Category Archives: Bereshit_12:1-9

Discussion Plan: What is the Meaning of “Blessing”? – LPS

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Discussion Plan: What is the Meaning of “Blessing”?

  1. Can people give blessings, or only God? If people can give them, do you think there is a difference between a blessing given by God and a blessing given by a person? Explain.
  2. Can you ‘give a blessing’ without blessing someone /something?
  3. Is there a difference being blessed and being a blessing?
  4. Could you ‘be a blessing’ if you had no effect on those around you?
In Verse 3 God says:

 וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה

And all the families of the earth

shall find blessing through you.

What do you think this means?

Discussion Plan: Giving and Receiving Blessings

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Discussion Plan: Giving and Receiving Blessings

  1. Can anyone receive a blessing?
  2. Can anyone give a blessing?
  3. Can you give a blessing without realizing you have done so?
  4. Can you ask for a blessing? If so, what do you think happens when you are ‘being blessed’?
  5. Can you demand or force someone to bless you?
  6. Can you believe in blessings without believing in curses?
  7. Can you believe in blessings without believing in God?
  8. What blessing would you wish for?
  9. What blessing would you like to give to someone else?

 

Discussion Plan: Giving and Receiving Curses

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Discussion Plan: Giving and Receiving Curses

  1. Can you be cursed with bad health? If so, what does this mean?
  2. Can a day be cursed? Explain
  3. Can a person’s life be cursed? If so, did it need someone to curse it? Explain,
  4. Can we be a curse to our parents? To our teachers? If so, what does this mean?
  5. If I curse you by saying “May all your friends abandon you” is that the same as wishing that all your friends would abandon you?
  6. Can people give curses or only God? If people can give them, do you think there is a difference between a curse given by God and a curse given by a person? Explain.
  7. Can having someone curse you ever be a good thing?
  8. Does giving a curse guarantee that the content of the curse will happen or come true?
  9. Can you believe in blessings without believing in curses?
  10. Can you believe in curses without believing in God?

Discussion Plan: Leavings – LPS

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Discussion Plan: Leavings

  1. Do we all have to ‘leave home’ in order to grow up? Explain.
  2. Abram took his extended family with him – so what was he really leaving behind?
  3. If you go away but you still think about people a lot, and text them/e-mail them, have you left them behind?
  4. If you still hear them speaking to you – telling you what to do – have you left them behind?
  5. In growing up – do you think the important thing is what you are leaving, or what you are heading towards?
  6. Are you connected to places as well as people? Describe one of those places.
  7. Do you think that places are tied to who you are in the same way as people are? Explain.

Discussion Plan: Leavings – MS

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Discussion Plan: Leavings

  1. Do we all have to ‘leave home’ in order to grow up? Explain.
  2. Abram took his extended family with him – so what was he really leaving behind?
  3. Is there a difference in growing up between leaving your parents and leaving your brothers/sisters? If so, what is it? Explain.
  4. If you go away but you still think about people a lot, and text them/e-mail them, have you left them behind?
  5. If you still hear them speaking to you – telling you what to do – have you left them behind?
  6. In growing up – do you think the important thing is what you are leaving, or what you are heading towards?
  7. Are you attached to places as well as people? Describe these places.
  8. Do you think that places are tied to our identity in the same way as people are? Explain.
  9. Which do you think would be more difficult – to leave individual people, or to leave your language and culture?

Discussion Plan: Leavings – UPS

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Discussion Plan: Leavings

  1. Do we all have to ‘leave home’ in order to grow up? Explain.
  2. Abram took his extended family with him – so what was he really leaving behind?
  3. If you go away but you still think about people a lot, and text them/e-mail them, have you left them behind?
  4. If you still hear them speaking to you – telling you what to do – have you left them behind?
  5. In growing up – do you think the important thing is what you are leaving, or what you are heading towards?
  6. Are you connected to places as well as people? Describe one of those places.
  7. Do you think that places are tied to who you are in the same way as people are? Explain.
  8. Which do you think would be more difficult – to leave individual people, or to leave your language and culture?

Exercise: Different Meanings of “Lech L’cha” – LPS

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Exercise: Different Meaning of “Lech L’cha”

Read the sentence on the left – which kind of “Go Forth!” do you think is invoked here? You can mark more than one, but make sure you can explain what you mean in each case. If you mark more than one, explain what it would mean to ‘go’ for each one you marked (eg: going camping might be ‘go forth’ because going to camp means you are moving geographically, but it also may be ‘go to yourself’ because when you are camping you discover you are now capable of doing things that you never would have thought you could do).

Go!
Leave where you are for somewhere else
Go for yourself!
For your own benefit — (eg: financial or physical benefit)
Go to yourself!
Getting to know yourself better
Go to the person you will become!
Growing up, becoming a better person
Kate, age 6: “I’m excited about starting a new school, I’m going to learn so many new things.”
Eli, age 5: “we went to the lake for the first time I thought I would be scared to go in the water but I learned that I really liked it!”
Zaitlan, age 8: “Going to summer camp last year was my first time away from home – I really became more confident and independent.
Ronnie, age 7: “We are going to visit our grandparents in Texas – I am really excited”
Kate: “I’m going to miss you when you leave, but I know the job in Boston pays a higher salary.”
David, age 9: “Once a week after school I go with my mum to the home where my grandparents live. I help them to go down to the dining room and sometimes I sing for them because they like that.

 

Go back to the Biblical text – if we view Avram’s journey through each of these lenses, how might we understand the meaning and significance of his journey?

different meanings

Exercise: Circles of Attachment – PS, MS

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Exercise: Circles of Attachment

What in your life are you most attached to? Think of your home – if you were to leave home, what would be most difficult to leave behind? What not as difficult? Draw three circles. In the center put the thing it would be most difficult to leave, then move out in the circles with things that would be less difficult to leave (from hardest to less hard). Pick a different community you are part of (school? sports team?) – what would be hardest to leave behind if you were leaving that community?

circles of attachment

Leading Idea: Circles of Attachment

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Leading Idea: Circles of Attachment

When God tells Avram “Lech lecha” he mentions three kinds of leaving:

  • Leave your country
  • Leave your birthplace
  • Leave your father’s house

Several scholars have noted that it seems strange to list the circles of attachment in this order. The text from Nechama Leibowitz and the commentary Haktav Vehakabala both offer an interpretation for this.

This next set of exercises and discussion plan explore these different ‘layers of leaving’.