Ben Adam L'chavera
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes
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Background: Having respect for others is a trait that is inculcated from the youngest ages. We are taught to have respect for our parents, teachers, relatives, friends, etc. And yet when we look around at the world, how much of the quality of respect really exists? How much do people really respect each other at all, or if they do, reflect it in their actions? This week’s peula is designed to help the chanichim consider why they respect people, what respect should be based on, and how it should reflect in their actions.
Game 1: Personalities
On pieces of paper, write the following words (and/or other similar ones):
1. Rabbi 2. Madrich 3. Math Teacher 4. Talmid Chacham 5. Mayor of the City
6. Famous Artist 7. Mother 8. Father 9. Policeman 10. Garbage man
11. Friend 12. Storekeeper 13. Bus Driver 14. President Bush 15. Israeli Citizen
16. Old Man 17. A corrupt businessman 18. Convicted Felon 19.etc.
Take each piece of paper and pin one to the back of each chanich. (Make sure to prepare ahead of Shabbat a halachically correct way to do so – you can use paper clips.) The chanichim now begin talking to each other. Everyone looks at the back of each other and talks to them as if they are the person described on their back. (If someone’s back says Bus Driver, I talk to them as if they are a bus driver.) Whenever someone thinks they know who they are, they go to a madrich and state their guess. If they are right, they have won.
The game can progress a number of ways. If you think of many different personas, you could give them a new card, and after a period of time see who has the most cards completed. Otherwise, you could have them simply sit back down in order of how they finished, and maybe use this order to decide who gets to go first in the next game.
Discussion: Was everyone treated the same way? Was there anyone treated without any respect? Who was given the most respect?
Exercise 1: Have the chanichim divide the various cards into four piles: a) Not Worth Respecting b) Not Required to Respect, but it would be nice c) Deserves Respect d) Hadarta Pnei Zakan (an elder)
Game 2: Chair Ball Confusion
This is a game we played a number of times last year, but it’s a good action game that seems to be a lot of fun. Have the chanichim sit in a circle. Choose one to sit in the middle on a chair. (As previously noted, you can have this be the first person to finish the last game.) The chanichim in the circle are given a nerf ball and toss it around the circle randomly. Their goal is to manage to hit the back of the chair. The person in the middle tries to defend the chair. You have the option of either making him stay in the chair, or allowing him to leave the chair to defend it. (If he leaves the chair, however, the chanichim can win by hitting ANY part of it, not just the back.)
The game stops when someone succeeds in hitting the chair. At this point, you can either have the two people exchange seats, or you can have the next person who finished from the first game sit in the middle.
Discussion: Halachically we have many things we must do to honor people such as our parents and Rabbis. One of these things is that we cannot sit in their seat. In this game, the person in the middle had to defend his seat. Our parents/rabbis/elders etc of course should not have to – they shouldn’t even have to ask. It is a sign of our respect for them that we do not sit in their seats. Ask the chanichim if they can think of any other ways we give people respect according to halacha. (We don’t use their first name, we stand up when they come into a room, and we don’t contradict them openly, to name a few.) Still, Kavod of parents and teachers begins to cross the line from Bein Adam L’Chavero to Bein Adam L’Makom, since in halacha respect for parents is connected to respect for Hashem.
Game 3: Handball
Bring a couple tennis balls and have the chanichim play against each other handball as they wish. As an alternative you can play
Discussion: In these games there are a number of close calls that come up, whether the ball is on the line or along the ground, etc. Ask the chanichim how they handled these occurrences. Did they have a special rule? In some cases they probably had do-overs. In others they may have a rule about “respecting the call” someone makes. Ask them why this is necessary for the games to progress? How does it show a respect for the opponent? (It admits a certain amount of inexactness in yourself, and says your opponent may have been right, even though you disagree.) Is the same thing necessary in society? How does it manifest itself? Do we have rules for how to treat each other, showing respect?