Upper School Weekly Update

January 19, 2018  -  Bo
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Beit Midrash
Parent Breakfast
Mock Trial
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Sun., Jan. 28
Girls' Basketball @ Gann (JV 9:15)
Boys' Basketball vs. Winthrop (V 1:00)
Mon., Jan. 29
T ues., Jan. 30
Wed., Jan. 31 
Tu B'Shevat
Thu., Feb. 1
Yeshiva visit: Orayta interviews (interested senior boys only) 

9th Grade: X-block meeting 

Mock Trial vs. Boston Latin

Girls' Baskeball vs. S. Shore Christian Academy (V 5:45)
Fri., Feb. 2
Regular Schedule

Having a

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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
There is a theme which permeates the entirety of our Jewish experience. It is embedded in our daily lives and so constant that we sometimes tend to miss it. It is the mitzvah of zechirat yetziyat Mitzrayim. It is, by most counts, one of the 613 mitzvot which we learn from the pasuk in Devarim "In order that you remember the day you left (Mitzrayim) all the days of your lives." We know from the haggadah that this pasuk is a command to remember the exodus during both day and night. 
Not only is the exodus to be ingrained in our daily awareness, but the phrase "because I took you out of Egypt" is linked to many mitzvot in the Torah. 
And what do we do with this memory? What function does it serve? To answer that, we need look no further than the second pasuk of this week's parsha, which introduces a theme repeated no fewer than five times in Parshat Bo - In order that you tell your sons and your son's sons. This memory is not to lay dormant in each of us, but is to be transmitted to our children. It is part of a national consciousness, drawing us forever back to the seminal moment, the inception of our identity as a nation.
It is our history, the parsha tells us, to which we must connect our children. It is our national story in which they must find meaning and pride. It reminds us of our unique responsibility and the privilege that comes with being a Jew. It reminds us of who we truly are. In the words of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, "nation needs identity, identity needs memory, and memory is encoded in the stories we tell." 
Our children must know our stories so intimately that they transcend facts and become memory. Our kids must remember our liberation from Egypt and our liberation from Auschwitz. Our exile by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Romans. They must relive the redemptive call for return by Cyrus the Great and the UN General Assembly in November 1948. We must tell them what their parents and grandparents were doing during the Six-Day War and the emotions they felt as the shofar was blown at the kotel for the first time in almost two thousand years. They must be able to tell their own children about the fight for our identity on Chanukah and in the Soviet Union. About the miracles Hashem performed for us in Entebbe and the Yom Kippur War.
And the mitzvot they do should help stimulate this zechira. A national story which they kiss as they pass through our doorposts and recite twice a day in shema. A memory which this parsha commands us to wrap around our arms and display proudly on our heads. The parsha teaches us to surround our kids with memory - to bring them into the national consciousness which cuts to the core of our very identity as Jews. Because as Rabbi Sacks puts it, "Without narrative, there is no memory, and without memory, we have no identity."
Questions for the Shabbos table:
  1. What was your takeaway from the d'var Torah this morning?  
  2. What is your family's story?
  3. Which moment in Jewish history speaks to you the most?
  4. How is your identity forged by the tragedies and miraculous moments of Jewish history? 
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi Dov Huff
The Rav points out that in this week's parsha there are two "bechoras." The first is the bechora that is determined by the father - his firstborn. This bechor earns the right to the inheritance by being his father's "right-hand man." The extra help he provides as his father's oldest son entitles him to the double portion enjoyed by the bechor.
The second type is the bechora determined by the mother. This is the bechor of kedusha, and is the bechor mentioned in this week's parsha when Hashem tells us to "sanctify the firstborn." What is the function of this bechor?
The Rav explains that this is the educator. One cannot compare what a child learns from his parents to what the child learns from their older siblings. In a way the oldest children are the ultimate educators of their younger siblings. They lead by example and show the younger children how to navigate the world in which they all find themselves. This is the kedusha of the bechor from the mother.
9th Grade Beit Midrash
Students in the 9th grade Beit Midrash program this week began exploring sources on the important topic of rabbinic authority, and how it shapes and informs the halachic process.

New Date for 10th Grade Parent Breakfast
Due to the inclement weather this week, the date for the 10th grade parent breakfast has been changed to Thursday, February 15, Rosh Chodesh Adar.

We look forward to welcoming the parents of our 10th graders for davening and a festive breakfast! Further details will be shared by the Student Life Team.

Mock Trial Team Off to a Winning Start!
Our Mock Trial team won their first trial of the year, against Cathedral High School! Their win this week continued the team's long tradition of first-trial triumphs. Here's to a great season!  
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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