Birkat Hamazon 5

  • 50 minutes
  • Grades: 7-8
  • Lesson Plan

by: Daniel Rose

In this lesson, students will explore the idea that God the provider of all things, including food. Birkat Hamazon will be seen as a means of showing gratitude for the food that God has provided.

Lesson objectives

Content: Students will be able to…

1. Identify God as the source of all things, including food.

2. Find examples of this in Birkat Hamazon.

3. Explain that man works in a partnership with God to create things.

4. Provide examples from his/her own life that demonstrate this.

5. Find examples of gratitude in Birkat Hamazon.

Skills

1. Read the first paragraph of Birkat Hamazon with understanding.

Values

1. Appreciate that Judaism maintains that God is the source of all things, including food.
2. Appreciate that man works in a partnership with God.
3. Relate the concept of God-man partnership to his/her own life.
4. Appreciate the importance of showing gratitude.

Resources & Equipment needed

Copies of Birkat Hamazon

Paper and writing utensils for each student

The ‘prayers’ that the students wrote as homework for lesson one

Procedure

Procedure
1. Ask students to draw themselves on a piece of paper. Then ask them to map their lives and personalities, by drawing details on the map. This could include their favorite things (e.g. food, drawn near the mouth), hobbies (e.g. soccer, near the foot or music, near the ear), etc.

2. Discuss where God fits into all the things that are in the lives of the students. Search for this concept in the text of Birkat Hamazon (see first blessing). God is the source of all things (even talent, opportunities, physical gifts, and wealth). Read the first paragraph together in class and discuss.

3. Challenge these ideas (if the students have not already): Why bother going to work if it all comes from God? Why bother trying to progress and achieve if God decides who and what we will be? Don’t we have food because of nature and man? Isn’t it man who creates things like technology, not God?

4. Discuss with the class the idea of a partnership between God and man. God provides an infrastructure and man works with it to better himself and society. It is up to man to harness the potential he was born with, both on an individual and a societal level. On an individual level, if a person is born with an extraordinary musical talent, he still will not be able to play musical instruments without practicing diligently. On a societal level, society has to organize food production, by planting fields and harvesting them, but God provides the natural conditions for this to happen (climate, etc.).

5. Discuss gratitude, why it is important and how to show it.

6. Ask students to volunteer to read out part of the “prayers” that they wrote in lesson 1 that show gratitude.

7. Explain how gratitude is a major theme in Birkat Hamazon. Ask students to provide a few textual examples of gratitude found in Birkat Hamazon. Conclude.

8. Homework: Students should list all the things in their lives that they need to be grateful for. Next to each one, students should write what s/he puts into achieving it, and what God puts into it.

Appendices