Milchemet Hamelachim, Part 1

  • 40 minutes
  • Grades: 2-3
  • Lesson Plan
  • by: Semadar Goldstein

Four-lesson unit on Bereshit 14: 1-24. Students participate in multiple intelligences exercises in order to understand the battle of the kings. Includes worksheets.

Bereshit, 14:1-24

Lesson objectives

Students will be able to:

1.Describe how the kings got involved in the battle (e.g. jealous of leadership).
2. Describe how the kings developed their alliances.
3. Explain how Sedom and Amora fell into pits.
4. Relate how the rest of their group escaped to the mountains.
5. Relate the victory of the Kedorlaomer alliance.
6. Describe how the Kedorlaomer alliance took its enemy’s belongings and disappeared.


Students will be able to:
1. Identify Biblical words meaning “to fight”.


Students will be able to:
1. Appreciate the consequences/horrors of war.
2. Appreciate God’s special assistance to Kedorlaomer’s alliance on the battlefield.



1. Spoils of war /רכוש

2. Fleeing as a consequence of losing a battle






rebelled (fought against existing leadership)



and they fought



and they fought with them in battle

ויערכו אתם מלחמה


construction pits

בארות בארות חמר


and they fled



and they fell there

ויפלו שמה


the rest fled to a mountain

והנשארים הרה נסו






Resources & Equipment needed

Vocabulary binder/workbook, blackboard, highlighter pens/pencil.


I. Teacher Preparation Optional Record self or other fluent reader reading verses 1-12. Write the vocabulary chart on the board.

II. Textual Reading (verses 1-3) Play recording or begin reading. See appendix. Draw the kings on the board as recording plays/someone reads verses 1-3. As each king is mentioned, draw his name in the face and the name of his kingdom in a crown on his head. As you read/play verse 2, divide chalkboard into 2 with a sword. Inside the sword, write “עשו מלחמה”.

III. Check for Comprehension T Who is the head of Group A? S: Kedorlaomer. T: Who is the head of Group B? S: Sedom and Amora. T: Which group waged war the group? S: Kedorlaomer’s kings against Sedom and Amora.

IV. Battle Word Search Students should highlight the vocabulary words in their texts. Hand out worksheet (see appendix). (You may also want a similar setup on the blackboard. If so, erase everything on the board until now except the vocabulary list. Draw a sword on the board and write “Battle Words” on top.) Students should identify the war/battle words/phrases from the vocabulary list and copy them into the swords. Give them a few minutes to complete this exercise and then review. Answers: מרדו, ויכו, ויערכו אתם מלחמה, ויפלו שמה. The word וינסו can also be considered a war word. You may wish to write the word in the handle of the sword, since it is not a direct indication of fighting, but a consequence.

V. Textual Reading and Review T After all this fighting, who is winning? Read the beginning of verse 10 and translate. What can happen if you are running quickly and not looking where you are going and there is a pit in front of you? (demonstrate) S: You fall!!! T: Class, read the next few words of the verse with me, aloud and together…Who fell? S: Kings of Sedom and Amora! T: What happened to the rest of King Group B? Let’s finish the rest of the verse! S: They fled. T: Where? S: To the mountains. T: Which word means ‘to the mountains?’ S: הרה. Q: Who won the battle, Kedorlaomer’s Group or Sedom and Amora’s Group? A: Kedorlaomer’s Group. Q: What happened to Kings of Sedom and Amora? A: They fell into pits. Q: What happened to the rest of their King Group? A: They fled to the mountains. Q: In which verse is this written? A: 10.

VI. ‘Consequences of War’ Discussion T: What do you think happened to all the רכוש of the Kings of Sedom and Amora? First of all, what’s רכוש? S (Looking at board): Property. T: Let’s read verse 11…What happened to their property? S: They took it. T: Who is ‘they?’ S: The enemy – Kedorlaomer’s group. T: In this case, רכוש is special property – called ‘spoils of war.’ When you lose a war, all your belongings suddenly become a bonus for the winning team. Would you like that kind of war? Someone you don’t like comes, chases you away from your home, keeps you captive and takes all your belongings and doesn’t give you anything in return? S: No. T: Would anyone like it? S: Maybe the person who gets all the property for free. T: So no one really enjoys war. The loser certainly doesn’t. He loses his home, family, has to run away. What else happens to him? S: He might fall into a pit and get hurt. S: He might die. S: Or get taken captive. T: And he might not get saved so quickly either. Lot was lucky that Avram went after him so quickly and was successful. And what would the winner of the war be concerned about? S: He has to worry all the time if his enemy will return and attack him. S: The losers will want to come get their stuff back. T: Let’ continue. (Read verse 11). What else did they take? S: All their food. T: Where did they go ? S: They left.

VII. Discussion on Significance of Victory Which group of kings had more men – Kedorlaomer’s or Sedom and Amora’s? S: Sedom and Amora’s – they had 5 Kings altogether. Kedorlaomer’s only had 4. T: Who usually wins a war, the larger or smaller group? S: Larger. T: Why did Kedorlaomer’s group defeat the other kings? What could have helped him win? S: Maybe Kedorlaomer’s group knew their way around better. They could find good places to attack from. T: Good. That’s called strategy. Chart these responses on the board. S: Maybe Kedorlaomer’s group planted those pits in secret so that Sedom and Amora would fall into them. T: Good. That’s called method of attack. S: Sedom’s group was taken by surprise and didn’t have time to plan to fight back. T: Great. That’s called surprise attack. S: Maybe Kedorlaomer’s group really really wanted to win. T: Excellent. Motivation always assists soldiers when they’re fighting. They have to believe in what they are doing to put in their best effort. Can you think of a Jewish holiday which commemorates the time when a few Jewish soldiers attacked and defeated a larger number of soldiers? S: Chanuka! T: What helped the Jews to win then? Any of the reasons you mentioned? S: Yes, they really really wanted the Beit Hamikdash back! And God helped them win because God wanted us to have it back too.

X. Conclusion T So who helped Kedorlaomer’s group win? S: God. T: Who has heard of King Kedorlaomer before today? S: Not me. T: Why isn’t he famous then? Didn’t he win the war? Wasn’t he a famous king that conquered a larger army? S: Maybe someone else came and beat him.T: Keep that in mind tomorrow when we see what happens to Kedorlaomer’s group. Class Dismissed.


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