Upper School Weekly Update

February 2, 2018  -  Yitro

In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Mock Trial
Teaching Candidate
Tu B'Shevat
Parent Breakfast
Patriots Pride
Kehilla Event
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Sun., Feb. 11
ACT Test
Model UN YUNMUN Conference
Basketball @ Cristo Rey (Girls' V 4:15, Boys' V 5:30, Boys JV 7:00)
Mon., Feb. 12
Wed., Feb. 7
Regular Schedule
Thu., Feb. 15 ( Rosh Chodesh Adar)
Long davening
10th Grade parent-student breakfast
Orayta visit: interviews for interested boys 
Girls' JV Basketball vs. MS Girls (5:15)
Fri., Feb. 16 (Rosh Chodesh Adar)
Long davening

Shabbat Shalom - Have a great Feb. break!

Having a

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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff  

What an exciting weekend is ahead of us! With all the hype and swirl it is hard not to get caught up in the upcoming event. But it is important to remember that accompanying all this is serious controversy. It is the question of standing or not standing for a national symbol. There has been great debate and criticism levied at those who stand and those who do not. I am of course talking about the reading of the Aseret Hadibrot
In the time of the temple, the practice was to read the dibrot in the tefillah done inside the Mikdash. The gemara in Brachot tells us that chazal wanted to expand this custom to our own daily tefillot, even outside the Mikdash. The conclusion of the gemara is that they decided against it מפני תרעומת המינים - out of concern for what the heretics would say: "Why these 10? Are they more important than the rest of the 613? Do they have special status because they were heard from Hashem at Sinai and are therefore the only verifiable mitzvot?" 
And this sensitivity around the dibrot comes up again in the 12th century, in which the Rambam writes a teshuva saying that it is forbidden to stand for the Aseret Hadibrot, based on this gemara in Brachot
And as we zoom ahead to the past one hundred years, the debate pops up again. Rav Ovadia Yossef zt"l is critical of the prevalent custom to stand, and concludes that communities which do stand must not have learned the teshuva of the Rambam. 
Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l justifies the custom by saying that the gemara was only limiting the reading of the dibrot as part of tefillah, but we do not need to extend the limitation to our standing in shul
The Rav zt"l has a third approach. He says that the readings of the aseret hadibrot in Parshiyot Yitro and v'Etchanan each have two sets of taamim - two sets of cantillation marks and punctuation - the taam elyon and the taam tachton. The Rav points out that the difference between the two is that the taam tachton breaks up some of the more wordy dibrot (like Shabbat) into multiple pesukim and combines shorter dibrot into one pasuk. The taam elyon, however, stays true to the dibrot, with each one getting its own pasuk. The Rav says that while the reading of the taam tachton represents a fulfillment of Kriyat HaTorah, the reading of the taam elyon, which we generally do in our shuls, is fundamentally different. When we read the dibrot one at a time, we are not placing them on a pedestal above the other mitzvot; we are reenacting Matan Torah. And this is why we stand. Three times a year, when we read the dibrot, we as Am Yisrael try to reexperience and relive the moment when we stood at the foot of Har Sinai
The controversy surrounding the Aseret Hadibrot is in some ways a symptom of the larger question: What is the nature of the dibrot? What sets them apart? While there are many attempts to answer this, Rashi says at the end of Mishpatim that they are the super-categories into which all 613 mitzvot can be placed. This idea is one which goes well with our middot and dibrot program - which we rolled out today - in which we will focus with our students on some relevant messages and important mussar which can be gleaned from the dibrot, which perhaps encapsulate kol haTorah kula.
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?
  2. Can you make an argument to say that each of the dibrot represents a fundamental principle of Judaism?
  3. If the first five are bein adam lemakom and the last five are bein adam lechaveiro, why might kibbud av va'em be in the first set?
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman

Yitro questions why people are standing in line all day in front of Moshe. According to Ramban, Moshe answered that he had 3 responsibilities: To daven for the people - לִדְרשׁ אֱלֹהִים , to judge them - וְשָׁפַטְתִּי , and to teach them Torah - וְהוֹדַעְתִּי אֶת חֻקֵּי .
Expanding on responsibility number one, the Rav explains that when a person davens for someone who is ill, Hashem judges the sick person and decides whether they are worthy of being cured. Sometimes, if the person does not deserve to be healed, perhaps a family member who is pained by the situation could warrant a restoration of health for the sick person.
The Rav asserts, based on an alternative reading of a gemara in Berachot, that a talmid chacham who is unrelated to the sick person has the same power as a relative to heal the sick through tefilla. When the talmid chacham expends extra effort and energy and joins in the pain of the sick person, Hashem will send a cure to the ill person on behalf of the talmid chacham. Since the talmid chacham does not deserve to be in pain, the sick person is healed.
Therefore, tzadikim, talmedei chachamim, and neviim have a special responsibility and obligation to daven on behalf of others. This was the first responsibility, among many, that Moshe fulfilled for the people.
Mock Trial Heads into Tournament 
The Maimonides Mock Trial team won its third trial this week, going undefeated in preliminary trials and taking its region. This trial was against Boston Latin Academy, and the first time this season that Maimonides represented the defendant in the case.

This is the seventh straight year that the team has won all of its preliminary trials. In that stretch the team has reached the Sweet Sixteen three times, the Elite Eight twice, and the Final Four once. In 2009, the Maimonides team won the State Championship.

The Mock Trial team is unique among Maimonides teams in that it faces schools of all sizes and types. Its first trial of the season was against an inner-city Catholic School, the second against a suburban private prep school, and this one was against a Boston Public test school.

The next step will be the Top Thirty-Two of the State Tournament, where all of the regional winners meet in Worcester at Clark University for morning trials, followed by the Sweet Sixteen on the afternoon of Sunday, March 4.

Monday Evening Shiur to meet Teaching Candidate

Sweet Tu B'Shevat
Our shlichot helped the Upper School students celebrate a sweet Tu B'Shevat with chocolate-dipped fruit treats!

10th Grade Parent Breakfast

Patriots Pride
As we head into Super Bowl weekend, our students enjoyed a temporary adjustment to the dress code today to allow them to show their support for the New England Patriots.

Maimonides Kehilla Event Open to Maimo Students
The Maimonides Kehilla invites all Maimonides students to participate in its annual Launch event next weekend. Please see the flyer below for details.

See What's Happening in other Divisions
Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School! 

If you'd like to take a peek at what's happening in the other divisions, click to visit the Early Childhood Center, Elementary School, or Middle School newsletter pages.

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