July 20, 2024 |

Grade 7-Gesher Update Feb. 7, 2016

Posted on February 7, 2016

Parashat Mishpatimincludes 53 laws including 20 positive and 33 negative. Isaac Balshevis Singer’s short story, Shrewd Todie and Lyzer the Miser provided a humorous opportunity to look at laws relating to borrowing and stealing. 
Gesher students developed a job description for a Jewish 13 year-old:

Attend minyan and Shabbat services
Practice/Study for Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Learn to put on a tallit and tefillin
Wear a tallit and tefillin during the daily minyan
Be a role model for younger children
Attend religious school
Get an education
Take responsibility for yourself
Find your place in Jewish life and the Jewish world
Give Tzedakah
Help your community
Be a mensch
Then we looked at Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s job description for a Prophet.  After discussing the various responsibilities, students selected three to which they would aspire.  The following is a composite of their selections:

  • Prophets are sensitive to evil:  They notice people being hurt when others can walk by and not notice.
  • Prophets know that small things are important:  They notice details and worry about “unimportant people—not just the great and powerful.”
  • Prophets seek the highest good: They will settle for nothing less.
  • Prophets are “one octave too high”: They often say things that are beyond our full understanding and comfort.
  • Prophets smash idols:  They literally smash idols—and they shatter many things that give us comfort—but that are less than God wants from us.
  • The Prophets often say, “Few are guilty but all are responsible.” For them, “Not my fault” doesn’t work.
  • Prophets are often lonely and unhappy: They are often not liked. They are often unpleasant people because they to not give in to compromise.