Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Private-Religious)

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson will teach the basic Biblical laws of Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim (the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) the rationale that supports these laws, and practical applications of these laws in today’s world. The learner will participate in a class project aimed to assist community programs that aid abandoned and stray animals. 

PrintFour - Fifty Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • demonstrate an awareness and understanding of G-d’s laws and desires for humans to respect His animal creations.
  • demonstrate an awareness and understanding that these laws apply to many areas, including Shehitah, farming and owning animals for pleasure.
  • provide a needed service in a local animal organization.
  • demonstrate an awareness and understanding that respecting and providing for animals in not only admirable but essential.
  • demonstrate an awareness and reflect on the understanding that providing for animals is not only a fulfillment of G-d’s commandments but also rewarding.
  • Package of lined paper
  • Pens
  • Multiple copies of a local directory listing animal shelters, the local ASPCA, and other animal related organizations.Teacher Note: These could be obtained from the local phone book or Chamber of Commerce
  • 3-4 disposable cameras
  • One large poster board
  • Glue / glue sticks
  • Colored markers or pencils
  • One copy for each learner of Attachment One: Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim Biblical Laws
  • One copy for each learner of Attachment Two: Copies of Story of Rebecca
  • One copy for each learner of Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life / Bettering Our Life
  • Teacher's Guide ofAttachment Four: Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim Biblical Laws
Home Connection 

The learners can be encouraged to discuss with their families the content of this lesson and how that might naturally lead to a service outing. If the family owns an animal(s), the learner’s could be encouraged to share with their family what things could be done that would benefit the animal,and subsequently themselves, spiritually. (i.e. always walking the dog on time instead of waiting for a commercial break on television, spending a few extra minutes petting the cat, buying the healthiest pet food their family can afford, because it is healthier for the pet and they enjoy it more, etc.) If the leaner’s family does not own a pet, he/she could be encouraged to consider ways that his/her family could help animals in general.(i.e. volunteering at an animal shelter, donating money to an animal organization, buying animal friendly products, etc.)



  1. Day One:

    Anticipatory Set:Give each learner a copy of Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life / Bettering Our Life .Ask them to think of ways in which they have or might be able to help better animals’ lives, in general or specific and to fill out the top half of the handout using markers or colored pencils. Share with them that by the end of this lesson, they will be able to fill out the bottom half of the handout because they will have had additional opportunities and experiences that will help them to realize and better understand how helping animals can help them as well.



  2. Distribute copies of Attachment One: Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim Biblical Laws and have the learners take turns reading one of the laws aloud.

  3. As each law is read aloud, ask the learners to share their understanding of the rationale behind the law, responding to the question: Why did G-d institute this specific law regarding animals?Teacher Note: If the learners need help in understanding the law, offer suggestions from Attachment Four: Teacher’s Guide:Tza’ar Ba’alei Chaim Biblical Laws.

  4. Once each law has been read and discussed, have the learners return to Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life/Bettering Our Life completed during the Anticipatory Set and write down any additional ways in which they can help animals in their everyday life using their colored pencils or markers.

  5. Take a few minutes to allow volunteers to share some of the ways they have thought of to help animals in their everyday life. Collect the learners’ Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life/Bettering Our Life, at the conclusion of the class.


    Day Two:

  7. Distribute a copy of Attachment Two: Story of Rebecca to each learner and allow them time to read the story.

  8. Once completed ask the learners to think of reasons why Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, looked for a woman who would give him and his camels water to drink.

  9. Have the learners reflect on the idea that how a person treats animals says something about that person.Teacher Note: Ultimately, you will want to lead the class to consider and conclude thata personwho respects any of G-d’s creations is likely to respect all of G-d’s creations; and that while we may use animals for our benefit, whether for eating, for working, or for pleasure, we are not allowed to abuse them. This idea can be related to humans as well, specifically when referring to employees.

  10. Arrangethe learners in groups of five or six and distribute copies of a local directory of animal shelters, the local chapter of the ASPCA and other animal related organizations to each group.

  11. Have each group select one local animal organization to contact, avoiding duplication. Once they have identified their selected organization, they are to contact that organization and identify how the class might be able to help that organization for one day (or more) and be prepared to share that information during the next class period.


    Day Three:

  13. Have each group share the extent of their conversation with their identified organization and by consensus have the class select the one organization they will help.Teacher Note: It is likely that some groups will report that the contacted organization has nothing for the class to do. In the unlikelihood that all of the contacted organizations respond this way see Extensions.

  14. Once the class has identified their chosen organization to help, distribute lined paper to each learner and have each learner write down what it is that they hope to accomplish for the animals as well as personal self-fulfillment goals- what they hope to get out of the experience. Collect these sheets at the end of this class period.

  15. Assign someone from each group, whose selected organization responded positively to having the class come and perform some work, to re-contact their identified organization.Teacher Note: As a matter of courtesy it would be appropriate to share with each of the organizations that responded positively to the inquiry, as to whether or not their organization was selected as the one to be helped by the class. As the teacher, it would be appropriate for you to also contact the chosen organization to determine a specific time and date for the work and needed instructions for safety and equipment.


    Day Four:

  17. Prior to performing the agreed upon service for the chosen animal organization, encourage as many learners as possible to bring disposable cameras to take pictures of the outing.

  18. As a class, perform the service as pre-determined and planned.


    Day Five:

  20. Following the day of the performed service, distribute the half-completed Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life/Bettering Our Life and the lined paper from Day Three to each learner.

  21. Tell the learners to fill out the bottom half of Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life/Bettering Our Life with colored pencils or markers.

  22. Have the learners discuss and reflect on their service experiences and how it might have benefited both the animals and themselves.

  23. Complete these five days by constructing a class display that commemorates their experiences.Teacher Note: Glue the learner copies of Attachment Three: Bettering an Animal’s Life/Bettering Our Life to poster board as a background. Then adhere the pictures taken during the service projectto the poster board to create a presentable collage art project.

  24. Involve the learners in deciding to either give the art project to the organization they helped as a thank you gift along with a thank you note or display it somewhere in the school.


The learners will be assessed based on their participation in class discussions, their willingness to participate in the service outing, their performance during the service outing, and the depth of their reflection in demonstrating their understanding of the connection of honoring G-d’s animals and self-fulfillment.

Cross Curriculum 

The learners will contact the local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), animal shelters, or animal related organizations and volunteer time and effort to help animals.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Analyze philanthropic traditions of diverse cultural groups and their contributions to civil society.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.11 Analyze the impact of volunteerism on the economy of communities.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Give examples of stewardship decisions throughout history and in current events.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.10 Discuss the results of private citizen voluntary action intended for the common good on public policy changes.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Identify and discuss civil society sector organizations working to build community/social capital and civil society resources.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define and give examples of motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark HS.9 Describe the concept of volunteerism in different world cultures.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark HS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
      4. Benchmark HS.5 Articulate and demonstrate the safety procedures that are part of the volunteer experience.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.