Maimonides Upper School

Upper School Weekly Update: October 7, 2016     
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Writing Lab Workshop
2016-17 Calendars
Parent Handbook
Maimo on Instagram
Vehicle Policies
Directory Online
Division Newsletters
Next Week
Sunday, October 9
SAT Tests
Volleyball vs. Atlantis Charter (Var only 4:00)

Monday, October 10 (Columbus Day -

regular classes)
Volleyball vs. Cathedral 

(JV 5:30, Var 6:30)

Girls' Soccer vs. Pope John (6:15) 
Tuesday, October 11

Noon Dismissal

Wednesday, October 12 Yom Kippur
School Closed

Thursday, October 13
Girls' Volleyball @ Gann 

(JV only 4:15)

Boys' Soccer vs. Cathedral (3:30)

Friday, October 14
Regular Schedule
In Two Weeks 

Having a


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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff
כי ביום הזה יכפר עליכם לטהר אתבם מכל חטאתיכם לפני ה תטהרו
The concept of kaparah is an odd one. The gemara tells us that עיצומו שליום כיפור מכפר- the very day of Yom Kippur atones. A philosophically odd sentiment given our general focus on the relationship between our maasim, our actions, and the resulting rewards or punishments. How can we sit passively by while the day of Yom Kippur magically cleanses us of our sins?
We can wonder the same about the avodah - the service performed by the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. He would go through a rigorous training week and then perform the highly involved, precise, and perilous service. Running on no sleep, he must deliver a flawless performance, remembering when to do what and how, moving seamlessly from one phase to the next. Any misstep would be his last. The intense activity of the Kohen Gadol stands in sharp contrast to that of the rest of the Jewish people, waiting passively for the service to be complete - ready to rejoice with the Kohen Gadol when he finishes. But what did they do to deserve forgiveness? How does this process of kaparah work?
The Rav in על התשובה points out that the pasuk in אחרי מות refers to two components of Yom Kippur - kaparah and taharah - one active and one passive. Kaparah, says the Rav, is not a repentance. It is a forgiveness. Indeed, we cannot expect to atone passively for our sins. Hashem, through His middat Harachamim, provides us with a mechanism to defend ourselves, a force field to protect us from the impending consequences of our actions. This is what the day of Yom Kippur and the service of the Kohen provide - not a solution, but a shield. They protect us, but in no way improve us.
Taharah, says the Rav, is a different thing altogether. Taharah is the pursuit of perfection. It is our attempt to purge ourselves of our less-than-ideal qualities, to better ourselves as people. In the process of taharah, we fundamentally change ourselves. While kaparah protects us, taharah perfects us. Yom Kippur demands purity of us. While we are passive in kaparah, we are the driving force fueling our own taharah.
What is the primary mechanism by which we achieve taharah? The viduy - the confession we repeat over the course of the day. This is our avodah: the recognition of our sins, and the attempt to improve ourselves. This avodah is so intensely personal it cannot be accomplished by anyone else. Not the Kohen Gadol, and not the shliyach tzibbur. It is for this reason that we say the viduy ourselves, even during the chazan's repetition. Because the chazan cannot achieve taharah for us, anymore than someone can immerse themselves in a mikvah on our behalf. The work of taharah is active, personal, demanding, and transformational. 
With this relationship in mind, the Rav gives us a new understanding of a familiar piece of the Yom Kippur davening. As the chazan goes through the avodah of the Kohen Gadol, in three spots he stands before the nation reciting the verse ...כי ביום הזה יכפר עליכם לטהר אתבם מכל חטאתיכם לפני הand leaving out the final word. And as he does, the entire nation drops to their knees, crying out in unison: ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד
The machzor describes this stunning moment, orchestrated by the Kohen Gadol, his voice joining the people's in a powerful crescendo as they all complete their proclamations together. And then silence. Only one word is left. The Kohen Gadol looks at the nation and says תטהרו - I did my part. The part of kaparah. Now you do yours: purify yourselves.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Which other components of Yom Kippur do you think are about kaparah?
  3. Which other components of Yom Kippur do you think are about taharah?
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman
As we approach the Yamim Noraim, we will use the Rav Thoughts columns for the next three weeks to discuss the difference between kapara and mechila. Rabbi Soloveitchik explains, in Al HaTeshuva, the difference between these two ideas.

One purpose of Yom Kippur is to soften the effects of Hashem's judgment and alleviate the severity of any punishment. The mechanism for this is that on Yom Kippur, G-d's attribute of mercy replaces G-d's attribute of judgment, which in turn lightens the decree.

This is hinted at in the keriah for Rosh HaShanah, where we read that during Akadat Yitzchak:
וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לוֹ הָאֱלֹקים וַיִּבֶן שָׁם אַבְרָהָם אֶת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיַּעֲרֹךְ אֶת הָעֵצִים וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִמַּעַל לָעֵצִים:
And they came to the place of which God had spoken to him, and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and he bound Isaac his son and placed him on the altar upon the wood.

The Kabbalists understand this to mean that G-d's attribute of chesed (mercy), represented by Avraham, tied up G-d's attribute of strength (judgment), represented by Yitzchak. This is how mechila occurs on Yom Kippur, and it provides us with a more lenient sentence than we really deserve.

How does this differ from kapara? Tune in next time...
Writing Lab Workshop
As part of our focus on honing the writing skills of our students, we kicked off a new monthly Writing Lab Workshop series with a session on crafting effective introductions. During the interactive session - led by English Department Chair Lora Gibbens and instructor Dr. Megan Hamilton - students learned from examining anonymous peer writing samples, as well as excerpts from published authors. Next month, the focus shifts to the elements of satire. Write on!


Printable and Electronic Calendars Online

The printable school calendar for this year is now online at
The electronic calendar for 2016-17 is also online!  You can visit throughout the year for the most up-to-date information on everything that's happening, both throughout the school and in each individual division.

The online calendar can be customized to show only the divisions and events you wish to see.  See for more detailed information on how to use the calendar.

In addition, you will be able to subscribe so that school events and alerts will appear on your personal calendar.  More information will follow soon.

Handbook Now Online

The Parent/Student Handbook is now on the Maimo website!  Read it online here.

Username is: maimoparents 
Password is: horim

Follow Maimo on Instagram

expanding our social media network! Please follow us on Instagram at @Maimobrookline. If you're new to our community, note that we're also on Facebook 
(Maimonides School, Maimonides Early Childhood Center) and Twitter (@kolrambam). You'll find all the latest news and activities from school posted on our social media outlets. 

Vehicle Policies and Procedures

Please see this link
for current information on the school's parking policies, as well as updated drop-off and pick-up procedures.
Online Access to Directory
We know many of you are eager to connect with each other! The printed Maimonides School 2016-17 Directory is in production, but parents can access the directory information online via MyBackpack.  

In order to locate family or classmate contact information, follow these steps:
  1. Log into My Backpack
  2. To find a single family, search by last name in the Directory box
  3. To generate an entire grade list, click on "Advanced Search Options" and follow these steps:
    • Click on the "Search for Student" tab
    • Select the grade you want and click on "Search"
    • Click on "Detail" to see email address information         
NOTE: In order to return to the entire grade list, do NOT hit the browser back button. Instead, click on the "Back to Search Student/Parent" button, found above the student name (at top left).

See What's Happening in the Other Divisions

Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at the other divisions' newsletters, please click here.

If you would like to contact a specific school office, please use these emails:

Maimonides School | 34 Philbrick Road | Brookline | MA | 02445