Upper School Weekly Update

January 20th, 2017  -  Shemot
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Wrestling Shabbaton
Jazz Band Tribute
Division Newsletters
Next Week
Sunday, January 22 
SAT Tests
Monday, January 23

Basketball vs. Notre Dame 

(Varsity only, Girls 5:30, Boys 6:45)

Tuesday, January 24

7:00 p.m. 11th Grade Introduction to College

Wednesday, January 25

Girls' Basketball @ Ursuline 

(JV 5:30, V 6:45)

Thursday, January 26

No changes

Friday, January 27

No changes
In Two Weeks 

Having a


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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff

When we think about the moment of the burning bush from Moshe Rabbeinu's perspective, it is hard to even imagine the thoughts and emotions going through his head as he, a young wandering shepherd, chances upon this unnatural spectacle, defying the very laws of nature. There the Divine Creator reveals himself to Moshe, charges him with the seemingly impossible task of saving an enslaved people, and enables him to perform supernatural miracles of his own. In this earth-shattering moment Moshe Rabbeinu does not run to Mitzrayim to fulfill his divine mission. Instead, he asks permission from his father-in-law. 
The Midrash tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu felt indebted to his father-in-law, Yitro, who had welcomed in the Egyptian outcast and given him a home and family. How could Moshe run off without asking Yitro first? This is called hakarat hatov. It is called derech eretz. This is not only a statement about how we treat each other, but also a statement of priorities. Before Moshe Rabbeinu went to bring Bnei Yisrael to Matan Torah at Har Sinai, he showed derech eretz to his father-in-law. This gesture echoes the ethic of Chazal: "derech eretz kadmah leTorah" - the way we treat people takes priority over Torah.
At the beginning of Sefer Breishit the Netziv writes a beautiful introduction. He tells us that another name for Sefer Breishit is Sefer HaYashar. Here yashar means to be good, to be kind and honest, to care about other people. These lessons, says the Netziv, are lessons we learn from the role modelling of the Avot and Imahot and their care and compassion for everyone. He contrasts their yashrut to the Jews in the time of the second temple, who he says were learned but not just. They were talmidei chachamim but not yesharim. This disconnect resulted in the destruction of bayit sheini
We find ourselves in the transition between Sefer Breishit and Sefer Shmot, between the Sefer HaYashar and the sefer of Matan Torah. We can suggest that Sefer Breishit precedes Sefer Shmot not just chronologically but thematically. Before we receive the Torah we must make sure we are yashar, because all the Torah we learn is for nothing if we fail to treat everyone with dignity and care. We, like Moshe Rabbeinu, must prioritize derech eretz at all times. 
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Do you think that being yashar and being a talmid chacham are really different things?
  3. What gestures of derech eretz could you be more careful about? 
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman     
Rabbi Soloveitchik writes that while Moshe was gazing upon the burning bush, he made two observations. One was that the bush was indestructible. It was אֵינֶנּוּ אֻכָּל - not being consumed. The second miracle was that the fire didn't spread.
The Rav translates מַדּוּעַ לֹא יִבְעַר הַסְּנֶה as: Why did the bush not catch fire? There was a fire in the middle, but the exterior did not catch fire at all!!
He answers that there were two messages for Moshe from this miraculous mareh. The first was to teach Moshe that the covenantal community is indestructible. No matter how difficult circumstances are, and no matter how great the suffering, the covenantal community will never terminate.
The second miracle was that the external personality of a Jew, and even their deeds, are not indicative. Sometimes there is a conflict between the external personality and the inner personality. In spite of the cold, thorny, and scratchy demeanor on the outside, deep down in the center of the heart there is warmth, sensitivity, and love.
For these reasons, a Jew should never be expelled or considered lost to the community.
Wrestling Shabbaton

Last weekend's Shabbaton with SAR Academy's wrestling team was filled with ruach and good sportsmanship.  A great time was had by all!

Jazz Band Tribute

Upper School jazz band students and alumni saluted long-time band director Michael Maleson (below, at left) with some music at a gathering in his honor on Sunday. Scott Mattoon, General Studies Principal, took a turn on the drums. Mr. Maleson has worked with the band for more than 18 years.

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