The Mensch Series #5: Be a Mensch to your Friends

Lesson: The Mensch Series #5: Be a Mensch to Your Friends

DSC_3817Being a Mensch (good person) is one of the most important aspects of being Jewish. In this lesson, you will learn about what it means to be a mensch to your friends and ways to improve your character to be even more of a mensch. You will learn:

  • The teaching of “judging others favorably”
  • The middah of derech eretz, having good manners
  • The middah of dibbuk chaverim, sticking close by your friends

#1 CONSIDER these ways to be a mensch to your friends

tamid_purim_shabbat67“My best friend is super important to me. We see each other every day at school and on the weekends too and when we’re not together, we text each other pretty much all the time. Sometimes it’s hard for me to always get what I want, like which house to go to on Saturday or what movie to see. I always want it to go my way but sometimes we just need to compromise, that’s the way it is with friends. I guess we’re always just trying to be the nicest we can and not sweat the small stuff. Cuz my best friend is important to me, she’s like a sister!” – Jennifer, age 11

#2 STUDY this Jewish Teaching: “If I am only for myself, who will be for me?”

Hebrew Text Image

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?
-Pirkey Avot

There is a debate in the Talmud between two rabbis about what is more important: being a good person or studying Jewish values? Rabbi Tarfon said, “action and behaving as a good person is more important that studying Judaism.” Rabbi Akiva said, studying Judaism is more important because learning leads to good actions and good deeds.”

#3 WATCH this video about resolving disagreements with friends

#4 WATCH this teaching on “Why to judge your friends well”

#5 WATCH this video on “Derech Eretz: Ways to be a Mensch”

#6 TEACH these values to a friend.

Story Pirates PhotoA Jewish teaching says, “we teach in order to learn.” So teach these values to a friend and help them understand why they are important.

Dibbuk chaverim means “to stick close by a friend.” Being a good friend means to listen, be helpful, and not judge your friends too harshly. Just remember, if you want to have good friends that like you, you have to be a good friend to others, too. Dibbuk chaverim literally means, “sticking to your friends.”
Derech eretz means to have “good manners.” Saying thank you and please are important manners. But also doing the right thing is important too. Derech eretz literally means, “the way of the land.”

#7 Respond and React
Now that you have watched the videos and learned about being a mensch to your friends, please respond to these questions in your Tamid Workbook or in class.

1. Why is it important to judge others favorably?
2. What are the two middot you learned today and give a one sentence definition for each middah.
3. Explain this phrase: “If I no for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?”
4. Can you think of one example in your life when you could have been a better friend?
5. How would you like your friends to treat you with more menschlekiet (more mensch-like)?

Need some help?

We’re here for you. At any time, if you have any questions, please contact one of our teachers so we can help you.

Also, at the end of the session, remember to review your responses in your Tamid Workbook so you can get credit for this lesson. Behatzlacha (Hebrew for good luck)!

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