one team. Scatter the pieces of paper on the floor on one half of the room. The chosen chanichim have to protect these 15 pieces of paper from being grabbed by the others. (you can choose more protectors if needed). If someone is tagged while on their half, they are out. They continue until either everyone is out or all the papers have been grabbed. Whoever has the most get to be the new protectors.
The fourteen books are: Madah, Ahava, Zemanim, Nashim, Kedusha, Hafala'a, Zeraim, Avodah, Korbanot, Tahara, Nizikin, Kanin, Mishpatim, Shoftim, and Moreh Nevuchim is the fifteenth
Explanation: (This can also be a story) After Rambam's death, one of his books, Moreh Nevuchim, which deals with Aristotelian philosophy, was condemned by a few rabbis. These Rabbis didn't think that Jews should be encouraged to learn philosophy. They put a ban on Rambam's books, and didn't talk to anyone who learnt Rambam. In return the people who supported Rambam didn't talk to them. A big feud started, and eventually one of the rabbis who led those against Rambam tried to put together a council outlawing Moreh Nevuchim. Not many people joined him, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. He gathered together lots of copies and in a public square of Paris he burnt them.
Meanwhile, Christians in France were trying to figure out how they could stop people from being Jewish. When they saw the Rabbi burning copies of Rambam, they got an idea that they could also burn copies of the gemara. They gathered together 24 wagons full of gemaras (which were all hand written at the time), nearly all the copies in France, and set fire to them. Many Jews then had to leave France. We see from here that even if you disagree with another Jew's perspective, you shouldn't make a Chilul Hashem by it, or it can lead to worse things.
In the game, there were people trying to take the copies of Rambam (to burn them) while others tried to protect them.
There is a very famous phrase used to describe how great Rambam was: “From Moshe (rabeinu) to Moshe (Rambam), none arose like Moshe.” Perhaps it would be appropriate to also sing Ani Ma'amin.