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Ma Chadash? Bites
12 Shevat l Parshas Beshalach l February 7th
Our Father- Son Melava Malka is this Motzai Shabbos, February 8th!! We look forward to seeing all Fathers and sons at the school at 8:00 for some terrific entertainment, Chinese food buffet and enjoying a great evening together.
Parsha Lesson


Background
At the beginning of this week’s Parsha it talks about the Jewish people’s journey as they had just left Mitzrayim. The Torah tells us how just a few days after having left Egypt and after the Egyptians had just finished burying their dead from Makkas Bechoros, the death of the firstborn, both Pharoah and his people had a change of heart and regretted having let the Jewish people go.

Rashi explains, that the reason for the Egyptian's change of heart was due to the fact that the Jewish people had borrowed a tremendous amount of gold, silver and other valuables, and at this point they realized that the Jewish people were not coming back. All of their hard earned money and wealth was now gone. This realization is what caused the Egyptians to now regret letting the Jewish people free and now spurred the Egyptians to go chase after the Jewish people to bring them back.

Question
Why would this prompt the Egyptians to regret letting the Jewish people go free? The reason that the people of Mitzrayim wanted to free the Jewish people is because they realized that the Jewish people were a danger to them. Now that they are upset about having lost their money, at most the Egyptians should just chase the Jewish people and fight with them to get their money back.

These are two seperate things:
  1. They let the Jewish people go because it was dangerous to keep them.
  2. They lost a lot of money to the Jews.

Why would the Egyptian's losing money cause them to now regret having let the Jewish people, who were clearly dangerous to keep as slaves, go free?

Answer
Exactly what the connection was between them losing their money and regretting having let the Jewish people go can be debated and hypothesized. However, what is clear is that the Egyptians losing their money was so emotionally upsetting to them that it caused them to lose their sound and rational judgement and ended up with their destruction. 

Chasing after the Jewish people to bring them back to Mitzrayim to be their slaves was clearly an act of madness. The Jewish people’s G-d, Hashem, just completely wrecked and destroyed Egypt on account of the Jewish people being enslaved by them. Mitzrayim was still in mourning over the loss of the heads of their families. This act of madness, Rashi explains, was rooted in their loss of money.

Lesson
There are certain things in life that can cause a person to think and rationalize in a completely illogical, sometimes dangerous and almost mad way. In this scenario we see the Egyptians getting so thrown and upset by their loss of money that they proceed on a path of decision making and reasoning which leads them to the ultimate suicide mission. 

One needs to be aware of these powerful forces that can lead one to a path of ruin. By being ever vigilant in checking one’s self with others- who aren’t emotionally charged by the situation at hand, and by critically challenging our own thinking, one can hope to make sound decisions.



Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer


What's Happening...
STA Learning Center

Mrs. Suri Leiter- Director of Special Services ( Excerpted)

At this mid-point in the school year, it is time to assess to see how our children have been progressing in Hebrew Reading (Kriah) and English reading. Each child is tested by a teacher in the Learning Center to see how they compare to the class’s benchmark in both, Hebrew and English reading.

These results will help to determine reading groups, levels for different programs, and what areas the teachers need to focus on with their classes. A letter with the results will be sent home shortly. The big question is… How do we help our children become even better readers?

Kriah is the process of learning and developing our Hebrew reading so that we can become proficient in our speed (fluency) and accuracy (decoding). We all know that PRACTICE, PRACTICE and more PRACTICE is the way to improve our reading. Here are some ideas to encourage your children to practice at home:

·   When your child comes home with Kriah homework, have them read it 2-3 times, timing their reading. Repeated reading is a great strategy to increase speed. Each time they improve their speed, point it out and reward with a point system. Let them set a goal to earn a prize with their points. 
 
·   Choose a paragraph for them to practice reading from the Siddur, Chumash or Tehillim-psalms (chapter 119 is divided by letters - let them choose a letter). (Your Morah or Rebbe would be happy to recommend and share grade-level reading). Time them and then let them set a goal for their time. Reward them when the goal is reached. 
 
·   Have fun with a metronome to keep to a certain beat - download a metronome with this link.
 
 
As Dr. Seuss said so eloquently, “The more you read, the more you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you will go”!
 

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