Social Action and Responsibility 6

  • 60 minutes
  • Grades: 9-12
  • Lesson Plan

by: Mark Rosenberg

Students review basic terms (chesed and tzeddakah) and are given their final assignment—-to research and produce a written or video advertisement for their favorite tikkun olam cause.

Introduction

This lesson concludes the unit on social responsibility and action. Students review basic terms (chesed and tzeddakah) and are given their final assignment, to research and produce a written or video advertisement for their favorite tikkun olam cause.

Lesson objectives

Students will able to:

  1. Define Chesed and Tzedakah.
  2. Differentiate between Chesed and Tzedakah.
  3. Identify similarities between Chesed and Tzedakah.
  4. Explain the meaning of Devarim 16:20.
  5. Create an advertisement for a tikkun olam cause that explains how it affects the individual, community, society and the world.

Terms

Chessed

Tzeddakah

Resources & Equipment needed

Worksheets

Procedure

1. Source study: What are the differences between Chesed and Tzedakah? (10 minutes) To review the definitions of Chesed and Tzedakah, read the text of the Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 49b. The text outlines three differences between Chesed and Tzedakah. Discuss the similarities and differences between Chesed and Tzedakah. Both try to help people, are positive/good actions, or show that you care. Tzedakah, however, is limited to the amount of money you can give, while the possibilities of Chesed are infinite. Now draw the following table on the blackboard and brainstorm with the students to fill in the table: Tzedakah examples Chesed examples With money Without money To poor To rich To living To dead

Some ideas: Tzedakah examples Chesed examples With money Giving money to a scholarship fund Organizing a food drive and giving the initial food donation Without money Greeting someone warmly To poor Buying a hot meal for a poor person Opening a door, inviting them to a meal that you cooked To rich Picking up and returning something that the wealthy person dropped, helping them do a mitzvah To living Give money for a poor person’s surgery Donating a kidney for surgery To dead Making sure they are buried according to Jewish law (this is called “chesed shel emet” because the person cannot return the kindness) Ask the students: which is the greater act: donating a kidney or giving money for a kidney operation? The donation of money is very helpful and would allow the surgery to take place. It would also impede the financial comfort of the donor for years to come. However, the person could return the money later on. The sacrifice of a limb and personal health makes the donated kidney a true act of Chesed because the donor would never be able to return the kidney. Remind the students of Avraham’s behavior. He welcomed his guests who were total strangers and never considered that he would be repaid. This is an example of true chesed.

2. Source Study: Creating a just society (8 minutes) Now read Devarim 16:20. Students may be familiar with the first few words of the sentence. The text serves as a good mantra for the students to remember and guide them in future. Ask the students to look carefully at the sentence. It is an if…then sentence. What do we have to do to inherit the land? Why? We have to pursue justice. Presumably if we do not then we are not worthy to be in the land that God gave us. Why do the students think that the word tzedek or justice is repeated twice? Some possibilities: 1) for emphasis – to show the importance of justice 2) no matter what obstacles stands in our way, they can not be an excuse 3) the ends do not justify the means – we must pursue justice in a just way – do not commit a crime to do good.

3. Final Assignment – Describe the unit assignment briefly. Students should research a tikkun olam cause (either a chesed or tzeddakah) – that will impact yourself, your community, your society and the world at large. (See the diagram of the individual, community, society and the world in lesson 5 appendix). They should create an advertising poster or a short video advertisement (up to 45 seconds) that will market your personal Tikun Olam initiative. It should include a slogan, some introductory information about the cause and also describe why the cause was chosen and how it will impact yourself, your community, your society and the world at large. Go through the rubric with the students and take any questions. Any remaining time should be given to the students to begin the assignment and conference with the teacher. Assignments should be submitted in a week’s time. Teachers may take all or the best submissions and hang them in the school hallway or upload them onto the school website. Students may wish to start a campaign to raise money or awareness for their cause.

Appendices

The Lookstein Center