Unit 2: Hakhnassat Orhim: Welcome to our (Temporary) Home! / Sukkot Overview


Rationale


Building upon the custom of inviting guests to one’s sukkah, this unit highlights the holiday of Sukkot as an ideal opportunity for students to experience the mitzvah of hakhnasat orhim, of welcoming guests. This experience is framed through exploration of the concepts of houses and homes in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the Biblical instruction to make a sukkah into a “temporary home” during the holiday of Sukkot. Students put their study to action by examining how the synagogue sukkah meets the structural requirements of a sukkah, as described in the Mishnah, and by creating an inviting atmosphere to make the synagogue sukkah feel like home for their guests. Through this hands-on experience, students gain familiarity with the mitzvah of sukkah. Through follow-up study of two Biblical role models who excell in the realm of hakhnasat orhim, students benefit from additional reflection on their execution of the mitzvah. They use the opportunity to further refine their approach to hakhnasat orhim in the creation of a video that will guide their actions in the future.

Learning Experiences


Students begin this unit by perusing images of the variety of structures that people around the world use as houses and depict the actions, objects, and people that transform their houses from structures to homes. Using Biblical and rabbinic texts, students connect the concepts of houses and homes to the commandment to dwell in a temporary home – a sukkah – during the holiday of Sukkot. They learn the structural requirements of a sukkah from Mishnaic texts and a video presentation and explore the synagogue sukkah to verify that it meets those requirements. Students then transform the synagogue sukkah by adding objects, actions, and people that make it feel like home. As is customary during the holiday of Sukkot, students invite guests to visit their sukkah. Students identify their experience as an act of hakhnasat orhim, and reflect upon their accomplishment by comparing their actions to the the actions of Avraham and Rivkah, as described in Biblical texts. Students use this text study to create a video guide to the mitzvah of hakhnasat orhim that they will implement when their families have guests – or are guests – in the future.

Core Concepts


During Sukkot, our sukkah becomes our home. The mitzvah of Hakhnassat Orhim encourages us to welcome guests into our homes, both those that are temporary and those that are permanent.

Enduring Understandings


Part I: Sukkot
During Sukkot we transform our sukkah into a home through the actions, objects, and people that we bring into it.

Part II: Hakhnassat Orhim
We welcome guests into our dwelling spaces, both permanent and temporary, by making sure that they feel at home.

We look to our Biblical role models for guidance in how to put this mitzvah to practice.

Essential Questions


Part I: What makes a sukkah into a home?

Part II: How do we make guests feel at home in our dwelling spaces?

Unit Framework and Core Concepts

Lesson 1: A House or a Home?

A home is characterized by its structure, along with the actions, objects, and people within. On Sukkot, our sukkah becomes our temporary home.

Lesson 2: What Makes a Sukkah a Sukkah?

The Mishnah provides many instructions as to how to create a structure for the sukkah that provides weak, temporary protection. This encourages us to think about the added protection that we receive from God.

Lesson 3: Leshev BaSukkah

We fulfill the Torah’s instruction to “dwell” in the sukkah by making it the center of activity during the holiday of sukkot. We mark this experience with the blessing of “Leshev BaSukkah.”

Lesson 4: Preparing Our Sukkah for Guests

Our sukkot truly feel like homes when we make them sites of joyous celebration to be shared with family, friends, and other guests.

Lesson 5 (mini): Sukkah Visit/Bridge to Hakhnassat Orchim Unit

Welcoming friends to our sukkah is an act of Hakhnasat Orhim that makes our sukkot feel more like home.

Lesson 6: Avraham and Rivkah as Models of Hakhnassat Orchim

The Torah provides role models of Hakhnasat Orhim: Avraham and Rivkah.

Lesson 7: Putting Our Lessons into Action

We can become role models of hakhnasat orhim by applying the lessons we learned from Jewish text

Learning Objectives and Performance Outcomes


Learning Objectives

Performance Outcomes

Students will demonstrate knowledge that:

On Sukkot, we make our sukkah into a temporary home through the people, actions and atmosphere that we bring into it.

Students will each create a siddur page for the berakhah of Leishev BaSukkah and will explain what it means to dwell in the sukkah.

Students will create an atmosphere for the synagogue sukkah that makes it feel like a home.

The Mishnah provides many instructions as to how to create a structure for the sukkah that is stable but temporary.

Students will compare the structure and atmosphere of a sukkah to that of permanent homes around the world.

As described in the Torah, the sukkah reminds us of the temporary protection that God gave the Jewish people in the desert. It reminds us to be thankful for the protection that we receive from God on a regular basis.

Students will write a journal entry about their experience of spending time in the synagogue sukkah.

We invite others into our sukkah to share the joy of the holiday with them. This is an example of hakhnassat orchim.

Students will host guests in the synagogue sukkah.

Students will use their experience as hosts in the sukkah to help them reflect upon how one should treat guests.

Rivka and Avraham model actions of hakhnassat orchim that we can apply in our school and in our homes.

Students will describe how Avraham and Rivka welcomed guests into their homes.

Students will create guidelines for welcoming guests to the classroom.

Students will create a video guide for welcoming guests to one's home.

Students will express feelings of:

Being at home in the sukkah.

 

Students will be able to:

 

Students will recite and explain the berakhah of Lesheiv BaSukkah.

Students will describe basic guidelines for fulfilling the mitvah of hakhnassat orchim.