Proposal for the Development of a Comprehensive Torah Shebe’al Peh Curriculum
One of the important fronts on which traditional Judaism meets the challenges of the modern world is Torah education. Teachers, principals, informal educators and Rabbinic leaders today are involved in an ongoing effort to present eternal Torah values in a way which will most effectively inform and inspire students growing up in a complex world. The pace of change in contemporary society is unparalleled in Jewish – indeed, in world – history; the Information Age in which we live bombards us constantly with a plethora of ideas, images, lifestyle models, and values, often to the point of overload. Can traditional educational methods prepare Jewish students growing up in such an environment to live by Torah lights?
Empirical evidence indicates that this is a pressing question:
– Jewish schools and youth frameworks throughout the world have increasingly turned to supplementary programs to inculcate basic Jewish values which traditionally were transmitted by lead educators (mechanchim) integrally within the Torah curriculum.
– Students often demonstrate far greater interest in their secular studies than in Torah learning; in a disturbing study of Israeli yeshiva high school students, a majority of the boys surveyed indicated that Gemara was their least favorite subject.
– Although recent years have seen an heartening increase in the number of students (from both Israel and the Golah) who spend a year or more learning in post-high school Torah institutions in Israel, many programs oriented towards this population have changed in educational nature from advanced studies to supplementary/ remedial learning.
These phenomena and others raise significant questions. Are today’s Jewish schools equal to the challenges of contemporary society? Are they doing all that can be done to inspire students to live by Torah values and to impart Torah literacy? Are students being accorded the opportunity they deserve to develop Jewishly – both spiritually and intellectually?
Clearly, there are many factors which affect the ability of a Jewish school to achieve its educational goals: the nature of the community in which it functions, the training, talents, and dedication of its teaching staff, and the resources which it is given to do its job. However, even before understanding how these factors affect a school, it is vital to focus on an stage which is, surprisingly, often taken for granted: identifying and understanding the true educational goals of the school in question.
In almost all Jewish schools today, the school’s goals are determined by a complex dynamic involving parents, other significant members of the community (such as rabbis and benefactors), teachers and principals. For some communities, the job of the school is to acquaint students with fundamentals of Jewish tradition and literature, and foster continued participation in the Jewish community. Many parents within the community may have only a nominal commitment to Orthodox Judaism, or none at all, choosing to send their child to an Orthodox school by default or for reasons unrelated to religious commitment. Other communities hold the school responsible for enabling students to master extensive areas of Torah knowledge. This may take the form of intensive study of Talmud or Tanach and their commentaries, with the community expecting that the school train students to be conversant in the material and its methods of study. These expectations, which interact with the ideology and educational philosophy of the school administration, define the school and what it does for its students. It would make sense that the school’s self-definition should be translated operationally into educational structures and curricula.
However, anyone familiar with the world of Torah education will confirm that cases in which a school has clearly defined its role vis a vis the community in which it functions, and really planned its curriculum – its educational essence – accordingly, are few and far between. Yet without such planning, how could any school possibly fulfill its mission?
Many educators will counter that formal planning of religious education is unnecessary. The goals of Torah education are eternal; parents and communities who do not share the ideologies of the educators deserve correction, not consideration. Traditional structures of instruction, validated by generations of use, dictate the curriculum. Inspiration to religious commitment comes not through instruction, but rather (to the extent that it derives from the school as opposed to home and community) from personal relations between students and charismatic teachers. All the rest is commentary.
Does this approach pass the test of reality? The facts cited above seem to indicate that it does not. Without in any way underestimating the great importance of enthusiastic and dedicated teachers, it must be concluded that their energy alone can not carry the ball. For one thing, educators are increasingly aware of the need for real interactive communication between school and community; unresolved dissonance between school and home can seriously undermine the educational experience. Additionally, teachers and principals require potent teaching methods to succeed in their mission.
We would like to suggest that a serious reappraisal is required of both the goals and the methods of instruction in Jewish schools around the world today. The current proposal focuses on the teaching of Torah Shebe’al Peh (TSP).
Almost all Orthodox schools are mandated to teach classical texts of TSP in one form or another, be it Talmud, Midrash, Halachah, or other works. How do teachers in these schools carry out their responsibilities? Let us consider a comparison with the teaching of a secular subject to the same students who spend their mornings in the Beit Midrash.
How would a new high-school teacher of math react if she were told, shortly before confronting classes of 11th graders with whom she is to meet for 5 hours daily, that it was her responsibility to decide what topics should be covered in her intermediate algebra and trigonometry courses that year; that she was expected to create all the requisite teaching materials and worksheets herself, no textbooks being available; that there was little or no reference material for her to consult; that much of it was in a language which she understood but was not the language in which the class was to be taught; that her college education in mathematics was only partially relevant to her subject matter; that she would be teaching without professional supervision, that there were no appropriate in-service training courses in her part of the country; that she was expected to make her students love mathematics and choose to study it in college and beyond; and that if she failed in her mission, all her students would lose their share in the World-to-Come?
Clearly, nobody would give such a beleaguered teacher much chance of success. Yet this is exactly the situation in which many Torah teachers find themselves in schools around the world.
This imaginative comparison illustrates the importance of curricula. As we noted above, curricula are in fact the active expression of the Torah goals and values of a school and of the community in which it functions. A real curriculum sets out not only details of subject matter to be studied, but also identifies the outcomes the school desires to effect, in students’ ways of life as well as in their test performance. A real curriculum guides teachers and other educators in their work. A real curriculum shows parents and pupils alike what the school expects from them and what they can expect from the school. A real curriculum is an educational vision.
We focus, therefore, on the TSP curriculum.
Point of Departure: The Philosophy of Halachah
Torah Shebe’al Peh represents the area of Torah study most directly relevant to Jewish living. In characterizing TSP in this fashion, it is not intended to limit it to the study of practical Halachah (or Dinim, as the subject in sometimes called). One fundamental claim on which this proposal is based is that using a Philosophy of Halachah approach enables TSP studies to become a complete framework of Jewish practice and belief. Aside from TSP topics which have direct practical relevance to daily life, every part of TSP – including topics considered to be abstruse- enfold countless principles and values waiting to be taught. Every sugia, no matter how technical or complexly structured,is a potential lesson in life, a prism through which to perceive the universe cognitively as well as spiritually. A teacher who has outlined the differences of opinion between views of Amoraim or Achronim have done only half the job if they have not helped their students understand the implications of those Sages’ views for a larger Torah world view.
Inspiration in Formal Education
Given this approach, another fundamental claim of this proposal will not be surprising: Inspiration to live Jewishly can be conveyed through ideas that can be studied formally in the classroom, not only in seminars and youth activities. Many teachers feel that they spend most of their time teaching material, not teaching students. One reason for their frustration is that the way they are expected to teach TSP (and Tanach, for that matter) is not conducive to addressing spiritual issues or to motivating students to a higher level of commitment to Torah living. It is our contention that this need not be the case, and that with the right curricular focus teachers will be able to be mechanchim all the time.
A curricular corollary of this idea is that the distinction which is found in some schools between Machshevet Yisrael and Torah Shebe’al Peh is artificial, and must be swept away in favor of a comprehensive Torah world view which emerges naturally from a Halachic way of life and the sources which inform it. Selections from works of TSP and Machshevet Yisrael must be fully integrated in order to enable them to have the full impact they deserve.
Another fundamental point of departure of this curriculum proposal is a reevaluation of what outcomes TSP studies should and can honestly hope to achieve by the end of high school.
The first general outcome-goal of this curriculum is that the student have the motivation to live a life of Torah and Mitzvot. Given the wide range of levels of commitment to Torah among families who send their children to Jewish schools, and significant individual differences among students, this outcome-goal is ambitious.
The second general outcome-goal of this curriculum is that each student should have acquired a command of TSP concepts which are necessary for living a full Jewish life. That is to say that even if students do not acquire further formal Torah education, the knowledge with which they leave high school should enable them to appreciate, take part in, and achieve spiritual growth through Torah and Mitzvot.
The third outcome-goal is to motivate and enable students to continue their TSP learning. There are two areas in which this outcome might be seen:
(1) Post-high-school yeshiva/seminary study. Students are much more likely to continue their formal Torah studies if they have had a positive learning experience in high school. Additionally, in order for students to succeed in their advanced studies, they need to be prepared with conceptual knowledge and skills. The more students bring to the yeshiva/seminary, the more they will get out of their learning there.
(2) Life-long Torah learning. Although there has been a blessed increase in the number of individuals who are kove’a itim leTorah, the number of people who will learn Gemara on their own, solely on the basis of their high-school Talmud training is small. Therefore, the outcomes-goals in this category should be:
(A) To motivate and enable students to continue learning by participating in shiurim in their campuses and communities – something which a positive learning experience will greatly facilitate.
(B) To motivate and enable students to read popular Torah literature, such as works on topics in Halachah and Jewish thought, increasingly available in the vernacular.
(C) To motivate and enable students to study classic Torah texts, such as Mishnah and Rambam, which can be attempted even by those who have not mastered the art of independent Talmud study.
The Comprehensive Topical Approach
We believe that the preceding arguments clearly establish the need for true TSP curricula. “Curricula”, in plural, because we fully recognize that no single curriculum will be appropriate for every Jewish school (more on this below). The key question is: What approach should TSP curricula take to meet the educational challenges we have presented?
The answer of this proposal is that TSP should be taught with a Comprehensive Topical approach. Comprehensive, in that the goal of the curriculum should be to introduce students to as wide a range as possible of TSP ideas. Topical, in that all studies should be organized thematically, and not by tractate or chapter.
Currently, many students in Gemara classes are frustrated by their inability to perceive a thread of logical structure as they proceed through the material. Few students achieve the ability to predict what twist a sugia will take on the next line. Indeed, the associative construction of the Talmud makes this a great challenge even for great scholars. While this is one of the aspects of Talmud study which makes it intellectually challenging for advanced students, educationally, on the elementary and high school level, this has the mass effect of making it almost unbearably hard for many students to enjoy their study of Talmud and be motivated to learn.
Thematic organization of learning can avoid these difficulties. The internal structure of each unit must follow logical lines which enable the student to understand the religious goals of the body of Halachah addressed by that unit, and how all of the permutations of the core ideas reflect efforts by the Sages to apply sublime Halachic concepts to many different real-life situations, or to develop them intellectually so that they reveal the Torah’s view of the world.
Attached to this proposal is a very preliminary and tentative outline of 24 topical units which can serve as the basis of a six-year TSP curriculum, which might be employed in 7-12th grades. We hope that this first step can serve as the basis of a discussion among educators regarding the key TSP ideas which we have the obligation to share with all students by the time they graduate high school.
In many schools, creative teachers have prepared and taught classes based on topical presentations of themes in Halachah or Machshavah. The current proposal recognizes the value of such work, and claims that it becomes most significant when it is transformed from a supplementary activity into a comprehensive approach to the teaching of TSP.
Texts and Sources
Many Jewish educators have a strong inclination towards teaching TSP using basic Talmudic material studied in serial fashion. The study material for sixth grade is the fourth chapter of Berachot; for the eleventh grade, the first chapter of Ketubot, etc. Some educators believe that since this was the traditional method in which study has been conducted in many great Yeshivot, it is mandatory for all levels of instruction. Other educators believe that it is vital to accustom students to studying in this fashion so that they will be prepared to study Talmud independently throughout their lives.
The Comprehensive Topical approach which this proposal advocates is based on some serious reservations about each of these notions. We have already noted the observation that this method of study simply does not succeed for a large number of students, that it exposes students to a very limited range of great Torah ideas, and that it does not facilitate values education in the classroom.
Each topical unit of the proposed curriculum presents a series of TSP concepts. The materials included in each unit should simply be those which best explicate the ideas chosen for presentation. A wide range of sources may be exploited for this purpose. A particular concept in Hilchot Tefillah may be best expressed through a combination of Mishnah, Yerushalmi, a comment of Radak on Tehillim, a selection from Shibolei Haleket, a gloss of the Rema and a portion of a sicha by the late Lubavicher Rebbe. An idea in business ethics may be conveyed most readily by an entire amud of Bavli, studied with Rashi, and a piece from the K’tzot Hachoshen which has been annotated to enable students to read it on their own. Many sub-units may be based on explicated presentations of contemporary responsa which tie Halachic principles in to pressing issues of Jewish living. In each case, the most important factor in the choice of a source for inclusion should be its clarity of expression of the key target ideas.
This curriculum will integrate the Torah Shelemah approach pioneered by HaRav Menachem Kasher, zt”l, which teaches Midrashic materials to demonstrate the unity of Scripture and TSP. Additionally, Aggadicmaterials will be integrated into topical units as appropriate. This will give students insight into Torah values as portrayed by the deeds and sayings of the Sages. For example, though the Halachic locus of Tanuro shel Achnai is in a technical point in Toharot which would ordinarily not be incorporated into such a curriculum, there is no doubt that its message of “Lo Bashamayim He” and portrayal of the role of the Rabbis in transmitting TSP is fundamental to any understanding of TSP; a place will be found for it in some relevant context.
It is our opinion that much may be gained through the combination we have suggested of a topical approach and a multiple-sources implementation.
What About Tradition?
Some educators may object to our approach, claiming that (1) its “piecemeal” nature leaves students feeling that they have not had a learning accomplishment; that there is no work to which they can point and say “I made a siyyum on Massechet X”, (2) it is important to accustom students to learning from actual classical Torah works, and (3) it is wrong to teach in a manner different than that used in yeshivot for so many years.
The first claim, true or not, pales by comparison with the vast number of students who look back at whatever material they covered during a year without feeling that they really remember what they learned. This is, of course, a direct function of the psychological fact that learning requires a conceptual framework in which one can place newly acquired information. This is not facilitated by the associative structure of many works of TSP.
The second claim is more weighty and deserves serious consideration. In addition to the use of sourcebooks, this proposal sees great value in having students have and use key works of TSP, e.g. Mishnah, Bavli, Rambam, and Shulchan Arukh in their full editions whenever possible.
We have two responses to the third objection. The first is simply that the facts noted at the beginning of this document indicate that it is עת לעשות לה”. If the Comprehensive Topical approach which we have proposed can motivate and educate students who have been alienated from learning by their problems with traditional methods of study, we cannot deny them a connection to Torah for any reason. We firmly believe that the methods of teaching embodied in this approach are the best for addressing the wide range of students who come to school for a Jewish education.
Our second response is a creative translation of “אי אפשר לבית מדרש ללא חידוש” – “You cannot educate unless you innovate”. We believe that the Comprehensive Topical approach provides all students, weaker and stronger learners alike, with better motivation and training than Tractate-based Talmud study.
We also believe that it provides better preparation for higher yeshiva/seminary studies, overall, than Tractate-based Talmud study, because students with a broad conceptual background and better training in analytic thinking will be able to confront new materials more ably. The proposal allows for focus on reading skills in upper classes which will quickly develop qualified students’ Gemara reading ability.
The Challenge of Language
The languages of TSP are a major challenge for Torah students and teachers throughout the world. Even Israeli students have to master Aramaic, and students growing up in the Golah may also struggle with simple Hebrew texts. This proposal is of the view that linguistic competence is a requirement for serious Torah scholarship. However, we recognize that acquiring language skills is time-consuming and that for many schools intensive language studies would use up too great a portion of the time available for Torah study.
Our solution to this problem is the use of primary-source TSP study materials which best convey the ideas of interest in the linguistically simplest form. For example, extensive use of Mishnah and Rambam (in vocalized editions) may be chosen over studying Bavli; Bavli selections will be presented in vocalized editions with Hebrew and English translations; use will be made of Beit Yosef, which often provides clear and concise summaries of the views of Rishonim in clear Hebrew prose. Aramaic materials are using sparingly, generally in the later years of the curriculum, along with basic Aramaic language skills. In other words, it is suggested that students be allowed to contend with the messages of the texts rather than with linguistic challenges beyond their abilities.
Some educators claim that vocalized texts are a crutch which will leave students unable to study unvocalized texts. As far as Hebrew is concerned, it is certainly a desideratum for students to be able to read even classical (not to mention modern) Hebrew independently, and this should definitely be the goal of all schools. As far as Aramaic is concerned – vocalized texts are available for almost all of Bavli, and certainly up to the end of high school there is little to be gained by forcing students to use unvocalized texts, especially when they have not studied Aramaic grammar. Such methods, which in essence force the students to be functionally illiterate, leave the majority of students frustrated and unmotivated to learn on their own. Advanced students can make the transition to unvocalized texts in the upper classes or in post-high school study. Additionally, it is recommended that schools attempt to incorporate reading of Targum Onkelos, which is a very efficient way of building Babylonian Aramaic vocabulary (aside from fulfilling Shnaim Mikra VeEchad Targum!).
One key to successful learning is the structuring of material so that each step along the learning curve is just hard enough to challenge the student (to avoid boredom), but not so hard that the student is incapable of making the jump to the next concept (to avoid frustration). One of the most difficult aspects of TSP study is that almost none of its primary source texts provide students with such a cognitive gradient, in which they can progress through steadily more challenging materials on the way to achieving mastery of knowledge and skills. Many recent sourcebooks and workbooks surveyed in the course of the preparation of this proposal (surprisingly) share this fault.
All study materials in the current curriculum will be carefully checked for proper cognitive structure, using current developmental and cognitive psychology paradigms. On a more prosaic level, illustrations, diagrams, flow-charts, and explanation of realia will be incorporated throughout to help students master non-intuitive concepts. It is hoped that through consultation with specialists this curriculum may be produced in special editions which will facilitate its use by children with various learning disabilities.
1. Beit Midrash and Chavruta learning
These classical pillars of TSP study are often less than successful when employed on the high school level, for a number of reasons. The current proposal incorporates the use of structured Beit Midrash study, in which the students receive very detailed instructions of what to read, a “help desk” to assist them with the texts, questions to answer (in writing, which may be checked in written or oral form), questions to discuss between themselves and outlines to summarize their discussion, as well as optional tasks for more facile students.
2. Dynamic learning
The curriculum incorporates dramatic enactments of situations addressed by sources, moot courts, and living She’elot U’Tshuvot (in which the students write responsa to significant questions based on texts they have learned). It also incorporates video materials which may serve as springboards for discussion.
3. Experiential learning and resource persons
The curriculum identifies opportunities to utilize guest teachers and suggests how to take advantage of them. For example: Rabbis can tell about she’elot, religious doctors can participate in classes about medical ethics, religious psychologists can comment on halachot affecting interpersonal relations, Jewish artists can organize projects on hiddur mitzvah, To’anot Rabbaniyot can speak about women in Beit Din, mashgichei kashrut can give examples of practical kashrut questions, geriatric specialists can share some of the issues which arise in care for the elderly, etc. These encounters might occur “in the field”, adding a real-world dimension to the theoretical classroom learning. In Israel, visits to historical and archaeological sites enrich the studies (and schools in the Golah which bring their students to Israel can structure the curriculum to take the greatest advantage of their visit to tie in the Land to the Torah which they have studied and will study). Obviously every school will have a different complement of local resource people who can contribute to such activities, but most educators will be surprised at the amount of resources for enrichment they will find in their own back yards.
4. Parent Involvement
The curriculum will incorporate special activities which are designed to encourage parental involvement in their child’s learning, both in homework assignments and in parent-child learning programs.
Jewish History in the Service of TSP Education
Learning about the the Sages who were the authors of the sources and their roles in Jewish History is integrated in the curriculum. The goal of this activity is to give students an appreciation of the richness of the history of the Jewish People and to reinforce their pride in belonging to this heritage. Additionally, a dash of historical perspective will help many students understand and appreciate Halachah more intuitively.
Levels of Instruction and Modularity
The current proposal will advocate a general framework which we believe will be most effective for the majority of schools. However, in order not to force schools, classes or individual students into the Procrustean bed (מיטת סדום) of averaging, the curriculum will be structured with horizontal and vertical modularity: horizontal modularity in this case means that schools can adjust the curriculum by adding and subtracting subject units as appropriate for them, and vertical modularity means that each unit will incorporate materials of varying complexity in multiple dimensions: materials of varying linguistic complexity, from translations to the vernacular, to simplified Hebrew (Ivrit Kalah), to original Hebrew/Aramaic in translation, to full original materials, Hebrew and Aramaic; materials for each module will also be presented on a number of substantive levels, so that teachers may present a general introduction to the topic, a fuller source-based study of the topic, additional subtopics for advanced students, and challenge units for independent study and student projects.
Materials to be Generated
Student Special Projects Folders
Teacher’s Guides, incorporating Special Activities Guide
Teacher Education Sourcebooks: advanced study materials and bibliography
Portfolio of Examinations
Materials will be distributed in computer media whenever possible to enable teachers to customize materials for their schools. The material should be accessible by Internet; the project site should enable users to submit their additions and modifications which will in turn be available to all.
Implementation of the Curriculum
We envision a multi-step interactive process for the creation and implementation of the curriculum:
1. Consultation – Teachers, principals, and other educators who are interested in the approach suggested here will be invited to participate in a series of dialogues on fundamental issues, such as outcomes-goals, topics, sources and language levels. Schools which are interested in being sites for the pilot implementation of the curriculum will be invited to play a role in guiding its development. We hope that this will be an international effort.
2. Survey and evaluation of existing materials which might be incorporated into the curriculum – using the collections of Ya’acov Herzog Teachers College in Alon Shevut, Bar Ilan University, and other repositories.
3. Recruitment of Unit Authors and special resource persons. We hope that leading Torah educators and scholars will take part in this project, either in active writing or in an advisory capacity. We hope that each unit will be developed by an international team, and simultaneously written in a number of languages, so that the cultural nuances of each country in which the curriculum will be implemented are addressed integrally, and reflected in the structure of the unit in the writing process. We hope that this will avoid the problems encountered when curricula written in one language (often in Hebrew) are inappropriately transferred to other languages, without being adjusted for differences in cultural realities.
4. Design of the basic unit guidelines and dissemination among Unit Authors. This will lend a common methodical basis to all units, which will help students use the curriculum and help control for the cognitive concerns mentioned above.
5. Creation of the initial units of the first two years of the curriculum and distribution to schools who will participate in the pilot project. Teacher training programs to facilitate implementation.
6. Pilot implementation and evaluation through teacher, student, and parent feedback. Implementation of recommendations in the balance of the units.
7. Further distribution and implementation of the curriculum. Creation of courses based on the curriculum in yeshivot, seminaries, colleges, and graduate schools of education. Summer institutes for teachers.
8. Ultimately, we would like to see this curriculum adopted as a standard by schools throughout the Jewish world. This would have the effect of enabling all students in a particular grade to be learning the same topics, which could create the basis for interesting interchanges, in addition to making transitions from school to school less disorienting.
Although the process described here is not a short one, it is hoped that the curriculum which will result will provide decades of service for Jewish schools throughout the world.
It is too early at this stage to determine the financial resources which will be necessary for the creation and implementation of the curriculum. We are absolutely convinced, however, that its cost will be more than justified by the great improvement which it will bring to TSP studies in the long run.
We envision several sources of support for this project: the Israel Ministry of Education, Israeli public bodies active in Jewish Education, private foundations and individuals throughout the world who support quality Jewish Education, and individual schools, whose financial support will signal their commitment to this approach.
The Israel Studies Institute invites comments, questions, recommendations and reactions to this proposal. Communications should be addressed to:
Mr. Daniel A. Levy
The Israel Studies Institute
6 Harav Berlin St., Jerusalem, Israel 92503
Daniel A. Levy, a resident of Yerushalayim since 1980, is the Director of Academic Affairs of the Israel Studies Institute. He has taught Tanach and Torah Shebe’al Peh in high school and post-high-school yeshivot and seminaries. Dr. Levy has authored numerous educational modules for use in Israel Experience programs, and translated many works of academic Jewish studies. He learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion, holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Jewish Studies from Yeshiva University, a Ph.D. in Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
טיוטת תוכנית לימודים מודולרית להוראת תורה שבעל פה
ע”פ שיטת “הפילוסופיה של ההלכה”
הוכן ע”י דניאל לוי – המכון ללימודי ישראל, ירושלים – כסלו תשנ”ט
מצוות “בין אדם לחברו”
השבת האבידה. לא תעמוד על דם רעך. בדרכו של אברהם אבינו: הכנסת אורחים ודאגה לזולת.
המושגים “מלאכות”,”שיעורים”. עיונים במבחר מלאכות שבת דוגמת: בניה, חרישה, כתיבה, צד, קשירה והבערת אש. המושג “דרבנן”; סוגית “פיקוח נפש דוחה שבת”. נר שבת ועונג שבת.
היחס לרכוש של אחרים, גניבה וגזילה, (גניבת דעת!) יחסי שכנים.
תעניות ותקופת “בין המצרים”
תגובה ההלכתית לחורבן, עניני “זכר למקדש”. היחס לשואה בהלכה ומחשבה.
הלכות תפילה ועיון תפילה כדרך להוראת מושגי יסוד במחשבת ישראל.
עניני קידושין (טקס החתונה), אחריות הדדית במסגרת חיי נישואין. מצות כבוד אב ואם, “בן סורר ומורה”. ההלכה ופסיכולוגיה של יחסי משפחה. ירושות.
בית הכנסת וקהילה
הלכות בית הכנסת וקריאת התורה. עיונים בתפילות ציבור ודברים שבקדושה. מנהגי עדות ישראל; היחס למנהג. יחיד וציבור. תכנון ביהכנ”ס – אומנות ויהדות.
דרכי הקנין, מכירה, עניני “שמירה”, בעיות “מוסריות” בעסקים.
בתי דין, דיינים, עדות, שבועות, מערכת עונשי בית דין, הליכים משפטיים.
מתנות כהונה וקדושת הארץ
עיונים בתפקוד הכהן בבית המקדש ואחריות העם כלפי הכהן, המושג קדושת מקום: ארץ ישראל, ירושלים, הר הבית, מקום מקדש, בתי כנסת ובתי מדרש.
הפנים ההלכתיים, ההשקפתיים, והחברתיים לשימוש בלשון הקודש. עניני “שמירת הלשון”.
אישות (מעמד האישה)
עניני גיטין, יבמות/חליצה, סוטה, גיור.
מושגי טומאה וטהרה (אדם, בית, כלים), קדושה, יסודות טהרת המשפחה.
בריאות, מחלה ומוות
גדרי “ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם”, אתיקה רפואית, ביקור חולים ועניני אבל והיחס למות. אמונה בתחית המתים. דגש על עישון ותאונות דרכים. (ביקור בבי”ח שערי צדק) – רפואה ע”פ הלכה.
עניני עיר הקודש והמקדש; (סיורים באתרים ארכאולוגיים הקשורים לבית המקדש).
לבשי בגדי תפארתך
ציצית ותפילין. כיסוי ראש לגברים ולנשים. גדרי צניעות בהתנהגות ובלבוש בחברה מעורבת. שעטנז.
ביקור אצל סופר סת”ם.
העמקה בסוגיות מלאכת שבת, עניני עירובין ומוקצה. (ביקור במכון צומת)
עולמם של קורבנות
סקירה בסדר קדשים ועבודת ביהמ”ק, הקשר בין פרשת העקידה לעבודת בית המקדש.
תפילה והקרבה עצמית (קידוש ה’).
הכנת בשר חולין לאכילה (שחיטה, בדיקה, טרפות, מליחה). בשר בחלב. יסוד תערובת, איסור והיתר, תולעים, דם, ועוד. תפקידו של מורה הוראה; ביקור אצל פוסקים.
סוגיות נדרים, נזירות, שבועות ורעיון של סייגים אישיים והתחייבויות אישיות.
בין יהודים לנכרים
אמירה לנוכרי (שבת), הרחקות מעבודה זרה, (יין נסך וסתם יינם, בישול עכו”ם, “דרכי אמורי”).
“בני מיעוטים” בארץ ישראל.
מצוות התלויות בארץ ומתנות עניים
נושאי לקט, שכחה, פאה, תרומות ומעשרות, שמיטת קרקעות, שמיטת כספים, יובל, עניני צדקה.
יחסי מעביד ועובד, הונאת ממון/דברים, ריבית (בנקאות).
חג הפסח וחג המצות
ענייני חמץ ומצה. הלכות סדר פסח בימים ההם בזמן הזה.
לקט מצוות בין אדם לחברו
1. השבת אבדה
עזוב תעזוב עמו – יחס לבעלי חיים ביהדות
2. הכנסת אורחים וליווי נוסעים – בטיחות בדרכים
3. הלוואת כספים וחפצים
גמ”ח ציבורי (פעולות יחיד ומוסדות ציבור) – הקמת גמ”ח בית-ספרי
4. מצוות אהבת ישראל
לא תיקום ולא תיטור את בני עמך
לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך
מעשי חכמים – סיפור ודרמטיזציה
הסובלנות בראי ההלכה – היחס ליהודים לא דתיים
5. לפנים משורת הדין / מידת סדום
והייתם נקיים מה’ ומישראל – האדם בראי סביבתו – ניתוח סרטים
6. לא תעמוד על דם רעך – וחי אחיך עמך
אפליה מתקנת (כמה צריך אדם להקריב למען הזולת?)
7. מתן עצה וסיוע נפשי:
ייעוץ: “ומטה ידו עמך והחזקת בו…וחי עמך”
היבטים הלכתיים של עבודה בתחום בריאות הנפש – מרצה אורח
הבאת שלום בין אדם לחברו – סוציודרמה
הוכחה – “הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך”
(הערה: צדקה לעניים, ביקור חולים, הכנסת כלה, לשון הרע ורכילות, דיני נזיקין, יחסי-עובד מעביד, ומוסר במסגרת עסקית יידונו ביחידות אחרות)
1. הגדרות הלכתיות קלסיות
2. היבטים עכשיויים
3. אמצעים דידקטיים
3. הלוואת כספים וחפצים
אם כסף – חובה או רשות
איסור להימנע מלהלוות מחשש לשמיטת כספים – פרוזבול
מאמרי חז”ל בשבחה של גמילות חסדים: ריב”ז ורבי יהושע
נתוני המקבל – עשיר ועני; ישראל/נכרי; קדימה בין מבקשי הלוואה; עד כמה חייבים להלוותו; כמה פעמים; לכמה זמן.
נתוני הנותן – נשים/גברים; עד כמה משוויו חייב להלוות; נזילות;
נתוני ההלוואה – כסף וחפצים – הבדלים?
דיני משכון / עבוט. דברים שאסור למשכן אותם (לא תחבול ריחיים ורכב). דרכי גבייה המותרים והאסורים.
איסור הלוואה בריבית לישראל; הלוואה לנכרי בריבית (היבטים היסטוריים); היתר עיסקא
גמ”ח ציבורי (פעולות יחיד ומוסדות ציבור) – הקמת גמ”ח בית-ספרי