Upper School Weekly Update

April 7th, 2017  -  Tzav
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Pre-Pesach Kashering Extravaganza
Next Newsletter
Wrestling Champion
Help Write a Torah
Division Newsletters
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Monday, April 17
Patriots Day

Pesach 7th day

School closed

Tuesday, April 18

Pesach 8th day

School closed

Wednesday, April 19

School closed

Thursday, April 20

Classes resume

Softball vs. St. Joseph's (3:30)

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Friday, April 21

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D'var Torah 

by Rabbi Dov Huff

In the third perek of Sefer Hoshea, there is a very odd prophecy in which Hashem instructs Hoshea to contract an adulterous woman for 15 silver coins and barley. She symbolizes the unfaithfulness of Bnei Yisrael, and is to remain separated from Hoshea for "many days," as Bnei Yisrael had turned away from Hashem. Rashi takes the symbolism one step further, drawing parallels between the 15 coins and the fifteenth day of Nissan; between this barley and that of the Korban Omer of Pesach; between the "many days" and the 49 days leading up to Shavuot.  
What is the message here?  What is the significance of the barley, the "marriage," the contract, and how are they connected to the period stretching from Pesach to Shavuot?
Rabbi Reuven Brand, the Rosh Kollel of Torah Mitzion in Chicago, describes the transition from Pesach to Shavuot in the following way. He points out several differences between the Korban Omer on Pesach and the Shtei Halechem of Shavuot. The Korban Omer is brought of the lesser grain, barley, while the Shtei Halechem is brought from wheat. The Omer is brought as matzah - unleavened - while the Shtei Halechem is highly unusual in that it is brought as fully developed chametz. The theme of this period seems to be one of growth, fermentation, and development. But what are we developing into? Where are we coming from, and where are we going?
The Rav, in his eulogy for his uncle the GRIZ (Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, also known as the Brisker Rav), given at Yeshiva University in 1959, spoke about the difference between the first stage of marriage (kiddushin) on the one hand and the final stage (nisuin) on the other. The Rav spoke about how kiddushin requires the formal consent of both parties. It is a legally binding contract, committing each party to the other. For this reason, a transaction is made with a ring. While the kiddushin establishes a contract, the nisuin creates a state of being, a reality. In the nisuin, the man and woman stand under the chuppah as they will stand together through life, in the house they will build as a unit. 
The Rav used this as a metaphor to describe his uncle's commitment to Torah. Most people feel the commitment, the responsibility, and the obligation to learn Torah. The GRIZ learned Torah as a way of life. He lived Torah. While most people are engaged to Torah, the Brisker Rav was married to it.
With this perspective, we can view the development from Pesach to Shavuot in a new light. On Pesach, we committed to Hashem. We made a binding contract over the Korban Pesach by which we entered into a covenantal relationship with our creator and became His nation.  We became engaged to Hashem, but this relationship was in its infancy. It was as undeveloped as the matzah of Pesach and the barley of the Omer - the contract of Hoshea without the union of marriage.
The next step was to build on this commitment and create a new reality, a marriage in which we bound ourselves eternally to our creator. This was Matan Torah. Hashem gave us the handbook on how to create this reality. At Matan Torah, our relationship deepened to a new, profound level which we celebrate on Shavuot. We bring the fully developed Shtei Halechem, made from the choice wheat. We stay up and learn Torah as an expression of this relationship as a way of life. We celebrate the moment in which Hashem suspended Har Sinai over us, as a couple stands under the chuppah, and we  expressed our "I do" with "Naaseh venishma."
As we begin Pesach, let us embrace this beginning stage of our growth, as we rise and develop in our relationship with Hashem.

Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. How does this idea change our perspective on chametz?
  3. From this perspective, how might we connect biur chametz to what we discussed about Sefer Vayikra last week?


Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman

וּפֶתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד תֵּשְׁבוּ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת ה' וְלֹא תָמוּתוּ כִּי כֵן צֻוֵּיתִי:
And you shall stay day and night for seven days at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. You shall observe the Lord's command, so that you will not die, for thus I was commanded.
The Rav states that proper preparation is a necessary condition for any encounter with holiness. For example, in the prelude to giving the Torah, the people were cautioned not to go near their wives for three days. Similarly, in our parasha, Aaron had to submit to a seven-day preparation period prior to the dedication of the Mishkan, and every Kohen Gadol went through a similar sequestration prior to Yom Kippur. Both involved an encounter with holiness.
The same is true of Shabbat. One is not worthy of celebrating it unless one prepares for it. The Rambam states that it is a mitzvah to wash one's hands, face, and feet in hot water on Friday afternoon before Shabbat in order to honor Shabbat.
Holiness does not arrive suddenly; it only comes from the invitation inherent in the act of preparation.

Pre-Pesach Kashering Extravaganza
Our 9th and 10th graders brought on the heat! With Pesach on the horizon, and as part of our year-long exploration of the critical topic of kashrut in Masechet Chullin, the students spent the last few weeks learning about taste transfer and kashering of utensils and appliances. Yesterday, their studies culminated in a Pre-Pesach Kashering Extravaganza!

Under the guidance of several of our community rabbonim - Rabbi Hellman, Rabbi Segal, Rabbi Cheses, and Rabbi Taylor - students applied their knowledge to resolve actual kashrut questions, utilizing everything from boiling water to a blowtorch while they evaluated real-life scenarios and analyzed the kashrut issues with their Maimonides rebbeim and community rabbis.

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Next Newsletter
The next Upper School newsletter will be sent on April 28 (the week after Pesach).  Best wishes for a chag kasher v'sameach!

Wrestling Champion 

Mazel tov to senior Simon Kangoun, who won the Maccabi USA Junior National Wrestling Championship in the 84-kilogram weight class Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania. Simon is a veteran member of the Maimonides wrestling team.

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 other Divisions
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School! 

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