March 24, 2017                     Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei                 26 Adar, 5777 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Eighth-Grade Trip
Hot Lunches for April and May
PTA Spring Hat Show
Middle School Lit Mag
Yom Orchim
Help Write a Torah
Absence Notifications
Division Newsletters
Online Photo Galleries

Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,   

Thank you to all of the parents who joined us for Tuesday's Parent-Teacher Conferences and the Step Up to Upper School. We valued the opportunity to speak with you and share thoughts on our students' progress and plans.

Please read on for a d'var Torah, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, and some highlights from the week.
Shabbat Shalom!  

Brian Cohen
Associate Principal, Middle School   

D'var Torah

by Rabbi Dov Huff

"You shall guard my Shabbos and fear my Sanctuary. I am Hashem."
The Rav points out that the Torah links Shabbos and the Mikdash in our parsha specifically, and throughout the Torah in general. The Rav explains that Shabbos and the Mikdash are both sanctuaries - the Mikdash in space, and Shabbos in time. Just as we are commanded with the Mishkan to create a physical space for Hashem - ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם, make for me a Mikdash and I will dwell among you - with Shabbos, we are commanded to create a space in time for Hashem as well. This idea gives new meaning to how we view Shabbos - to the intense spiritual experience it allows for us, as we carve out space in our own homes and in our own busy lives to connect with Hashem.
This idea of being makdish - sanctifying time in which Hashem can dwell among us - is one that the Rav extends to our limud Torah as well. The idea that "on the seventh day ... do not do any melacha" should not distract us from the first part of the pasuk - "six days melacha should be done." The Rav tells us that melacha is productive, creative work. The melacha of being koveah ittim leTorah - setting aside time for Torah - is yet another way in which we carve out time and create a sanctuary for Hashem in our daily lives.
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman

In the parasha this week we read about the completion of the building of the Mishkan. The Torah sums up this project, saying that the Jewish people did everything:
כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' אֶת משֶׁה כֵּן עָשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל הָעֲבֹדָה
In accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moshe, so did the children of Israel do all the work.
The Torah continues and states:
וַיַּרְא משֶׁה אֶת כָּל הַמְּלָאכָהוְהִנֵּה עָשׂוּ אֹתָהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' כֵּן עָשּׂווַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם משֶׁה
Moshe saw the entire work, and lo! they had done it - as the Lord had commanded, so had they done. So Moshe blessed them.
The Torah uses two different words to describe the work of Bnei Yisrael: כָּל הָעֲבֹדָה andכָּל הַמְּלָאכָה . What does the word avodah mean in this context?
The Rav explains that the word avodah means the actual work itself, the physical labor that one does. It could be productive or unproductive. It could be meaningful or not. It is simply work. Here, with the Mishkan, the Torah tells us that the Jewish people finished all the physical labor they were assigned to do.
The Rav explains that there is a second aspect to avodah: That one is unfulfilled through their actions. When someone does avodah, they never feel that the work is complete. He explains that it is connected to the word eved - a slave who works for others and not for themselves. When one works for another person, and has to perform tasks they don't want to do, that is unsatisfying and incomplete work.
Avodah then has two connotations: Physical work, and not feeling like the work is complete.
It's interesting to note that the mitzvah of tefilla is called עבודה שבלב - work from the heart - from the pasuk of וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֵת ה' אֱלֹקֵיכֶם - and you should serve Hashem your G-d.
If tefilla is called עבודה, that means there are two things we can apply to tefilla based on the Rav. First, there is a physical element to tefilla. One needs to put mental effort and physical energy into their tefilla. Second, we can never feel like we are finished. You can never say "I'm done davening." There is always something more to daven for. The avodah of tefilla is never complete. We can fulfill the mitzvah to daven, but the need to daven to Hashem and thank Him, to ask for things and praise Him, is in no way ever satisfied.
Science Fair

The science classrooms are buzzing with preparation for next Tuesday's science fair! Projects are coming together, posters are being designed, and final touches are being put on demonstrations. The students can't wait to share their projects with their family and friends on Tuesday, March 28, from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Eighth-Grade Trip Coming Up Fast!

There's only one more week before the eighth-grade trip to Washingon, D.C., and preparations are well under way! The students are looking forward to a full schedule of learning about our country, learning about the world, and relaxing with their friends. Please keep your eyes open for a schedule and packing list, coming soon!

April-May Hot Lunches

The eighth grade was delighted with the enthusiasm the students showed for their new lunch option from Jerusalem Pita and Grill. With this success, they have decided to offer both Taam China Mondays and Jerusalem Pita and Grill Wednesdays in the April-May round of hot lunches. Next week, they will serve the last installments of the March hot lunches, Taam China on Monday and Jerusalem Pita and Grill on Thursday.

A new order form for Taam China can be found here, and is due next Wednesday, March 29. A new order form for Jerusalem Pita and Grill will be available early next week.

Eighth-grade parents, please remind your children not to order lunch for the first week of April, when they'll be on their trip! 

PTA Spring Hat Show

Lit Mag Submissions Are Open!
Your Magazine, our Middle School showcase of students' artwork and writing, is accepting submissions for its annual publication! Please encourage your child to submit his or her favorite creative work to the Middle School office.

Getting Ready for Yom Orchim
As we prepare to send out invitations for Yom Orchim (Visitors' Day) - which will take place on Friday, May 19th - we want to be sure your loved ones receive all the details so they can mark it on their calendars. If you have not yet provided us with contact information for your child's grandparents or special visitors (or if you have any questions), please contact Ellen Pulda, or at 617-232-4452 x423.

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 for more information, or go directly to our block here.

Absences and Tardy Notifications

We wish that none of our students ever felt ill -- we'd love to have 100% attendance every day -- but we know that germs don't always listen to our desires!

However, we do need to know where our students are.

If your child needs to miss a day of school,

or will be tardy or leave early, please be certain to inform Sharona Vedol in the Middle School office

by email:

Please remember:

We are not using the absence hotline this year!

All absence notifications must come in via email. 

We ask that you e-mail the office for safety reasons -- it allows for far more efficient accounting of student absences.

Division Newsletters

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 Upper Schools, or click here for the Early Childhood Center.

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

On behalf of the entire Middle School:

Shabbat Shalom!


Brian Cohen



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