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Centrality Of The Beit Hamikdash And Yerushalayim -

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Chevraya Aleph: Grades 1-6

Goal: To teach the chanichim the central role Yerushalayim plays in the Jewish world, and how this is seen through Aliyah LRegel, and in Shmoneh Esreh.

Zach Grades 7-8

Goal: To teach the chanichim the centrality of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash, and how we should always be focused on it (whether by living there or by keeping it in our minds).

Chevraya Bet Grades 9-12

Goal: For the chanichim to understand why it is that all Jews, religious and secular alike, feel a kesher with Yerushalayim and see it as the center of the Jewish World

Behövligt material
Aleph-Box of tickets, Zach- Bet


Every Step I Take...

By Rachel Koller and Sarah Gordon

Noseh: Centrality of the Beit Hamikdash and Yerushalayim:

Chevrayah: Aleph, Zach, Bet

Materials: Aleph-Box of tickets, Zach- Bet-

Chevraya Aleph: Grades 1-6

Goal: To teach the chanichim the central role Yerushalayim plays in the Jewish world, and how this is seen through Aliyah LRegel, and in Shmoneh Esreh.


Trigger Game #1: Everyone sits in a circle. In the middle of the circle someone sits on a chair with his eyes closed. Next to him is a box full of tickets. All the kids have to try and sneak up and take a ticket from the box. (They can only take one ticket per trip). If the guy in the middle hears noise, he yells freeze and points to where he thinks the person is. Everyone freezes and anyone in his line of pointing is caught and now they are in the middle. The point is to get to the center as many times as you can and collect as many tickets as you can without getting caught. The person who does is the winner.

In the game, the center represents Yerushalayim and how everyone is trying to get there.

But why do we want to go?

Trigger Game #2: The game plays kind of like laser tag. Two kids are it and have to tag the other kids. Each kid however has a ticket. Once he is tagged, he has to give in his ticket to the person whos it. Then, he must return to the base and get another ticket from the Madrich so that he can continue to play. The chanichim have up until three chances to stay in the game. The kid left over at the end wins.

Explain to the chanichim that the home base is the Beit Hamikdash and throughout the year we return to the Beit Hamikdash to get replenished spiritually, to recharge our batteries. This is seen specifically through Aliyah lregel which we do three times a year, on Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. But hey- theres no aliyah laregel now. So what do we do to keep Yerushalayim on our minds?

Trigger game #3: Have the kids sit down in a circle. The madrich starts telling a story and speaks for twenty-five seconds, including the word Yerushalayim or Beit Hamikdash in his story. He then picks one of the chanichim to continue the story, who also gets 25 seconds to speak (timed by another madrich) and he must use the word Yerushalayim/Beit Hamikdash in the story too. Try to make the story as crazy as possible. The madrich stops the kid when his time is up and has him pick another chanich to continue.

Afterwards, ask the kids if their repeating of the word Yerushalayim made them think of Yerushalayim at all. Then compare what you just did with them to what they say in davening. Ask the chanichim when Yerushalayim is mentioned in tfilah? The fact that we say VLiyerushalayim Ircha and Et tzemach david each day, 3 times a day, reminds us of the importance of Yerushalayim and how we should always be thinking of it and how it really is the center and focus of what Jews think about. Is praying the only thing there is to do? Can we do other things too (activism, visit, live there)?

Conclusion: Yerushalayim is the center and focus of our lives as Jews, therefore we should be thinking about it all the time. It is the place of the Beit Hamikdash, and where we can be closest to G-D, therefore traveling there helps us recharge our spiritual batteries. Even without the Beit Hamikdash, it remains our focus- we still need to keep it on our mind.

Zach Grades 7-8

Goal: To teach the chanichim the centrality of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash, and how we should always be focused on it (whether by living there or by keeping it in our minds).


Trigger: Begin by asking the chanichim if they have ever been to one of the major cities in the United States or Canada New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Ottowa etc. What makes each of these cities a major city? The correct answer would be whats inside of them. For instance, Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States, because the White House is in Washington, and the president lives in the White House. There are also many other important political buildings in Washington. Imagine that all of a sudden the President decided to pick up and move himself and the White House to Kalamazoo, Mississippi. Pretty soon all of his advisors and workers would also decide to move to Kalamazoo. After several weeks, there would be no more White House, and Washington wouldnt be so important anymore. Is Washington still the capital of the United States or does the capital of the United States change to Kalamazoo, Mississippi? The most probable answer is that the capital will change places. Why? Washington was only the capital because of the people that lived and worked there. Once those people have left, the city is no longer important. After a number of years, many people would just forget that it was ever the capital of the United States (In fact, many people dont even realize that Philadelphia used to be the capital of the United States. Furthermore, Washington D.C. didnt even exist when the United States became a nation)

Sicha: Three thousand years ago, what was the most important and significant city for the Jews? The correct answer is obviously Yerushalayim. So- what about Yerushalayim? What made Yerushalayim special in the first place? Chazal teach us that Yerushalayim has a history going back to the akeidah, which happened on what would be Har Habayit, and even back to the creation of the world (The gemara quotes an opinion that when the world was created it grew out of Yerushalayim, out of the Even Hashetiyah.) In the time of the mikdash, Yerushalayim housed the Beit Hamikdash, the center of the Jewish peoples religious and national life- where all of Am Yisrael came together three times a year to worship Hashem, like now at Succot time. The Bet HaMikdash was the holiest place in the world, and therefore Yerushalayim was the holiest city in the world. But the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed 2000 years ago- why is Yerushalayim still, as it has always been, the most important city for Jews? Why didnt it become less central like Philadelphia (sorry Philadelphia J)? Except for maybe some philadelphians, people didnt keep some hope alive that someday, Philadelphia would be the capital of the USA again. But with Yerushalayim, we never forgot or gave up hope. We believe and have always believed that we will return to it, and that it again will become the capital of our homeland. Challenge the chanichim with the following question: Wait a second- we, the Jewish people, have returned to Yerushalayim, and it is the capital of the Jewish State. So- for thousands of years, the Jews were waiting for the opportunity to return- now we have it! So what are we doing here? Unfortunately, some of us have things holding us back right now (like high school). Until we are able to return to it- how do we keep Yerushalayim on our minds?Ask the chanichim what can be done, and what they personally do to think about Yerushalayim and keep it a focus (daven for Yerushalayim, read the news about it, visit, put up a mizrach sign etc). Share with the chanichim how you, the madrich, keep Yerushalayim on your mind, and share any personal stories you have about your experiences in Yerushalayim.

Conclusion: As the location of the Beit Hamikdash, Yerushalayim was the center of Jewish life. Even after the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, the Jewish people kept it as their focus, believing that one day, we will return to rule over Yerushalayim, and to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash. Now, in our day, we are able to not only pray for Yerushalayim, but even live there, or within easy visiting distance! For those of us who cant do that yet, its important to keep our focus on Yerushalayim, and on Eretz Yisrael. As Rabbi Nachman MiBratslav said- Lchol Makom sheani holech, ani holech lEretz Israel! Everywhere I walk, I am walking to Eretz Yisrael.

Chevraya Bet Grades 9-12

Goal: For the chanichim to understand why it is that all Jews, religious and secular alike, feel a kesher with Yerushalayim and see it as the center of the Jewish World.


Trigger: Hold up an oaktag with the famous picture of the paratroopers at the Kotel in 1967 (below). Ask the chanichim to identify the picture. Have they have seen it before and what is it that makes this photo so famous? What does this photo symbolize? Who do they think these soldiers are? What do they think their background is? Why are they so emotional about getting to the Kotel? If the chanichim dont know, tell them that, for the most part, these were totally secular Jews, with no serious attachment to Torah and Mitzot. Why is it that these secular paratroopers, who had never been to Jerusalem before (they had been born when it was under Jordanian control) are so emotional- Yerushalayim has no religious significance to them?

Read the following short excerpt from one of the paratroopers about his experience that day:

"We fought in Kadesh (1956), and we liberated the kotel in Jerusalem ('67), and were the first unit to cross the Suez Canal ('73), and we even fought in the Lebanon War ('82), until some young'ns threw us out," said Yosef Schwartz, 70, who said he was only known by his nickname Yoskel Balagan. "I was always a secular kind of guy, but when I stood before the Western Wall I understood I belonged to the Jewish nation.'

What kesher do these soldiers feel to this city and to the kotel? Why?

Sicha: Try to establish with the chanichim the reasons why we feel a connection to Yerushalayim and the Kotel/Beit Hamikdash. What are these places the center of the Jewish world? Jerusalem is called the Eye of the Universe, ask the chanichim what they think this means. What did the Beit Hamikdash symbolize? (Our connection to G-d, davening, korbanot, achdut, kedusha, Or Lagoyim).

But Yerushalayim and the Bet HaMikdash are also significant on the national level. Yosef Schwartz (the paratrooper quoted above) said that through the Kotel he understood that he belonged to the Jewish nation. Even though he considered himself to be a secular Jew, Yosef still felt a part of the Jewish nation through his connection to the Kotel. Where else do we see Yerushalayim and the Bet HaMikdash taking on both a religious and national significance?

Possible Answer: Three times a year, we celebrate the Shalosh Regalim. Since we have no Bet HaMikdash, all we see are the religious aspects of the holidays on Pesach we eat Maztoh, on Shavuot we celebrate Matan Torah, and on Succot we bring the Arba Minim. However, during the times of the Bet HaMikdash, besides for celebrating the religious aspects of the holidays, the Jews would also all come together as a nation. Imagine if all the Jews in the United States and Canada just got up and all came to (insert city name) for a few days. First of all- what would it take to get all Jews to agree to going to a single location at a single time? Although it would probably be pretty crowded, it would also be pretty cool to see all those Jews together in one location. If you lived in New York and had a friend in Los Angeles, you would get to spend time together in this one location. Instead of losing a friend because of distance, you would strengthen your friendship because of the holiday. Of course, this was more than just seeing some friends- this was an experience that brought together the entire Jewish people around serving Hashem.

Story: Theres a story that was originally a kids song about a boy separated from his family during the holocaust, and before they were separate the parents always told him that he should take care of himself and stay true to his Judaism. The boy survived and interpreted his parents message to mean that he should move to Israel ,the land of the Jews, and live in Yerushalayim, the center. One day when he was davening at the kotel, he heard this old man davening loudly for his son, and he realized it was his father. He was then reunited with both his parents whom had also survived the Holocaust. Use this story to show that Yerushalayim and Israel are the keystones of the Jewish nation through thick and thin.

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