The Work of our (Divine) Hands (Private-Religious)
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify how families contribute to the socialization of children.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss the function of family traditions and role modeling in teaching about sharing and giving.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
    3. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Define <i>stewardship</i> as a trust of common resources held by a community for citizens.
      2. Benchmark MS.9 Recognize problems different communities encounter using a "commons" and possible solutions.

Our lives are the results of billions of decisions. Not only the big decisions – law school or skydiving classes, but the small decisions as well – do you greet someone or pass by? Do you extend a helping hand or the back of it? What we decide determines the course of lives, the content of our character and the condition of our world. In this lesson we look at texts that speak to how we use our personal power in this world and then find and record opportunities to act on the learning.

PrintOne - Fifty Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • summarize, analyze, interpret, and paraphrase selected texts that contain ethical mitzvot (commandments) concerning the relationship between people (ben adam l’chavero).
  • demonstrate an awareness of how these texts can be used in their own lives.
  • identify and relate personal experiences in which the mitzvot ben adam l’chavero have played a role in their own lives.
  • acknowledge the implications/consequences of their choices/actions.
  • demonstrate an ability to assess one’s choice to act--leading to moral growth.
  • Attachment One: The Worksheet
  • Attachment Two: The Work of our (Divine) Hands: What?
  • Attachment Three: The Work of My (Divine) Hands: What? When? and How?
  • Journals (optional)
Home Connection: 

See Extension.

  1. Anticipatory SetRead this story to the class:

    One bright sunny afternoon a well dressed young businessman was speeding to an appointment along a curvy mountain road in Italy in his convertible with the top down. He was enjoying the sun and wind in his face but perhaps driving a bit too fast for the condition of this mountain road. Rounding blind curves, he would honk his horn to alert on-coming traffic that he was approaching. On one such curve, after he had honked his warning, a bright eyed young woman also in a convertible met him coming from the opposite direction. As they passed each other, she gestured and yelled out to him, “Pig!” This angered the young man. “How could someone be in such a foul mood and so rude on such a beautiful day?” he fumed. As he proceeded around the curve his car struck a pig that had wandered onto the road.


  2. Engage the learners in a conversation about what this story is trying to convey to its readers. (i.e. Things are not always as they might first appear.)

  3. Place the learners in groups of two or three. Give each group a copy of Attachment One: The Worksheet and a topic from the following list.Teacher Note: Feel free to add topics that might be more appropriate to recent class discussions/studies.(Drugs, Atomic Energy, Free Speech, Motor Vehicles, Airport Security, Modern Agricultural Methods, Growth Hormones, etc.) Have each group record all of the positive and negative aspects related to their selected topic

  4. Once these lists have been completed, call on learners to share the results of their group’s brainstorming, leading them toward the conclusion that almost everything we say, do, or possess can have either or both positive and negative consequences. No technology, possession, or human skill or activity is inherently good or evil rather it is the choices we make in the circumstances in which we find ourselves that determine the nature of the consequences.

  5. Distribute a copy of Attachment Two: The Work of our (Divine) Hands: What? to each learner in the group and review the sheet to be certain that the learners understand the What? that is written there and what is being required of them to complete filling out the sheet.

  6. Have each small group complete the reading of Column One and discuss and complete Column Two based on their individual small group discussions.Teacher Note: Consensus is not the goal; multiple responses are welcome.

  7. Have each small group, in turn, share what they wrote as a response in Column Two and allow for whole group questions/discussion regarding anything that is shared.

  8. Following this discussion, have each student, individually, complete Columns Three and Four reminding them that being aware of the implication of one’s actions and then assessing them is what potentially leads to moral growth.

  9. To conclude this lesson, distribute individual copies of Attachment Three: The Work of My (Divine) Hands: What? When? and How? Have the students record their responses to the prompts found on this sheet either on the sheet or in a journal--if journaling is already something that the class has/is using as an instructional strategy.The duration of this writing activity is left to the teacher’s discretion.


Learner involvement in total and small group discussions and the depth of thought and understanding evidenced in the learner’s responses to Attachment Two: The Work of our (Divine) Hands: What? and to Attachment Three:The Work of My (Divine) Hands: What? When? and How? will provide the learner assessment for this lesson.