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Ma Chadash? Bites
13 Teves l Parshas Vayechi l January 10
Parsha Lesson


At the beginning of this week's parsha, Yakov Avinu calls Yosef over to prepare for when he passes away. Yakov wanted to ensure that Yosef buries him, not in Mitzrayim, rather in Eretz Yisroel. Yakov asked Yosef to not only give him his word that Yosef would bury him in Eretz Yisroel, but insisted that Yosef swear to him that he would do so.


Yosef was an extremely devoted and loyal son, tremendous Tzaddik, and had a deep personal attachment to Yakov. Why would Yakov insist on Yosef swearing that he would fulfill his father's final request?


Yakov knew that it would be very difficult for Yosef to actually take him out of Mitzrayim for burial. Yakov was concerned, not that Yosef would be negligent or unreliable in carrying out this mission, but rather that due to the difficulty of the task he may come to rationalize some other approach other than exactly what Yakov wanted. By raising the stakes for Yosef (he swore that he would do as his father requested!) Yakov was able to more fully ensure that he would in fact be brought out of Mitzrayim and buried in Eretz Yisroel.


There are at least 2 lessons that we can learn from this:

  1. In order to clarify precisely what is the right way to proceed, it helps to increase the gravity of the issue at hand. If my mistaken judgement leads to me losing $1, I will make a more casual decision than if my mistaken judgment leads to me losing $10,000. The increased stakes helps to clear away a lot of the confusion and rationalizations that I tell myself.
  2. If we are trying to accomplish something we need to fully fully ensure that it is going to be successfully executed. The nature of people is to be lazy and not push themselves to the degree they are able to in order 'see the job through.' Hashem wants us to do our utmost in carrying out our responsibilities. Doing so helps to perfect and better our character.

Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!

Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer

What's Happening...
Judaic Studies

Morah Chaya Leiter- 5th grade girls

The Exodus from Egypt is unfolding before the 5th grade girls' eyes! We are making headway in Chumash Shemos! We began learning about the 3 signs that Hashem gave Moshe in order to prove to the Jews that G-d really did appear to him. The students have been involved with hands-on projects to depict the signs Hashem gave. For example, they made snakes and wrote information about the first sign on their snakes. They also enjoyed acting out the signs using the words of the Pesukim to narrate what was going on. Our class is quite a talented group of actresses!
In addition to the content, the students are working hard to improve their Chumash skills. They are becoming experts in breaking apart words, finding the shoresh (root of the word), and translating the prefixes and suffixes. The 5th grade girls on their way to translating these pesukim independently, an important skill for the advanced Chumash learner!
General Studies

Mrs. Aimee Friedell- 1st Grade

The first grade ended our writing unit on personal narratives with an Author’s Celebration. The children shared books that they have created from a personal narrative story that they wrote. They shared their books with one another and with other children in the school. Each student starred in a video in which they read their book. We ended the day with a special snack. It was a really special and fun day for everyone.

Mrs. Shuly Amsel- Torah Tots

This week in Torah tots we started learning about warm weather clothing. We talked about how important it is to wear a coat when it is cold outside. We learned that coats keep our bodies warm and dry in the cold winter weather. We read the book “The Jacket I wear in the Snow” by Shirley Neitzel. The children made paper coats by ripping brightly colored tissue paper into small pieces and gluing them onto a coat cutout. They added a zipper and now the beautiful coats are hanging on the bulletin board in our classroom, keeping our room cozy and warm. We also spent time each day learning the coat trick. Each child took a turn standing by the hood of their coat and putting their arms in the sleeves. They then flipped the coat over their head and stuck their hands through the rest of the sleeves. They now know how to put on their own coats without help.
Great job Torah Tots! We are so proud!

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