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Lesson Plan on Daat/Meditation 

Below is a lesson plan I wrote that describes a model lesson introducing the concept of 'Daat' in Chassidic Literature. 'Daat,' literally "knowledge," refers to our ability to bridge the gap between intellectual and emotional knowledge, using meditation. For instance, one can "know" that a certain practice is beneficial on an intellectual level, but fail to act on this information. Think of if as overcoming cognitive dissonance- the faculty of "daat" means learning to feel the truth, so that it moves from the brain to the heart. In the Kabbalah, the holy attributes, or "sefirot," follow this order. They start with the sefirot related to intellect (Chochma and Bina)- afterwards, comes "Daat" and then the emotional attributes. These are followed by Malchut, the final sefira, associated with thought, speech, and action. In other words, in the realm of holiness, the proper order is that we learn about the benefits or drawbacks of a particular practice. Then, we work on ourselves, using "Daat" to try to feel why we ought to pursue or avoid it. And emotion generally precedes action- if we despise something, then we will avoid it. If we love something, then we will act in accordance with the object of our affection. 
All in all, the process of refining ourselves is largely associated with training our emotions to desire the correct things. This is in accordance with Judaism's focus on the importance of action. Conversely, the Yetzer Hara, or mankind's inclination to do things that are not good, is emotional. That is why it is called a "Yetser," or inclination- because emotion is the step right before action, we need to refine our emotional drives in order to serve G-d properly, identifying with what He wants and despises. 

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Three Spiritual Lesson Plans on Cultivating Humility

The assignment embedded below was completed for my "Promoting Jewish Values" class at the Azrieli School for Jewish Education at Yeshiva University. It includes three lesson plans- two written for a conventional 50 min high school class, and one unconventional one. The latter was written in the format of a wonderful way to teach good middot (virtues)- a farbrengen. A farbrengen is a Chassidic innovation, an event where an experienced spiritual guide lectures his students on a specific topic. The lectures are customarily interspersed with joyous song, toasts, and blessings. In essence, a farbrengen is when people get together to open up to one another, build community, and grow in the service of G-d. 
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