This lesson is geared to students grades 6-8 and contains five 45 minute lesson plans.
Welcome to the Rodef Shalom School Program: designed to teach middle school students conflict resolution skills through engagement with rabbinic literature. This unit is the first of two units that explore the idea of machloket l’shem Shamayim (conflict for the sake of Heaven), what is now referred to as “constructive conflict.” In this unit, students encounter the famous Mishnah (oral Torah) that introduces the term machloket l’shem Shamayim, and they meet Hillel and Shammai, the Mishnah’s paradigm for people who engaged in machloket l’shem Shamayim. Students also meet Korach, the Mishnah’s prime example of a perpetrator of destructive conflict. Students explore the difference between these two types of conflict and learn principles for engaging in constructive conflict.
In this first unit, students will learn that both motivation and how one engages in conflict are important in assessing whether a machloket (conflict) is l’shem Shamayim (for the sake of Heaven). In the second unit, students learn a methodology for how to engage in machloket l’shem Shamayim. Students will have a chance to practice engaging in constructive conflict resolution using collaborative problem solving. While these two units integrate fully into the broader Rodef Shalom rabbinics curriculum project, they also can stand on their own as a core element in a school’s advisory or conflict resolution program.