Upper School Weekly Update

March 3rd, 2017  -  Terumah
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Model UN in Canada
Be Happy, it's Adar!
Help Write a Torah
Alumni Newsletter
Division Newsletters
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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff

The Ramban, in his introduction to Sefer Shmot, says that the sefer is about "exile and redemption." We can certainly recognize how this title is appropriate for the exile and enslavement in Egypt, as well as the eventual salvation and redemption when Hashem took us out. This description, however, only takes us as far as Parshat Beshalach, about a third of the way through the entire sefer. It seems to leave out one of the most significant moments in Jewish history, in which we receive the Torah, as well as the multiple parshiyot devoted to the building of the Mishkan

The Ramban explains that in reality, the receiving of the Torah and the building of the Mishkan are essential aspects of our redemption. Without the Torah, which guides us, and the Mishkan, which brings us closer to Hashem, we would not truly be redeemed. We could have left Mitzrayim and been free, but if nothing came afterwards, we would have had no sense of meaning or purpose - we would be left standing in the desert.
At school, we always emphasize the importance of engaging with the Torah. While we are trying to develop mastery of content and skills in all classes, both General and Judaic, we are generally focusing on the outcome, the knowing. There is an additional and unique quality and value in our Limudei Kodesh classes, which is the process, the learning. According to the Ramban, this mere act of sitting in the classroom and probing the depths of Torah brings us closer to Hashem, and to redemption in the process.
Thoughts of the Rav  

by Rabbi David Saltzman 
The Rav states that the most important principle in Judaism is kedusha. And the price the Torah demands in exchange for kedusha is that a Jew should be capable of respecting certain boundary lines, which the Torah has introduced.
There are two ways to respect a law: through love or fear. One who does not respect the law will be subject to sanctions. If you observe the law because you are afraid of sanctions, this is not an act of kedusha. It is a legal performance. The fact that one abstains from the commission of crime with this mindset does not give that person the status of a moral individual.  
On the other hand, if one respects the law freely, there will be no need for threats and there will be no need for sanctions. Only if the act is a voluntary one, without being coerced - if one observes the ethical law because they want to and love to - can we say that this is someone who acts with a moral personality.
The Rav concludes that it wasn't the actual physical walls of the Mishkan that gave it sanctity. Rather, it was the people's acceptance of the Mishkan's boundaries that created kedusha, by their choosing to withdraw from the area it occupied. It is our willful performance of mitzvot - not just the act itself - that infuses an act or place with kedusha.

Model UN Goes to Canada
Bravo! Kol hakavod! Well done! This week our delegation attended the Jewish Canadian Youth Model United Nations in Montreal. Everyone had a great time, and four of our team members were recognized among the best delegates in their respective committees.

Be Happy, It's Adar!
Be happy, it's Adar! Our seniors danced and sang their way through the rest of the school this week as they shared some Rosh Chodesh joy.

Help Write a Torah

As you may have heard, there is a beautiful and inspiring initiative underway, a joint initiative of The Afikim Foundation and Israel's Ministry for Diaspora Affairs, to write a Global Unity Sefer Torah celebrating the 50th Anniversary of a Reunited Jerusalem. Jews everywhere can inscribe letters in the Torah, NOT with money, but with simple acts of chesed, everyday kindnesses that positively impact the lives of others. To see more information about this global initiative, please watch this 1-minute video!
Since groups may reserve blocks of letters, we've taken the opportunity to reserve 1000 letters for our Maimonides family.  Let's complete the Maimonides block in the Global Unity Torah and inspire goodness in the world in honor of Jerusalem! The custom link for our school's block can be accessed by clicking here. You may reserve letters for yourself and/or your entire family as a group. (All blue letters are available.) It only takes a minute. 
A digital file containing the names of everyone who participated and their acts of chesed will remain permanently with the Torah, which will be dedicated in Jerusalem on May 24, Yom Yerushalayim.  (There will also be a drawing for 3 round-trip tickets to attend the dedication!) 
Please challenge yourself to commit and record at least 3 acts of kindness by May 24 - actions that are manageable and within your reach. There is no chesed too small!  
Visit jerusalem50.org for more information, or go directly to our block here.

Alumni Newsletter Online
The monthly alumni newsletter for February is now online, and can be found here.  This issue's articles include:
  • Veteran Birthright Israel Coordinator Changing Course
  • Recent Graduate Explores a Different Aspect of Life in Israel
  • A series of photos celebrating the Super Bowl victory around the world
If you would like to receive the alumni newsletter each month, contact Mike Rosenberg at (617) 232-4452 x 405 or mrosenberg@maimonides.org.
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 for the Elementary and Middle Schools, or click here for the Early Childhood Center.

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


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