Ma Chadash?Bites
28 Tishrei l Parshas Bereishes l Oct 16

Bereishis Parsha Lesson- Appreciation
For Year 2 of Parsha Lesson, I will be focusing on one practical middah, character
trait, to think about in the week ahead and steps we can take to attain it.

Bereishis starts off with telling us about the creation of the world. After the seven days of creation, the Torah tells us that 'the vegetation of the land had not yet sprouted forth, because Hashem did not bring rain on the land and there was no man to work the land.'

Rashi explains that even though all vegetation was created on the 3rd day of creation, it did not sprout forth from the 'mouth of the Earth' because Hashem did not send rain.

Why did Hashem not send rain? Because Adam was not yet created to 'work' the land and there was no one to recognize the goodness of rain.

As we all know, Adam started off in Gan Eden! The plan was for him to remain there and not have to work at all! Adam and Chava and all of humanity were destined to sit back and enjoy life in Gan Eden and never have to work.

So what does the Torah mean when it says that Man was not yet there to work the land? Man was NOT SUPPOSED to work the land!?

R' Avigdor Miller explains that Man's mission on this world is to recognize the goodness and kindness of Hashem. This is the 'work' expected of man: to use his daas- knowledge and reasoning- to appreciate Hashem and to then use his mouth to praise Hashem for the goodness that he recognizes.

As we see from Hashem only providing rain when and if Adam would appreciate it, appreciating the good that Hashem does for us is a pre-requisite for Hashem to bless us. The more that we can appreciate the good that Hashem does- the more blessing Hashem will shower on us. The more perceptive we are in our understanding of Hashem's chesed, enables Hashem to do chesed with us.

More profoundly, being that man's fundamental mission in this world, is for Man to appreciate and recognize the good Hashem does with him, it therefore goes to reason that this must be an important aspect of one's self-development. Conversely, not recognizing the good one has received or denying the requisite recognition for the the good one has received is the root of a rotten person.

Appreciation, otherwise known as Hakaras Hatov, recognition of good, is a central part of man's development and crucial to properly developing as a fine person. Merely paying lip service- saying thank you- is not appreciating and recognizing goodness and kindness. The goal is to develop into an authentically GOOD person, not to merely be proper and socially respectable.

First Step
The first step is to notice and appreciate the goodness that we receive from the PEOPLE around us. If we can't appreciate the kindness that we see that is more obvious, we will not be able to appreciate Hashem's kindness which is less obvious.

If we can really appreciate the good we receive- starting with one instance and then growing from there- we will develop into people who have the character trait of 'Appreciation.' As a person incorporates this character trait into his personality it will become easier for him to exercise his Appreciation and to also appreciate more subtle and profound kindness.

How significant is this? Pretty significant. Significant enough for Hashem to create the whole world and all that is in it.

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer

What's happening...

Judaic Studies

Morah Tirtza Zachai- 1st Grade
Baruch Hashem we have had a wonderful start to the school year! We learned so much about Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Succos! Kitah Aleph made their own Yahadus song notebook!

We’re also learning how to speak in Hebrew. We already have quite an impressive vocabulary! The First Graders know how to make their own sentences. Every child wrote their own sentence and made it into a hat that they wore proudly for the rest of the day.

General Studies

Ms. Renee Glashow- 3rd Grade
The leaves are falling outside and we've been falling into fun learning activities in The Third Grade Learning Spot! After reading and discussing "Autumn Winds", the students decorated the poems with illustrations and fall themed sequins for their poetry folders.

They showed off their writing skills when they composed "Fall is..." acrostic poems that were mounted on leaf patterns they painted. Fall was even incorporated with math during our "Rake it Up" game where students solved the addition or subtraction problem on a foam leaf.

Happy fall!

Pre- School

Mrs. Rebeccah Ertel- PreK
In conjunction with our Fall unit, Pre-K has been learning all about pumpkins! We compared a large pumpkin and a small pumpkin and made a hypothesis as to which pumpkin would contain the greatest number of seeds. We guessed that the large pumpkin would contain more seeds. However, once we scooped out all of the seeds from both pumpkins, we discovered that it was actually the smaller pumpkin that contained the most seeds!

Later in the week, we used the dried pumpkin seeds in various math activities that helped us practice counting with one-to-one correspondence. We also learned about the process of how a pumpkin grows. We discussed how after seeds are planted in soil, they need water and sunshine to grow. The sprouts of the plant push above the ground and grow into thick vines with blossoms that develop into pumpkins. 

We also made a pumpkin art project by gluing orange and green lentils onto a pumpkin template. We can't wait to decorate our classroom with our very own pumpkin patch!
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