Rejoice in Your Festivals


The Torah says, “You will rejoice in your festival … you shall surely rejoice.” Can the Torah command us to be happy? How does Judaism shape our understanding of happiness? In this resource, learners will study various texts that address the role that joy plays in the celebration of Jewish holidays in general, and Sukkot/Simchat Torah in particular. (See further study section for additional information.) Students will then discuss why or why not the classical explanations for rejoicing during the holidays apply to their lives today. To bring the lesson home, learners will brainstorm a plan to make the upcoming holiday more joyful for members of the Jewish community.

The learner will:

  1. Understand how Judaism affects the ways in which we pursue happiness

  2. Know the content of a variety of Jewish texts that discuss the role of joy during the holidays

Be able to organize an event in honor of Sukkot that will bring joy to the larger community

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

Student handout

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