May 11, 2018                      Parashat Behar-BeChukotai                   26 Iyar, 5778 
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Rav Thoughts
Yom Yerushalayim
Eighth-Grade ERBs
Erev Shavuot
M-Cats Sports Camp
Absence Notifications
Social Time!
Division Newsletters
Quick Links
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Dear Middle School Families,   
It's been another great week in Middle School! Please enjoy this d'var Torah, a thought from the works of Rav Soloveitchik, news about upcoming events, and some pictures and stories from the week.
Shabbat shalom!  
D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff        
Many mitzvot appear multiple times throughout the Torah, but are presented differently in each context. It is always interesting to compare the emphasis put on a given mitzvah in one context vs. its focus in another. In Parshat Behar we learn about three mitzvot which also appear in Sefer Shemot:
  • Shmittah - the Sabbatical year, in which we refrain from working the land and gathering our crops
  • Yovel - the Jubilee year, the 50th year, in which we must return purchased property to its rightful ancestral owners
  • Eved Ivri - the Jewish servant who must be treated well, and completes their term of service in the Yovel
Rav Amnon Bazak points out that there seems to be a common emphasis in the framing of these mitzvot, as they come up in both Sefer Shemot on the one hand and Sefer Vayikra on the other. He posits that the "Behar" reason for the mitzvot is a reminder of our belief in Hashem and a reaffirmation of His dominion over everything. Shmittah reminds us that the produce of our lands is not our own, so we refrain from exercising any form of ownership over it. Yovel reminds us that purchased property does not really belong to us - such ownership is only temporary, until it reverts back to the ancestral heritage, as it was originally given by Hashem. The "freeing" of the servant reminds us that in reality we all are servants of Hashem, and no one is their own master, much less the master of someone else.
The Sefer Shmot emphasis is a socio-moral one. Shmittah serves as an equalizer, in which the poor person enjoys the same access to the land's produce as everyone else. The Yovel allows those who have lost their ancestral property to maintain their claim on it. The Eved Ivri is a system of indentured servitude by which the poor can have a home and food while making an honest living, eventually being set back into society on their own two feet.
These two perspectives are evidenced in the psukim as well. For example, the theme of our parsha is "For the land is Mine, since you are strangers and sojourners with me" (Bamidbar 25:23) as opposed to in Sefer Shemot, where we learn the purpose of Shmittah is so "That the destitute of your people may eat, and the beasts of the field will eat the remainder" (Shemot 23:11).
We find these dual themes stressed by different Rishonim as well. The Rambam, in Moreh Nevuchim III:39, explains Shmittah as a command about "compassion and favor towards all people," while the Sefer Hachinuch describes its purpose as:
In order that a person will remember that the land which produces fruit for him year after year does so not because of its inherent powers, but because there is a Master over it and over its masters, and when He so wishes, He commands that it be left alone.
Our parsha's emphasis on Hashem's dominion over us may also address Rashi's question on this week's parsha: What does Shmittah have to do with Har Sinai? In light of Rav Bazak's idea, we could suggest that our parsha has everything to do with the message of Har Sinai - belief in Hashem and adherence to His commands - because all the land is His. 
Rav Thoughts
by Rabbi David Saltzman 
כִּסֵּ֣א כָב֔וֹד מָר֖וֹם מֵֽרִאשׁ֑וֹן מְק֖וֹם מִקְדָּשֵֽׁנוּ:
As a Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, so is the place of our Sanctuary.
(Yirmiyahu 16:12 - from the haftara)
The Rav explains that our right to claim Israel and Yerushalayim rest on one concept - kedusha. Maintaining that the land and Yerushalayim are ordinary real estate undermines our rights to the land.
The question is asked: Can kedusha and churban (destruction) co-exist? It would seem that these are opposite extremes, and kedusha would evaporate in the face of ruin.
The Rav claims that there is a second approach, which holds that kedusha tolerates churban. That G-d can dwell not only in a magnificent Temple, but also on Mount Zion, which has become desolate; foxes prowl over it (Lamentations 5:18).
The proof is found in the pasuk cited above. There is a dual image portrayed regarding the Beit HaMikdash. The כִּסֵּ֣א כָב֔וֹד מָר֖וֹם is the Beit HaMikdash above, the spiritual representation of the physical Beit HaMikdash below. The enemy can destroy and annihilate everything below, but as long as there is still a Beit HaMikdash above, he cannot affect its sanctity. And as long as מְק֖וֹם מִקְדָּשֵֽׁנוּ - the place of our sanctuary - exists, G-d's presence rests not only above, but also below.
Yom Yerushalayim sameach !
Yom Yerushalayim Activity
In preparation for Yom Yerushalayim on Sunday, the shlichot ran a wonderful "Escape Room" activity for every Middle School class this week! The students worked in teams, exploring the room for clues that enabled each team to open their box. With all the boxes opened, they were able to solve the final puzzle, which opened the door to the lion of Yehudah. A video at the end deepened the Yom Yerushalayim theme with documentary footage of the first Yom Yerushalayim.
Eighth -Grade ERBs Next Week
by Scott Mattoon
Eighth -grade ERBs will be taking place next week on Wednesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 17! They will be given between 8:55 a.m. and 12:05 p.m. on both days. Please be in touch with your child's advisor with any questions you may have.
Please know that there is nothing the students need to do to prepare specifically for these tests, except for bringing two #2 pencils and a calculator with them.  What they have been studying in class this year is all the preparation they need. 

Also, we do not use these tests as primary evaluation tools for individual students and placements in courses, nor do their test scores factor into their grades or transcripts.

These tests do offer one measure of their learning that can be helpful to them, to you, and to the school.  So in order to move on to the next grade, we ask that they perform their best on these tests.  

If they miss any portion of these tests, they will need to make them up at a later date and time that is pre-designated.  Naturally, standard expectations for behavior, conduct, and dress in school are in force during these testing sessions. 

They will take tests on English topics. They will take tests on math topics. They will have opportunities for brief breaks during the testing administrations as determined by their proctors.  They will also have an opportunity to take bathroom breaks one at a time, as determined by their proctors.

For each test day, the students should be extra careful to get a good night's sleep and a good breakfast after davening - and they should bring a snack and water bottle for break time during testing.   
Early Dismissal Next Friday for Shavuot

Due to the three-day holiday for  Shavuot, which is on Sunday and Monday, May 20-21, school will end at 1:10 next Friday.

We hope you have a fantastic chag!

M-Cat Sports Camp
M-Cat Sports Camp is back for its 11th summer, with four weeks of jam-packed fun! Camp is open to students finishing Pre-K through 7th grade. Sessions begin on June 18.

Go to for more information and registration! Contact Michal Alge at with any questions. 
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:
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 .

Social Time!
There's so much going on here at Maimo! Be sure to check out our social media to get the inside scoop (with lots of great photos) on happenings at school.
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Division Newsletters
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School!

If you'd like to take a peek at what's happening in the other divisions, click to visit the Early Childhood Center, Elementary School, or Upper School newsletter pages.

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Shabbat Shalom!

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