Extended week-long unit on מחלוקת לשם שמים (disagreement for the sake of heaven)

Posted by Daniel Roth on January 10, 2015
Topics: 9Adar Curriculum, 9Adar Intro and History, Pardes Center for Jewish Educators

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.


About Daniel Roth

Rabbi Dr. Daniel Roth is the Director Emeritus of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution and an adjunct faculty member. He taught at Pardes for over twenty years and is now the Director of Mosaica - The Religious Peace Initiative. He also teaches graduate courses on religion and peace building at Bar-Ilan University’s Conflict Resolution, Management and Negotiation Graduate Program, as well as at Tel Aviv University’s International Program in Conflict Resolution and Mediation, and at Hebrew University’s Coexistence in the Middle East summer program. Roth initiated Pardes's Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively and the 9Adar Project: Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict, known in Israel as DiburHadash: The Israeli Week of Mediation and Dialogue. Roth is a regular lecturer of MEJDI (multi-narrative) Tours and National Geographic. He was a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. He holds a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University’s Conflict Resolution Program, MA in Talmud from Hebrew University, B.Ed in Jewish Philosophy and Talmud from Herzog Teachers’ College, and studied for eight years in Yeshivat Har-Etzion during which time he received rabbinic ordination. Click here to read more.

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