Shabbat/Hakarat Hatov Overview

Core Concepts

Shabbat is a gift that reminds us to appreciate, enjoy, and share all that God has given us.

We extend our feelings of gratitude toward all living beings that provide for us.


In the first part of this unit, students explore the premise that Shabbat is a special gift from God. They begin by reflecting upon their own notion of a “gift.” Students then examine the sources, rituals, and meaning of Shabbat to understand how one might experience it as a gift. In studying the story of Bereishit, students begin to see the uniqueness of Shabbat as a day set aside to share and enjoy God’s creations through special Shabbat rituals. To culminate their study of Shabbat, students set out to follow in the footsteps of God by creating several gifts of their own. They then take these gifts home to share and enjoy with their families on Shabbat, in much the same way as God used Shabbat as a time to share the creatures of the world with humans.

In the second part of this unit, students use their experience as both receivers and givers of gifts to explore the importance of expressing hakarat hatov - gratitude. In revisiting the topic of Shabbat, they learn that it is a special opportunity to express hakarat hatov to God for the other gifts of creation. They look closely at the Kiddush as an expression of this gratitude. They then examine how they can complement these expressions of hakarat hatov with actions to further demonstrate their feelings of appreciation. Students complete the unit by applying their understanding of hakarat hatov to the people who help deliver God’s gifts to them, carefully ensuring that they do so with both words and actions.

Enduring Understandings

  • On Shabbat, we enjoy the gifts that God has given us through the creation of the world.
  • On Shabbat, we take a break from our own creative work to share it with others.
  • From Shabbat we learn the importance of expressing our gratitude toward all who give to us.

Essential Questions

  • What gifts did I receive from the seven days of creation?
  • What does Shabbat mean to me and how do I share it with others?
  • How do I show gratitude toward God through my Shabbat celebration?
  • How do I show gratitude toward other living beings?

Unit Framework and Core Concepts

Students will demonstrate knowledge that: On Shabbat we remember that God stopped creating on the seventh day and set aside the seventh day as a holy (special and different) day.

Lesson 1: What is a Gift?

Exploring my perceptions about gifts helps me understand why God sees Shabbat as a gift for the Jewish people.

Lesson 2: Shabbat as a Gift of Creation (If step 7 is included, 2 class periods)

The importance of Shabbat is partially derived from its place as one of God’s first creations.

Lesson 3: Shabbat as a Time of Enjoyment (2 class periods)

Shabbat ritual provides an opportunity for me to remember and enjoy all gifts of creation.

Lesson 4: Sharing our Gifts with Others (May need 2 class periods)

Shabbat provides an opportunity for me to enjoy and share my own creativity as I celebrate the creativity of God.

Lesson 5: The Importance of Giving

Expressions and actions of hakarat hatov - gratitude - provide opportunities for us to complement the joy of receiving with the joy of giving.

Lesson 6: Giving Gratitude to God

Berakhot and mitzvot provide us with opportunities to express hakarat hatov to God through words and actions.

Lesson 7: Giving Gratitude to All

In addition to thanking God, it is important to show gratitude to other living creatures for their role in providing me with my needs.

Learning Objectives and Performance Outcomes

Learning Objectives

Performance Outcomes

Students will demonstrate knowledge that:

On Shabbat we remember that God stopped creating on the seventh day and set aside the seventh day as a holy (special and different) day.

Students will explain Jewish texts that contextualize Shabbat within the creation story.

Shabbat is a time to share and enjoy the gifts of creations.

Students will create gifts to enhance their families' Shabbat experience. They will document how they shared the gifts with their families.

We express gratitude to both God and humans for their roles in providing us with gifts in our lives.

Students will create a siddur page that expresses gratitude to God.


Students will brainstorm names of individuals who play a role in creating gifts in their lives and express gratitude to them through words and actions.

Students will express feelings of:

Gratitude through words

Students will create a siddur page that expresses gratitude to God through words.

Students will create video credits for their work that express gratitude to people through words.

Gratitude through actions

Students will brainstorm ways that they can express gratitude to God through actions.

Students will express gratitude to individuals in their lives through actions.

Students will be able to:


Describe what was created on each of the seven days of creation.


Recite and explain Kiddush.


Identify common Shabbat rituals including:
Hadlakat Nerot, Kiddush, Birkat Banim uVanot, Hamotzi, Zemirot, Birkat Hamazon and Havdalah

  Identify objects that are used for common Shabbat rituals