Upper School Weekly Update

March 17th, 2017  -  Ki Tisa
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Purim Carnival
Upper School Play
Help Write a Torah
Division Newsletters
Next Week

Sunday, March 19

SAT Tests

Monday, March 20

9th-grade PSAT
Varsity Baseball 1st tryout (5:15-7:00)

Tuesday, March 21

Varsity Baseball 2nd tryout (5:15-8:30)

Varsity Softball 1st tryout (5:15-7:00)

Wednesday, March 22

Varsity Softball 2nd tryout (5:15-7:30)

Thursday, March 23

Will Slotnick speaking with 10th and 11th grades

Friday, March 24

No changes 

In Two Weeks 

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D'var Torah and Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi Dov Huff


There is a dispute between Rashi and the Ramban as to what motivated the cheit haegel. Both are analyzing the following statement of the people to Aharon Hakohen:
Arise and make us a god to walk before us because the man Moshe who brought us up out of Egypt, we do not know what happened to him
Rashi, in focusing on the first clause, explains that they were looking for a deity. 
The Ramban, however, focusing on the second clause, explains that it was not G-d they were trying to replace, but Moshe Rabbeinu
The Rav has a unique perspective on the cheit, which in a way bridges these two ideas. He juxtaposes man's sin in Gan Eden to that of the cheit haegel. The Rav says that in Gan Eden, Adam and Chava thought that they had divine potential - they were, after all, created in G-d's image. They thought that all they needed was to eat from the fruit of the tree, and then they could be like their Creator. 
On the other hand, the golden calf, says the Rav, was about man's poor self-image. Idolatry in general, he explains, stems from a belief that lowly man cannot access a deity without the help of some medium. Not that the idol itself is a deity, but that it is a vessel in which some divine spirit will rest. Without the help of this intermediary, lowly man cannot dream of an audience with the divine. 
So for the Rav, Bnei Yisrael, who had been surrounded by the idolatry of Mitzrayim, saw Moshe Rabbeinu filling this purpose. Moshe Rabbeinu had performed miracles, extracted them from Mitzrayim, and safely guided them across the Yam Suf, delivering them from the hand of Amalek. He was their radio to Hashem. Without him, they would be lost. According to the Rav, with the eigel, the people were in fact searching for both. Because the loss of Moshe Rabbeinu by extension meant the loss of connection to Hashem.
The new, groundbreaking idea of Judaism is that each individual has access to G-d. We do not need a great rabbi, an idol, or a golden calf. Hashem has granted us the ability to speak to him as individuals. With all of our shortcomings and inadequacies, we have a direct link to our Creator. 
And how does that link express itself? Hashem grants us the ability to talk directly to Him through tefillah. The ability to daven is our backstage pass, allowing each and every one of us to do the impossible - to speak to the divine and unreachable G-d. The gift of tefillah allows us to cultivate our own special and unique relationship with Hashem.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Is tefillah something you take for granted? If so, how can you remind yourself how truly unique it is?
  3. Which aspects of our tefillah and avodat Hashem go counter to this idea and make it hard for us to have access? How might we overcome them?
Purim Carnival
The Purim Carnival on Monday was a huge success, with games, refreshments, costumes, and lots of fun!


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Upper School Play
You are invited to tea in the garden as the Drama Club presents "The Importance of Being Earnest."  Performances will take place Sunday at 3:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Save the Date for Baseball Tournament

The M-Cat baseball team will host a new invitational day-school tournament this spring in memory of Ezra Schwartz, זק"ל ,'15. The games are scheduled for May 18-21 in Sharon. Other schools participating will be Atlanta Jewish Academy and two Manhattan schools, Ramaz and SAR High School. More details and the full schedule will be announced shortly.
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.

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