Dear SHA Community,
We returned from Winter Break this week and school is in full swing!
This week, we were pleased to host Ms. Nili Auerbach from the Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Ms. Auerbach toured our school and also made a presentation about the Judaic Studies curriculum that the Lookstein Center offers North American Jewish Day Schools.
We were also pleased to host this month’s Seattle Jewish Day School Head of School meeting that is convened by Samis Foundation. We are proud of our partnership with Samis and with Seattle’s Jewish Day Schools.
There have been a number of semachot in the community this week and I want to highlight the Bat Mitzvah of our student, Maytal Rosenfeld. Mazal Tov to her and to her family!!
In this week’s perasha, VaYechi, we conclude the reading of the book of Beresheit/Genesis. The perasha describes the end of our patriarch Jacob’s life and the blessings that he imparted to his children.
The Torah writes:
Then Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, ‘I am about to die; but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your ancestors. And now, I assign to you one portion more than to your brothers, which I wrested from the Amorites with my sword and bow.
Our Rabbis struggle to understand what the Torah means in saying that Jacob conquered territory with a sword and bow. Is this to be understood literally? Figuratively? If it is figurative, what does the metaphor mean?
One of our greatest Biblical commentators, Rabbenu Ovadiah Seforno, explains that “sword and bow” are to be understood figuratively and that a righteous person’s weapons are their wisdom and understanding. Therefore, Jacob acquired this land through his wisdom and understanding.
When the situation demands, we must fight with brawn and physical force. Yehoshua was a general. The soldiers of Israel Defense Forces are critical to the viability of the State of Israel. However, our heroes are not warriors. Our heroes are righteous people. One of our highest ideals is to prepare our children to live a life of righteousness and to be wise and to have understanding.
Reflecting on this week’s perasha, let us redouble our efforts in teaching and preparing our students and children to be the righteous, wise and understanding people of the next generation.