Malechet Kohanim V’Goy Kadosh

פרשת יתרו
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Written by:
Rabbi Yehuda Chanales
Access editable doc with student handouts:

ברכה ראשונה

Choose one or both:

I feel special or unique when…OR 

What makes you feel special? 

A moment where I felt proud to be Jewish was when… OR

When did you feel proud to be Jewish?

(Can follow up and ask: What is common about our moments? In what ways are they different? What are we actually proud of when we are proud to be Jewish?)

לימוד ועבודה פנימית

5 And now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure out of all peoples, for Mine is the entire earth.

6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel."

ה: וְעַתָּ֗ה אִם־שָׁמ֤וֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ֙ בְּקֹלִ֔י וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֑י וִֽהְיִ֨יתֶם לִ֤י סְגֻלָּה֙ מִכָּל־הָ֣עַמִּ֔ים כִּי־לִ֖י כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ:

ו: וְאַתֶּ֧ם תִּֽהְיוּ־לִ֛י מַמְלֶ֥כֶת כֹּֽהֲנִ֖ים וְג֣וֹי קָד֑וֹשׁ אֵ֚לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר תְּדַבֵּ֖ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:

  1. What different words does ה’ use to describe the uniqueness of the Jewish people?
  2. What word or phrase stands out for you? What do you think it means?
  3. How could viewing yourself this way impact your choices or perspective? 

Possible to add- read/learn together (or do instead of the more open questions):

Chovat HaTalmidim 3:3

There are some people - both great and small - who are not aware of their own shortcomings. And even when they see in Mussar books that such and such a trait is bad, it nevertheless does not cross their mind that they have such a trait and that they need to fix it. Neither do they feel pain or concern about it. This is not a good sign for [this person]. For this is the way of sick people - to not feel their sickness getting worse or even to know that they are sick. (See the Rambam's Eight Chapters 3.) However there are also adults and youths with the following trait: His heart inside begins to feel that he has a certain shortcoming and he [then] begins to worry and be in pain. But his mind quickly rationalizes it by saying, "Is it not the case that the shortcoming I have is not as bad as what the book is criticizing? And the small amount that I have is almost impossible to remove, since 'there is no righteous man in the world who never sins.'" This too is a partner to the evil impulse; and [such a person's] end will be the pollution of his spirit and the darkness of Gehinnom. The root of both of these is that they do not seek greatness from themselves. They imagine that only tzaddikim and greats must work to better themselves, but it is sufficient for all other Jews to just be anything that they are. 

…And we have already spoken above about how everyone must strive, help and reveal the tzaddikim, the greats and the giants of the Jewish people; and how the Divine Presence laments the negligent person. But even if he just wants to be a simple Jew, why is he forgetting what a simple Jew is? and the condition that God made with each Jew - from the woodchopper to the water-drawer - when He first came to make them into the Jewish people and to give them the Torah? 

He said (Exodus 19:5-6), "Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples, etc. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." This is the Jew - [someone from] a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. It was a condition that the Holy One, blessed be He, made: "Now then, if etc." Only if so, will you be Jews. But if not, God forbid…

  1. What responsibility does the חובת התלמידים learn every Jew from the פסוק in our פרשה
  2. When do you find yourself settling with being a “simple Jew”? 
  3. In what area/s of your life are you comfortable being “a good girl” and where do you push yourself to be “great”? What drives you in one direction or the other?
  4. How could seeing yourself as someone who ה’ cares about- as a כהן, שר, סגולה, לי - impact your choices or perspective?

Notes to the teacher

  • This is the place to make suggestions to the teacher of different ways they may choose to facilitate this limmud
  • Or particular grade levels or sensitivities to take into account
  • Or anything else you think is important for the teacher to know

עבודת המורה

  • This is the place to raise some questions that make sure the teacher tests the limmud on themselves or others
  • Could be a general question like - which part of the limmud resonated most for you? Which question was the hardest for you to answer?
  • Or questions anticipating students’ responses- What do you think students will say for X or Y? To what extent are you open to being surprised?
Download with student handouts:
Please help others by sharing how you used the resource, how you adapted it (link to your own version!) and what worked more or less well. You can also post questions that Lifnai Vlifnim staff or community members will try to respond to.

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