1. Matan Torah - Giving of the Torah
Build a lesson around this theme, emphasizing aspects associated with the fact that the Torah was given to the entire people of Israel, not to one special person. At the moment of its giving, the entire people became prophets.
Explore: The importance of physical and emotional preparation to receive the Torah.
How would your students prepare themselves for such an event?
Discuss: The sense of anticipation and anxiety about the unknown in any situation and apply it to the above context.
Discuss or role play: Conversations about: how the literal interpretation of the Ten Commandments would have impacted on everyone, after they heard them.
2. Asseret Hadibrot - The Ten Commandments
The focus here is the Jewish tradition of interpretation of the Commandments, in addition to their universal nature. Using the simulation ideas below, examine the universal aspects and then set
them against the Jewish interpretations in the previous file.
Divide the class or group into 2 sets of participants [double the subsets, if you have a large group], so that each group is no more than 6 or 7 people.
Each group receives their separate identity, but an identical situation card/assignment [below], together with a copy of the Ten Commandments.
They have ten minutes to first analyze the Commandments in the light of their own morality, then draft their reaction to them.
Your spaceship has just landed on an inhabited planet, but outside the fertile or built-up areas, to avoid being detected. You are in a desert peninsula in the northern hemisphere in between several large land masses; you are at the top of a small mountain.
As you prepare to leave the spaceship in a mobile craft, your scanner picks up a strange image: two tablets of stone with some writing on them - and through them. Your computer interprets them from the ancient Hebrew and issues you the text [see the "Ten Commandments"]. You delay your exploration.
You realize that this is a technologically advanced world from satellite reconnaissance, but these stone tablets are primitive. Evaluate:
- What do they tell you about this society?
- Do you agree with this code of conduct and would you like to make contact with the society?
- What could you gain from or give to this society?
You have ten minutes to decide whether to investigate, or to leave the planet.
Identity Card - Group Aleph:
You come from a planet where intelligent life and machines coexist, based on a logical code, with which everyone complies freely. Your society is impeccably organized and entirely harmonious. It is disease-free, its life-forms disease-protected, with a life-expectancy of 300 years. Everyone is skilled in some special field and rotates through all the mundane jobs at some point in their life cycle.
Please read the situation card carefully and decide your response.
Identity Card - Group Bet:
You come from a distant star system where many life-forms have developed, with their own codes. Your own life-form has been dominant for millenia because of its intellectual capacity and utilization of machines. Most of the other life forms have fled to the far reaches of your planet. Apart from these areas, life is disease-free, disease-protected and life-expectancy reaches about 300 years.
Your society bases its success on instinct, although the armed forces -- of which the space command is a branch -- are highly disciplined within a hierarchical command. Outside this framework, you may operate as you see fit.
Please read the situation card carefully, and analyze it; then decide your response.
3. Megillat Ruth - The Book of Ruth
The custom of reading the Book of Ruth on Shavuot [the second day of the Festival in the Diaspora] was established because:
a. Ruth accepted the Torah voluntarily, as did the entire People of Israel.
b. King David, Ruth's great grandson, was born and died on Shavuot.
c. The major events in the Book of Ruth took place around the time of Shavuot.
The Book of Ruth lends itself easily to dramatization and the text has literary qualities which enhance the study of its story and messages.