Birkat Hamazon 9

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

by: Daniel Rose

In this lesson students will explore different approaches towards mitzvot and apply them to Birkat Hamazon. The concept, role and purpose of mitzvot will be examined.

Lesson objectives

Content: The student will be able to:

1. Explain in detail, the source assigned to his/her group.

2. Explain in general, the sources assigned to other groups.

3. Describe how the approaches in the sources can be applied to Birkat Hamazon.

Skills

The student will be able to:

1. Work cooperatively in a group.

2. Plan a debate argument based on sources.

3. Participate in a debate.

Values

The student will:

1. Appreciate the various reasons for keeping the mitzvot.

Resources & Equipment needed

Source sheets.

Procedure

1. Tell students about your favorite mitzvah. Then discuss the favorite mitzvot of the students and why they observe those mitzvot.

2. Discussion of the role that mitzvot can and do (or do not) play in the lives of the students.

3. Split the class into five groups, each taking a position on why they keep mitzvot. The students will have ten minutes to prepare their arguments in a debate as to why it is important to keep mitzvot. Each group will be given a textual source to support its argument (one section of the worksheet). The group should read the source and plan its argument. Group one will keep mitzvot because of the mystical and spiritual benefit they offer to the universe and God. Group two will keep mitzvot because humans benefit practically (both physically and spiritually) by doing them. Group three will keep mitzvot because they have a beneficial effect on the unity and cultural well being of the Jewish People. Group four will keep mitzvot because they were commanded to by God (and no other reason), and group five will keep mitzvot because they will be rewarded for doing them. Note: Some of the students may have difficulty understanding the text. Visit each group and make sure they understand their text properly.

4. Chair the debate. Make sure the students keep to their assigned positions, until you decide to hear what they really think on these issues. (Ensure that the students see the validity in ALL the positions).

5. Now speak about Birkat Hamazon. Ask why each group would decide to practice this specific mitzvah? Then ask whether they would and why.

6. Conclude.

7. Homework: Each student should choose a mitzvah that he practices and explain his rationale for doing so. The student should make use of the sources and ideas brought up in the lesson.

Appendices