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DVAR TORAH
 
Parshat Achrei Mot introduces the requirement to cover the blood produced from slaughtering birds or wild animals that were slaughtered for consumption: "And if any Israelite ...who hunts down an animal or a bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth" (17:13). The Rambam, in his Moreh Nevukhim (3:46) explains the obligation of kisui ha-dam on the basis of the blood rituals practiced by the ancient pagans. As the Rambam describes, the pagans considered blood food of the spirits, and therefore some sects would collect the blood and eat the animal's meat while sitting around the blood. The prevalence of this practice, according to the Rambam, gave rise to the Torah prohibition against eating blood, as well as to the prominent role of blood-sprinkling in the sacrificial process.
 
Rav Shimshon Refael Hirsch views the prohibition against eating blood, and the obligation to cover animals' blood, as representing the need to distance ourselves from the animalistic essence of the human being. The killing of animals for food runs the risk of blurring the lines between humans and animals, of relegating the human being into little more than a sophisticated animal participating in the ongoing struggle for survival. In order to reinforce the qualitative difference between the human and animal species, the Torah required refraining from eating, and even concealing the slaughtered animal's blood. Rav Hirsch explains that in animals, the blood signifies the "life" of the animal, that it is the essential component of the organism's being. G-d, therefore decreed that when a human being consumes the meat of an animal and the animal becomes part of the human body, the "life" of the animal should not mix with the "life" of the human being. The blood instead is mixed with earth, symbolic of its source of the physical component of man.
 
Through this understanding, Rav Hirsch suggests that through the covering of the blood we are reminded that only our external and physical selves are similar to animals. But human beings alone possess a unique ability to rise to higher spiritual levels than the rest of G-d's creations.

 
Shabbat Shalom
 
Rabbi Weinberg, Principal



NEWS & VIEWS



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Earlier this month, a dreadful incident occurred on the highways of Saskatchewan, Canada - one that completely stunned the hockey community. On Friday, April 6th, a bus carrying 29 players and staff members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team was T-boned by a tractor-trailer carrying dozens of packages of peat moss on their way to a playoff game . The Broncos' bus flipped sideways, skidding diagonally across the intersection. Fifteen people were killed instantly - ten players,  two coaches, the team statistician, the team radio announcer and the bus driver - while fourteen were severely injured.

On Sunday, April 8th, just 48 hours after the collision, thousands of citizens from Humboldt held a memorial service at the home of the Broncos, the Elgar Petersen Arena. They spilled into the aisles when all the seats were filled, and then into the nearby curling club, convention center, and gymnasium, when the rink ran out of room. Flowers were arranged around the team's logo at center ice, and in front of the stage, there were pictures of the deceased.

Many members of the National Hockey League (NHL) sent their condolences to the everyone associated with the team. An emotional Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, originally from Saskatchewan, addressed the media, calling it "a horrific, horrific accident." Teams in the NHL also took the opportunity to reach out to the families and community through social media platforms, mourning the loss of the junior hockey league. Pittsburgh's very own Sidney Crosby and the Penguins made a custom jersey spelling out "Broncos" on the back above the number 18 and sent it off to Humboldt with every single player's signature on the back. Additionally, the players all sent $10,000 to the Humboldt GoFundMe account and the Penguins Foundation matched that donation with another $10,000.

This tragedy has given all hockey fans a reason not to take anything in life for granted. 

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IDENTIFY THE BABY!
Week Three



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ANNOUNCEMENTS








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Did you know the Bnot Sheirut have their own Facebook page? It's filled with lots of pictures and videos! Check it out at:  www.facebook.com/PittsburghBanot

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When you  #StartWithaSmile , Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh. Bookmark the link and support us every time you shop.  https://smile.amazon.com/ch/25-1067130   



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At Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, we educate young men and women with unlimited capacity who compete in a superior manner in all challenges undertaken. Our students are Torah observant models of exemplary character, who love G-d, the Jewish people, and the land of Israel. To say that our students possess a love of learning, confidence and the ability to think critically, merely highlights the value of a Hillel education. What we ultimately achieve each day, and have been achieving for 70 years, is the gift of instilling each student with the foundation for a life spent actively serving and leading the Jewish community and society.


Micki Myers, Editor | Hillel Happenings | 412 521-8131 | hillelhappenings@hillelpgh.org |www. hillelpgh.org