“Middot Matters” Shabbat Family Learning Grades 3-5 Ansche Chesed 1. Sever Panim Yaffot – October 20th 2. Ve’ahavta L’reacha Kamocha – November 17th 3. Shalom Bayit – December 15th Overarching Goals: To bring families together for learning that is meaningful for both kids and parents To give families the opportunity to learn about the chosen middot in experiential ways Knowing: Learners will understand the meaning of each middah Doing: Learners will bring home ideas for how to bring each middah to life Believing: Learners will express feelings about each middah as a Jewish way to interact with their family and friends Belonging: Learners will be part of a community that learns together
Sever Panim Yafot Location: 2 South Connection Game Play the Shalom/Hello game. Your best friend who you haven’t seen all week Your good friend in shul during the Torah reading Your acquaintance when you’re crossing the street Your aunt who can’t hear very well An old friend when you’re going for a run Debrief after playing. How do you like to be greeted? How does it feel to be greeted with a smile as opposed to without? How do you usually greet people? Introduce concept of b’sever panim yafot: Our sages teach us to greet everyone cheerfully. Teach the Hebrew “b’sever panim yafot”: B’sever= literally turn ones body towards a person, ie to show interest Panim=face, ie don’t look around, face the person directly Yafot=beautifully, ie smile
Play one more round of the Shalom/Hello game, asking them to greet someone “b’sever panim yafot” according to the definition of the value. Text Study Read the text together and discuss in family chevrutot: “If you give someone all the best gifts in the world with a grumpy face, our sages regards it as if you had given the person nothing. But when you greet someone with a cheerful face, our sages credit you as though you had given the person all the best gifts in the world.” (Avot de Rabbi Natan 13, 29a) Conversation Questions: Why do you think giving a gift with a grumpy face makes it like you didn’t give anything? How do you feel when someone does or says something but their face doesn’t match (like the example in the text or like when someone says “I’m sorry” but their tone doesn’t sound like they’re sorry)? What do you think is Jewish about this value? Bring the group back together and share some answers. Role Playing Based off the last question (what’s Jewish about this value?), explain that most of our middot (values) aren’t necessarily ONLY Jewish – everyone should greet people with a smile! – but, we can consider them to be Jewish because our ancestors in the Torah modeled these behaviors. Split everyone into two groups (parents and kids together or one group of parents and one group of kids?) and give each group a scenario from the Torah. Ask each group to create two short skits, one that shows the main character NOT acting according to this middah, and one that shows the main character acting according to it. Scenarios: 1. Abraham was sitting by his tent after a long day. He was recovering from his brit milah, trying to relax in the shade on a hot day. Suddenly, he looked up and saw three men standing near his tent. As soon as he saw them he ran from his tent to greet them. 2. Eliezer was at the well after a long journey. He was standing there with his camels when Rebekah approached the well. Rebekah was filling her cup when she saw Eliezer. He went right up to Rebekah and asked for a drink; she quickly gave him a drink from her cup. Taking It Home
Give every family a “middah card” with a different instruction for bringing this value into their lives in the coming weeks. Explain that when they have a story about sever panim yafot, they can share it with Marci and they’ll be highlighted an a Family Programs email. 1. At school or work, smile at someone you don’t know. How did the person react? 2. Find out about a celebrity who greets fans cheerfully. How do you think his or her fans feel? 3. Teach someone else about the middah sever panim yafot. How did you explain why this is a Jewish value? 4. At shul, find someone who is new and welcome him or her with a smile. How did the person react?
Ve’ahavta Le’reacha Ka’mocha Location: 2 South Connection Game Introduce the value, showing each word and explaining:
Ve’ahavta – root is ohev, love Le’reacha – your neighbor Ka’mocha – like yourself
Explain that in order to love someone as yourself, one thing you need to appreciate is what makes everyone special, and also recognize that we’re all part of one community. Play “person to person” – call out a number and everyone needs to find a group with that number of people. Once you’re in the group, you have to find out something unique (can’t have it in common with anyone else in the group), and something the whole group has in common. Play a few rounds, then bring everyone together and ask a few people to share what they appreciate about something they learned about someone. Text Study Read the text together and discuss in family chevrutot: A Story from the Talmud… A non-Jewish man once came to Rabbi Shammai to convert. He asked Rabbi Shammai to teach him the whole Torah while standing on one foot! Rabbi Shammai rejected him, so he went to Rabbi Hillel with the same request. Rabbi Hillel said, “What you dislike, do not do to your friend. That is the basis of the Torah, the rest is commentary. Go and learn!” Conversation Questions: What does Rabbi Hillel meant when he said “What you disike, do not do to your friend”?
Can you give an example of a time when someone treated you badly – how do you think that person would have felt if they were treated that badly? Why do you think Rabbi Hillel thought that this idea was the most important thing to tell this man about the Torah?
Bring the group back together and ask for some insights from the family chevrutot. Then go around the circle and have everyone take turns standing on one foot and saying why they think this is such an important middah. Paper Bag Dramatics Separate parents and kids and talk about the idea of sinat chinam, which is kind of the opposite of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Explain that it’s said that the first Temple was destroyed because of idolatry, murder, and other horrible things, the second Temple was destroyed because of senseless hatred. Have the group come up with a situation when they’re challenged by the idea of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Using random objects from a bag, have them come up with a skit that shows how they could deal with the situation in a way that doesn’t resort to sinat chinam. Taking it Home TBD!