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Ma Chadash? Bites
19 Shevat l Parshas Yisro l February 14th
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Parsha Lesson

The parsha starts off with telling us how Yisro, Moshe’s father in law and a great man in his own right, came to join the Jewish people in the desert. After receiving the Torah and spending some time learning Torah with the Jewish people in the desert, Yisro wanted to leave and go back home to his family. Moshe tried to convince Yisro to stay with the Jewish people in the desert and not leave them. Yisro responded- how can a little candle (Yisro) provide light in the place of the sun (Moshe) and the moon (Aharon)? With that argument Yisro went back to his family and taught them Torah and caused them to convert to Judaism and become Torah observant.

While it is true what Yisro is saying that, like a candle, a person will not be able to impact others with their own light if they are in the presence of brighter lights, there are, however, other aspects of being a good, Torah-abiding person. Namely, Yisro would be able to learn Torah and observe the Torah on a much higher level living among the Jewish people than if he would travel back home and live with non-Jews! 

So why is Yisro focusing in on this one aspect of being a good Jew- doing good deeds (chesed) with others- there are other things which are important parts of being a good Jewish person. With regards to these other aspects of being a good Jew it would seem to be more advantageous to stay in the desert with the Jewish people. 

Why would Yisro only consider the positive effect he can have on others to be the determining factor and make his decision based on that one aspect alone?

Yisro understood that the very foundation of the creation of the whole world is chesed, doing kindness to others. Doing good to others is not just another mitzvah in the Torah, rather it is the foundation of the entire Torah and the primary character trait of Hashem Himself. 

Yisro also understood that the greatest kindness that one can do for another is to bring them closer to Hashem by way of teaching them Torah. By educating someone in the true, compassionate and proper ways of the Torah, a person will be completely transformed into someone who will be happier, better, more resilient and just all around a greater person than he would have been without the Torah. 

Yisro saw that he had a unique opportunity to do this special kindness with his family and shine his light onto others in a way that he could not have if he would remain in the same spotlight as Moshe and Aharon.

Our primary job in this world is to do good to others. And as the saying goes- give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. So too, if someone does any kindness for someone, that is good and special. However, to share ideas that transform the person’s life so that his entire existence is more meaningful and pleasant, then your kindness to him will live on forever.

Our ability to enlighten and enhance the lives of those around us in a profound way is not just an aspect of the good we can do, it is our main mission on this world. A person needs to look for those areas that they can shine their light and help those around them become better, happier people according to the true, wholesome ways of the Torah. 

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer

What's Happening...
Judaic Studies

Rabbi Yehuda Friedman- 5th/ 6th grade Boys

The year has been flying by and Rabbi Friedman's 5th/6th grade boys have really been accomplishing. In Chumash, we have finally reached the long awaited midnight event of Makkos Bechoros. We have learned many lessons in Emunah/Faith in Hashem along the way, studying the laws of the Korban Pesach and how Pharaoh and his astrologers react to the upcoming catastrophe.

We had so much fun preparing for last week’s Melava Malka. Everyone was amazed by the boys’ creativity! Last and definitely not least, we could not be more excited with our very special celebration this Monday in honor of the 5 th grade starting the very important study of Gemara! Rabbi Chaim Leiter addressed the boys and the special milestone filled the room with Simcha. 

Mazel Tov 5 th grade!

General Studies

Mrs. Nurit Reines- 7th/ 8th grade

In our social studies class we have been busy getting ready for our debate. The class has been divided into the first two political parties that were created during Washington's time -Federalists and Republicans-. We learned about each party's leader, belief of government and the social group that supported it. Lastly, we made posters putting together all this information. Stay tuned to learn who won the debate and will become president!

Morah Rhona Miller- Pre-Kindergarten

Last week in Pre-K we added a new, innovative language arts program called "Word Time." The program is designed to boost children's vocabulary, thinking, and speaking skills through participation in active lessons. Word Time lessons expose the children to a range of subjects, including: science, math, history, geography, art and music.

Squawker, a friendly parrot puppet, joins our class and helps me teach. Squawker engages the children in saying words and sentences, and encourages them to talk about their personal experiences with the words. This week we started to learn about social behavior and we addressed words like look and listen; polite and rude, and manners and respect. All of the children seem to enjoy what we’re doing and all of them are making great progress. It’s a pleasure to watch!
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