Hand out different versions of the same story to different boys. Then follow instruction at the end of the plan.

Version # 1

Shimon was a fun loving boy with a very creative mind. He liked to learn but enjoyed having fun also. It was late one night and the chevra were schmoozing after curfew when Shimon said, I’m starving, what about you Duvid? he said turning the boy in the next bed. Well said Duvid, I’m more tired then hungry but what’s on your mind? How about a barbecue asked Shimon hopefully? OK said Duvid all awake at the suggestion. He jumped out of bed and ran over to the corner where they kept the grill covered by 20 negel vasser cups. What’s going on asked Shia? Barbecue said Duvid. Suddenly there were ten hands working quietly to get the meat and sauces ready from the hidden fridge in the corner which was kept covered by twenty pairs of tzitzis. Ten minutes later the bunk was quiet, except that no one was sleeping there, rather they stealthily were creeping through the woods flashlights darting off the spooky looking trees, They stumbled as they tried to remember where the campsite far enough away from camp was, where they were safe from any eavesdropping OD’s.

They finally found the campsite and went to work quietly preparing the gas and meats. Ten minutes later, the smell of roasting meat mixed with the fear and excitement of doing something wrong, blended together to create the delicious atmosphere of camradire among the chevra. As they waited for their meat, they schmoozed about the rival Satmar Rebbes, and were oblivious of the ominous shadow waiting quietly in the corner. Suddenly the shadow became reality, as Rabbi Feigenbaum, the menahel of the camp stepped out of the shadow’s. What’s going on over here he roared startling the wits out of the boys. Duvid sat their flipping the chicken on the grill looked like a captured dear in the oncoming headlights of car on a country road. He dropped his flipper and stood up as guilty as can be. Get over here snarled Rabbi Fiegenbaum he said to Duvid, give me that he said snatching the flipper. He overturned the barbecue with all the precious meats falling onto the dirt and pine needle covered ground. He then grabbed Duvid by the shoulder and turned him around. Everyone here are all suspended from activities tomorrow and maybe the next day. Then he turned around and walked back to camp. The boys quickly scurried back to their bunk. The next day Shimon was seen packing his duffel bag and by that night was waiting for his parents to take him home to the city.

Shimon spent the rest of the summer in the city. He met some bad friends in day camp who ruined his yiras shamayim. He no longer wanted to go back to his old yeshiva and instead went to movies and listened to goyishe songs. He eventually became a modern bum who someone said he saw driving a cool infinity with some bad people listening to rocky music. Some even say he became a big rich inventor who invented a new type of car engine which runs on recycled mikveh water. What a waste of a yiddesheh mind. He could have had been a great gadol batorah instead he wasted his time with making money. Look how bad friends can be some times.

Version #2

Why did Shimon leave camp? What happened to Shimon in the end? Why

Shimon was a fun loving boy with a very creative mind. He liked to learn but enjoyed having fun also. It was late one night and the chevra were schmoozing after curfew when Shimon said, I’m starving, what about you Duvid? he said turning the boy in the next bed. Well said Duvid, I’m more tired then hungry but what’s on your mind? How about a barbecue asked Shimon hopefully? OK said Duvid all awake at the suggestion. He jumped out of bed and ran over to the corner where they kept the grill covered by 20 negel vasser cups. What’s going on asked Shia? Barbecue said Duvid. Suddenly there were ten hands working quietly to get the meat and sauces ready from the hidden fridge in the corner which was kept covered by twenty pairs of tzitzis. Ten minutes later the bunk was quiet, except that no one was sleeping there, rather they stealthily were creeping through the woods flashlights darting off the spooky looking trees, They stumbled as they tried to remember where the campsite far enough away from camp was, where they were safe from any eavesdropping OD’s.

They finally found the campsite and went to work quietly preparing the gas and meats. Ten minutes later, the smell of roasting meat mixed with the fear and excitement of doing something wrong, blended together to create the delicious atmosphere of camradire among the chevra. As they waited for their meat, they schmoozed about the rival Satmar Rebbes, and were oblivious of the ominous shadow waiting quietly in the corner. Suddenly the shadow became reality, as Rabbi Feigenbaum, the menahel of the camp stepped out of the shadow’s. What’s going on over here he roared startling the wits out of the boys. Duvid sat their flipping the chicken on the grill looked like a captured dear in the oncoming headlights of car on a country road. He dropped his flipper and stood up as guilty as can be. Get over here snarled Rabbi Fiegenbaum he said to Duvid, give me that he said snatching the flipper. He overturned the barbecue with all the precious meats falling onto the dirt and pine needle covered ground. He then grabbed Duvid by the shoulder and turned him around. Everyone here are all suspended from activities tomorrow and maybe the next day. Then he turned around and walked back to camp. The boys quickly scurried back to their bunk. The next day Shimon was seen packing his duffel bag and by that night was waiting for his parents to take him home to the city.

Shimon spent the rest of the summer meeting new and creative friends like him. He met them in camp and eventually they became good friends. While they weren’t into learning that much they were nice to him and brought out the best of his creative abilities. Being that these friends were into cars, they sparked his lifelong interest in cars. He eventually used this love of cars to seek a way to get the country off the use of gasoline when powering their cars. He discovered the new fuel, some say, when he once went to a Jewish ritual bath called a Mikveh, and discovered that he could use the bacteria found in bath water to fuel his cars. How lucky we are that he met those friends and that sparked his interest in cars. If he did not, who knows if he would have been able to discover the engine that runs on reused bath water.

Why did Shimon leave camp? What happened to Shimon in the end? Why?

1)      Have some students read one story and others the other version and then ask them to respond to the following questions: what happened to Shimon at the end of the story- did he remain frum? Why did Shimon leave camp? Which interpretation is correct?

2)      Have students respond and then reread passage from the end. Explain that History is trying to establish ties of cause and effect between various events which happened but that the upshot of it all is very subjective. This is the meaning of Hagiography.

3)       Journal number 3: How do you think a frum yid should view history? Is their a pre-mapped goal that history is moving to?

4)       Have students respond and then explain that all the goyim are here to challenge and test us and that all is here for the tachlis of Clal Yisroel. And that history then is full of events that although they don’t seem to affect us-they really are affecting us and that what history is replete with is with challenges to the physical and spiritual bodies of clal yisroel followed by Hashem saving us in both ways many times.[1]


[1] Hakdama: Torah views on the subject of History

The Rambam in his hakdama to perek chelek at the end describes those that read seforim chitzonim as those that read history books of the Arabs which are a waste of time. [However see the gemara in Avoda Zara 4a which says that the Goyishe books will be used against them liasid lavo to study there history to see if they should be punished or rewarded.] This opinion is paralleled by the Bartenura in his pirush on that Mishna. On the other hand Rav yaakov emden in his hakdama to Seder Olam writes that one needs to know History (at least those written in Hebrew) in order to be able to understand the Gemara and Torah. The sefer Pninim mishulchan gavoa quotes the Dvar Avraham who understood that the Pasuk zechor Yemos Olam is a recomendation to remember historical events and binu shnos dor vador to then contextualize those events so that they attain meaning. He also quotes there Rav Elchonan Wasserman HY”D who said that from that Pasuk we see that just as there is a mitzvah to understand the Torah on a deep level so to one needs to interpret history on a deep level and try and understand why events happen. Now a person can argue that who is he to try and understand historical events-to that the Pasuk concludes Shal avicha viyagaidcha zikainecha viyomru lach-meaning fgo ask people older and more wiser and ask them to interpret those events. However one thing for sure can be for sure can be understood בְּהַנְחֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹיִם בְּהַפְרִידוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם יַצֵּב גְּבֻלֹת עַמִּים לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל that the separation of goyim and their wars and treaties are all limspar bnai yisroel-all for the sake of the Jews-either to help or to punish but for sure for one of those reasons. This also shtims with what Reb Tzadok and the Brisker Rav say in regards to what the Goyim will claim liassid lavo that they deserve the gifts from Hashem for helping the Jews out since they built roads for the Jews. To which Hashem replies stupid people you only did it for your own benefit. The question  is lichora what were they thinking. To this the answer is that truth is that whatever happens is really all for the sake of the Jews-like the Ramba”m says that the point of a Goy making a big mansion is really for the Jews and not for him-since one day a Yid will be walking and will be hot and will look for a shady place to rest and will go under the shade of this big mansion and get relief from the heat. Yet the goyim only mean it for themselves and not for us. In reality though its all bishvil Yisreol shenikra Raishis.

Rav Chaim Berlin writes that his Father the Netziv was very against Gedolim biographies since the Yerushalmi say’s ain osin nefashos letzadikim which he understood you don’t write bio’s about them for their Torah is their bio’s. He also said that his father sought them a tachbula of the Yetzer ra to be mivatel torah. Rav Chaim Ozer on the other hand felt (written as a Haskama to dor dor Yesharim and elswhere) that today their needs to be a focus on history so we can combat the other secularized versions of Jewish history (see many Gedolim who agreed to this idea in J.J Shacter “Facing the Truths of Histroy” note 23). The Chazon ish in his Emunah Ubitachon (1:8) writes that studying history helps in the founding of one’s wisdom. The Beer Haitaiv (307:18) says that one may read Jewish history books on Shabbos because from them you learn mussar and Yiras shamayim. This idea is quoted by the Mishna Berura as well in #58. Agav- The first kli yakar in balak says that plain people do not know world history but the leaders do know world history.