First assignment-questions on the opening sentence of the Ten Commandments- to be found under Middle School blog. Due Oct.5
Assignment #2- Why does Hashem in the Ten Commandments tell the people of Israel that He took them out of Egypt, and does not mention he had created the world? Due Oct.12
Assignment #3- Go to Sefaria, Exodus, chapter 21, sentence 12. What do you think the Torah’s point of view is regarding capital punishment? Is it in favour or against?
Summary of the Mishna below from Makkot. (Talmud, Seder Nezikin, chapter one, mishna 10.)
A court that puts somebody to death one time in seven years, and some say, seventy years, is a destructive court as it does not try to find a way to free the accused killer. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say that had they been judges in that court, nobody would ever have been convicted of murder. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said that these Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon would have encouraged more people to kill.
Answer the following questions: Why does the Mishna regard a court that puts somebody to death every seven or seventy years as a murdering court? Why do Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva state that if they had served in the court, no person would have ever been put to death? Why did Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel condemn the statement of Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva? What is your feeling about the death penalty? Test due November 5)
Assignment #4- Exodus 21:13- What happens if someone kills somebody accidentally? Does he suffer the same penalty as one who kills purposely? Should people be held responsible if they are careless, for example, a drunk driver, manufacturing company producing defective vehicles, etc. Should a bartender who gives someone to much to drink as responsible as the drinker? ( assignment due: Nov. 21
Assignment #5- New topic-What are the five types of damages one must pay when one injures somebody else in a fight? Physical, agony, medical costs, time lost for work, embarrassment. What moral lessons do we learn from this law (Exodus 21:18-19) (assignment due, Nov.23)
Assignment #6-Work in groups of 3 to answer the following questions: Joshua gives Marty something of value to watch for a certain period of time. Joshua does not pay Marty to watch the item, and the item is lost. Should Marty pay for the lost item, or not? Would it matter if Marty was paid to watch the item? What would happen if the item were stolen? What would happen if there was an earthquake and the item was damaged? What would happen if Marty was careless in how he was taking care of the item?
(Sources in the Torah: Exodus (Shemot) chapter 22, verse 6-8). You may also google the laws of the Shomer (watchman) to get a better idea. I will be working with each group and helping you with your work. This is an in class assignment for the next three lessons. Assignment due Nov. 26
Assignment #7-Chanukah-Kahoots game testing knowledge of Chanukah. Research the topic of the Menorah of the Temple using google. Find out how big it was, how it was lit daily, what happened to it, what is the connection to the Chanukah story, where the Menorah is today.
Assignment #8-Review of the laws of the shomerim-Shomer Chinam- no pay, not responsible for loss or theft, accident, but is liable for negligence.
Shomer Sachar- paid, responsible for loss and theft, not responsible for accident, liable for negligence.
Socher- pays rent to use an object- liable for theft and loss, not responsible for accident, liable for negligence.
Shoel-Borrower-liable for everything including accident,unless owner is with him at time he is using it.
Take your answers about Joshua and Marty and identify your answers with the specific shomer described above.
Can one who watches something for somebody else use if for personal use? How much care should one give in watching something for somebody? Does it matter if the shomer is paid or not?
MIketz- Did Joseph do the right thing by not telling his brothers he was alive? Did his dreams come true?
Review of previous assignment dealing with the Shomrim and the cases of Joshua and Marty.
Assignment #9-Review of the laws of the shomrim.
New topic-Tzedakah- What is tzedekah? Why do we give charity?
Analysis of the eight steps of charity according to Maimonides. Do you agree or disagree with his steps and their order?
From worse to best: Source-Maimonides, Mishne Torah, 10:7-14.
- Person gives unwillingly.
- Person doesn’t give enough, but gives with a smile.
- Person gives only after being asked.
- Person gives before being asked.
- Person does not know who is receiving the money, but the poor person knows who gave him the money.
- Person knows who is receiving his money, but the poor person does not know who gave it to him.
- Both the one who gives, and the one who receives the money, do not know each other. Everything happens secretly.
- Person finds the poor person a job, or gives him a loan. or enters into a partnership with him.
Assignment based on the study of Tzedakah Groups of 3-4 to work on the following:
You as the leaders of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and you have received a gift of $100,000 to donate to various causes. What questions would you ask of those that would approach you for money for their cause? List the types of charitable groups that could approach you for money, e.g., hospital, school, etc. Would you only give to Jewish causes, non-Jewish causes,mixture of both? How would you know what causes are legitimate and which ones are not? How would you distribute the money to the various causes which approach you?
Assignment #10- Sefaria, Book of Exodus (Shemot) chapter 19
Review of the exodus from Egypt and the drowning of the Egyptians at the Red Sea
Chapter 19- At Mount Sinai. Answer the following questions based on the text:
In which month did Bnei Yisrael arrive in the Sinai desert?
What do you think it means that Hashem carried the people of Israel on wings of eagles?
What does it mean that we are the ‘chosen people of G-d’ (verses 5-6). Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Assignment #11- Review of the laws of kashrut: What is kosher, and what is not? What are the kosher symbols of meat and fish, chicken? What are the restrictions in terms of meat and milk together? Begin with a discussion regarding the following areas of kashrut: baked goods, processed foods, dairy items, wine, kashrut supervision, vegetables and fruits, developing the kosher kitchen, shechita, melichah, kashering of meat, liver, tevillat keilim,kashering of utensils.
Assignment #12- What kinds of kashrut issues can come up with food products, restaurants? What kinds of ingredients present kashrut problems? Why are some cheeses kosher and some are not? What is chalav yisrael, and why are some Jews particular about only eating chalav yisrael? What is glatt kosher in reference to meat?
Assignment #13-Exodus, chapter 19-In which month did the people of Israel arrive at Mount Sinai? What were they to receive at Mount Sinai?
Who is called Beit Yaakov, and who is called Bnai Yisrael?
What does the Torah use two different words in how the law shall be taught to the people of Israel? Tomar-Beit Yaakov, Taged-Bnai Yisrael?
What do you think it means when the sentence says that Hashem carried the people of Israel on wings of eagles?
The Torah calls the Jews the Chosen People. What does that mean?Do you agree or disagree with the title?
Answers for above questions due on Wed, Jan,24
Assignment #14-Examination of the Ten Commandments. What does each one mean? Have students come up with questions about G-d’s existence, an exercise that can be done in groups of 2-3
finding mount sinai-see various maps and videos
Assignment #15-We look at the Yigdal prayer which is the song based on the Rambam’ s 13 principles of faith.
Sing Yigdal and examine the key points of the prayer.
Mishpatim-Concept of Beit Din -google term and report back on finding. What does a Beit Din, and what areas of Halacha is it involved in?
Concept of the Hebrew slave-How do you react when you read about the Hebrew slave? Using Sefaria to identify the laws conneced to this person. What questions could you ask about this concept?
Wednesday, Jan.30-mishpatim, continued. Study of the Ir Miklat, kidnapping, types of damages paid for injuries- Damage, agony, medical costs, time lost from work, humiliation. If you were a judge, how would you penalize somebody who injured somebody else?
What is the concept of an eye for an eye?
Four levels of damage- Shor, Bor, Maveh, Hever
Continuation on parshat hashvua- laws of kashrut about mixing meat and milk. Chapter 24- Naaseh venishma. The Torah says that Nadav, Avihu and 70 elders of Israel saw G-d. What does this mean? Conversion of the Jews to Judaism in the Torah. How does it happen today?
Feb.4-shema- meaning of shema, eid, echad, baruch shem kevod malchuto, veahavta. Closing of eyes for recitation of shema-why? Experiment with the closing of the eyes during recitation of that line. What do you feel? What goes through your mind on reciting first line of shema? Why do we repeat it if we are not concentrating on the line? How do you love Hashem? Connect to Yigdal prayer.
Torah- chapter 24 of mishpatim- read through sentences. Ask to visualize what Nadav and Avihu and others saw. Draw it or describe it.
Feb.6- what does the vision of the sapphire stone symbolize? Read through the text of chapter 24 regarding Moshe’ ascending Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. Develop questions based on the text.
Feb. 11-Golden Calf incident. Summarize the end of mishpatim with Moshe ascending Mt Sinai for 40 days and his failure to come down at the end of that period. Chapter 32-reaction of Hebrews. Questions to ask about Torah account.- use of text Sefaria/
Analysis of the Book of Esther-Review of events in the chapters of the book with the use of Sefaria.
Feb, 27-Looking at the concept of tefillah. Questions: what is prayer? concept of keva and kavannah, using the words of the siddur or our own words. Study of tefillah as composed by Moshe to save Jews after the Golden Calf incident.
Continuation in the Megillah-review and questions on text of chapter 2.
Mar.4- continuation in the megilla and examination of tefilla and its concepts with use of siddur. (lesson plan on tefillah). Review of the Golden Calf event with the continuation in regard to what actually happened with Aaron’s participation in the making of the calf. Examining the psukim in chapter 32 of Shemot.
Mar.13- Questions for review on the Golden Calf incident:
Why did the people want Aharon to make a god to replace Moshe?
Why did Aharon ask the people to remove their gold?
How could the people believe that the golden calf Aharon made took them out of Egypt?
How did the people celebrate the making of the calf?
Why does Hashem refer to the people as Moshe’s nation? Why does Moshe refer to the people as Hashem’s people?
How does Moshe react to Hashem’s statement to destroy the people?
Continuation with megillat Esther
chapter 5- preparations by Haman, Esther’s private party with the king and Haman
Chapter 6- Beginning of downfall of Haman
Mar.15- Review of the laws of the holiday of Purim -megillah, mishloach manot, seuday, matanot laevyonim,machatzit hashekel
Continuation in review of text of Golden Calf looking at the prayer of Moshe and speaking as to how Moshe’s prayer inspires us in tefillah today. What arguments does Moshe use to ‘persuade’ Hashem not to destroy the people?
Parshat Hashavua-Vayikra- shabbat Zachor – importance of listening to word of maftir and connection to our times.
Mar. 18- continuation of text in Exodus 32 referring to Golden Calf incident. Review of texts and explanations of those texts. Examination of role of Aharon in making the Golden Calf. Debate regarding that involvement using text. Was he right or wrong, and if wrong, why was he not punished and deprived the right to be Kohen Gadol?
Review of laws of Purim.
Beginning of study of Hilchot Pesach-Usage of texts from Shemot starting with chapter 12 dealing with the laws of Korban Pesach.
Parshat Hashavua-Tzav, birkat Hagomel
Terms connected to hoiiday of Pesach – Biur, bitul, bedikat chamet
Mar. 29- Parshat Hashavua- Shmini and Parashat Parah dealing with the topics of the deaths of Aaron’s two sons, kashrut, the concepts of tumah and taharah both at the end of Shmini and Parah.
April 1- Laws of Pesach=preparing the house for Pesach-cleaning, kashering, bedikah- biur-bitul chametz. Definition of chametz- Chametz be’en, taaruvet chametz, chametz bemashehu, mechirat chametz, Types of kashering- libun, hagaloh, irui, milui veirui,
April 10-Pesach-Laws of the seder- review of the various steps of the Haggadah using the Sefaria text to analyze the following: Items on seder plate and reasoning behind them, how to prepare them. Kadesh- laws of the four cups of wine, size of cup, how much to drink, type of wine or grape juice used. Concept of reclining on left side and reason. To what parts of the seder does reclining apply? What to do this year on Friday night re:Kiddush and Havdalah on Saturday night. When to light candles first and second nights of Pesach. Why do we wash our hands prior to the eating of the karpas? The four questions and why we ask them. Concept-Magid.
Develop questions to ask your parents about the seder: Use Sefaria as a source for Pesach Haggada. How many can you come up with?
Continuation with the seder- draw a comparison between the four questions that we say with those mentioned in the mishna. What differences are there?
What interpretations could you come up with about the four children mentioned in the Haggada? Look at their questions or lack thereof and the answers given to them. Are they satisfactory?
Look at the paragraph of Vehi She-amdah, What is the message and is it true today?
What are the ten plagues, and what do we do to symbolize them?
What is dayenu about?
Describe the procedures of rachtzah, motzi matza, maror, korech.
April 29- Continuation in sefer Shemot- chapter 32- review of what happened in regard to the Golden Calf incident. Questions to examine in regard to what happened: Why did Aaron agree to build this idol in the first place? Why didn’t he give up his life as others have done after him in Jewish history, e.g., Crusades, inquisition, etc.
May 1-Why didn’t Moshe kill Aaron? Why did he pray for him instead? Did Bnei Yisrael trick Aharon into building the golden calf? How does Moshe react? Why does he smash the tablets? Did he do the right thing in smashing the tablets that Hashem made? Should Hashem have punished Moshe for smashing the tablets? What argument does Moshe use to persuade Hashem not to punish Israel for bowing down to the calf? Why would Moshe pray to Hashem to spare the people of israel from destruction, and still smash the tablets? Why did Moshe force the people of Israel to drink from the ashes of the destroyed golden calf?
May 3- Parshat Hashavua-Acharei Mot- Seder Haavodah, shechutei chutz, not to eat blood of animal, imitating outside world-ok or not ok, relationships.
May 6- Golden Calf incident continued-Describe the tablets that Moshe broke. What miracles were noted with the original tablets? Why did Moshe want to know everything about the essence of Hashem? What does Hashem answer him? What does it mean that Hashem wlll show him His back>
Concepts of Menuval Birshut HaTorah, kedusha, morah av vaem, lifnei iver, tzedek bamishpat uvamishkal, lo taamod, hochacha, vehavta leraacha comacha, shaatnez, grudges.
May 12- Exodus, chapter 33, sentences-Why does Moshe ask Hashem to show him all that there is to know about Hashem? Why does Hashem refuse to do that? What does Hashem show Moshe? Why does Moshe not want an ordinary angel to guide the people of Israel in the desert? What do you think it means that Hashem will only show Moshe His back and not his front? Why do you think Rashi says that Hashem will show Moshe the back knot of the tefillin? ?
May 22-Preparation for Shavuot- What is shavuot? why do we celebrate it? Why does the Torah not give a specific date for the holiday? What day of what month is it celebrated? How many days of the Omer are there? What happened on Shavuot? Why is Divine Revelation so important in Judaism? What are some of the Ten Commandments? Why is it customary to eat dairy on Shavuot? What are some of the names given to this holiday and why? Why do people stay up all night and learn Torah the first night of Shavuot? Why is it customary to eat dairy on this holiday? Why do we read the book of Ruth on Shavuot?
Book of Ruth- Who was Ruth? What is her connection to the holiday of Shavuot? What do we understand from her comments to Naomi about converting to Judaism? What is the connection between the conversion story of Ruth to modern day conversion issues? Why is Ruth known as the prime example of Chesed?
review of texts-Shemot 19-20, Ruth 1-4
June 3-Continuation in book of Ruth in chapter 2 looking at the concept of Chesed. What is chesed? Have students break into groups, research and present ideas of chesed.
Continuation in Shemot 33- Concept of Kel rachum vechanun- 13 traits of Hashem, and how we are supposed to emulate them. Why does Hashem show Moshe that about Himself, and does not fully reveal his glory? What does it mean that Hashem says that one can only see Hashem’s knot on the back of the tefillin shel rosh?
parashat hashavua-bemidbar-census -story of king david end of shmuel bet chapter 24
Choose a topic and research it:
Why is Shavuot Chag Habikkurim, holiday of first fruits?
Why do we read megillat Ruth on Shavuot?
Why do we eat dairy on Shavuot?
What is Akdamut about?
What is Tikkun Leil Shavuot, and why do people do it?
June 12- analysis of reasons for the fast of 17th of Tammuz and 9Av. massechet taanit last perek- research topics
June 17- shemot, chapter 33-34-Kevod Hashem, 13 middot of Hashem, Hashem’s tefillin knot.