Dear SHA Community,
Before sharing some words of Torah below, I will share a few timely announcements.
SHA Family Shabbat Dinner
Tonight, Leil Shabbat, we will be hosting the SHA Family Shabbat Dinner at Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. The program is totally sold out (the room is full!) and I look forward to welcoming all of the families this evening. If you did not make reservations, we will miss you!
Thank you to SHA Recruitment Director Sharon Mezistrano who organized this program as well as to all of those who helped her bring this idea to fruition.
Welcome back to our Fifth Graders who visited Islandwood this week. I want to give a big thank you to their teachers and chaperones as well as to all of those who helped prepare kosher food for our participants to eat while there. Islandwood is a stunning 250-acre nature reserve on Bainbridge Island that is set up as an outdoor classroom and overnight lodging facility. Other Jewish schools attended Islandwood this week as well - including Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle, Seattle Jewish Community School and Portland Jewish Day School.
Thank you to the Samis Foundation which provided a significant grant to support our participation.
Health and Wellness
We have been experiencing a lot of sickness at school - teachers and students. The sickness has generally been bad colds but some other viruses have occurred as well. To help address this issue, we have increased our janitorial services and added a daily disinfectant wiping down of all shared surfaces.
We need your help as well! Especially during this period of heightened virus transmission, it would be of great service to the learning community if you would keep your child home from school if he or she is experiencing symptoms that are likely to lead to viral transmission (runny nose, wet cough, etc.). A small dose of early prevention will help everyone stay healthy and in school. Thank you for your support!
This week’s perasha presents the last of the ten plagues which Hashem brought upon Egypt: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild Animals, Plague, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness and Death of the First Born.
Our commentators discuss the order of the plagues and the messages that the plagues convey. For example, the midrash (and the Passover seder) describes a three-part acrostic (d’tzach adash b’achav) that is formed from the first letters of the plagues. Commentators discuss various understandings of this grouping of the plagues.
Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi and others suggest that the plagues can also be divided into five groups of two plagues each. Rabbi HaLevi sees a progression through the pairs of plagues from the water to the heavens: Blood and Frogs were plagues originating from the water, Lice and Wild Animals were scourges from the land, while Plague and Boils were airborne. Both Hail and Locusts were windswept; the former as part of a storm, the latter brought by an easterly wind. Finally the last two calamities were heavenly-sent. (Patterns in the Plagues - alhatorah.org)
Questions to Discuss
- From the perspective of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, what messages might the Egyptians have understood from experiencing the plagues? What messages might the Jewish People have understood?
- What other ways could the plagues be divided and what messages could be derived from those perspectives?
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Benjy Owen