Birkat Hamazon 7

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

by: Daniel Rose

In this lesson, students will examine Birkat Hamazon as an inspiration for caring for the environment. Students will will study sources pertaining to Judaism’s approach to environmental ethics.

Lesson objectives

Content: Students will be able to…

1. Describe the conflicts involved in the environmental issue that was discussed in class.

2. Describe the content of the sources studied.

3. Define sustainable development.

4. Explain the how Birkat Hamazon and the sources studied imply that man has a responsibility to protect the world.

5. Use the sources to attempt to solve the conflicts in the environmental issue that was described in class.

Skills

Students will be able to…

1. develop hevrutah study skills

2. develop text analysis skills

Values

Students will be able to…

1. Appreciate that since all things come from God, we have a direct responsibility to look after the world.

Resources & Equipment needed

Copies of Birkat Hamazon, example of a current world or local environmental issue that is faced today (newspaper article, online article, etc.), worksheets.

Procedure

1. Present a current international, national or local environmental issue for the class to discuss. What should be done? Make sure the students become sensitive to the different agendas that clash (e.g. commercial vs. environmental).

2. Ask them to look at the text of Birkat Hamazon for the Jewish view on environmental issues. The theme in the first paragraph is that God is source of everything, while the second blessing centers around sensitivity to the land. Discuss the implications of this. Does man have a responsibility to protect the earth that God gave us?

3. Split class into havrutot and hand out worksheet. Have students work through the questions, focusing on the relationship between man and the environment. Discuss as a class.

4. Conclude the discussion with reference to the original environmental issue that was presented at the beginning, applying all new knowledge from the sources studied.

Appendices