Upper School Weekly Update

May 11, 2018  -  Behar-Bechukotai

In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Retreat and Color War
Student Elections
Physics of Music
10th Grade Davening
Glass Menagerie
Final Exams
Division Newsletters
Social Media
Next Week 
Monday, May 14
Tuesday, May 15
Wednesday, May 16
Thursday, May 17
Friday, May 18   
Erev Shabbos Shavuos 
1:10 Dismissal
In Two Weeks
Monday, May 21
Tuesday, May 22
Wednesday, May 23
Thursday, May 24
AP Exam: US History (morning)
Friday, May 25 
Regular Schedule

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D'var Torah
by Rabbi Dov Huff
Many mitzvot appear multiple times throughout the Torah, but are presented differently in each context. It is always interesting to compare the emphasis put on a given mitzvah in one context vs. its focus in another. In Parshat Behar we learn about three mitzvot which also appear in Sefer Shemot:
  • Shmittah - the Sabbatical year, in which we refrain from working the land and gathering our crops
  • Yovel - the Jubilee year, the 50th year, in which we must return purchased property to its rightful ancestral owners
  • Eved Ivri - the Jewish servant who must be treated well, and completes their term of service in the Yovel
Rav Amnon Bazak points out that there seems to be a common emphasis in the framing of these mitzvot, as they come up in both Sefer Shemot on the one hand and Sefer Vayikra on the other. He posits that the "Behar" reason for the mitzvot is a reminder of our belief in Hashem and a reaffirmation of His dominion over everything. Shmittah reminds us that the produce of our lands is not our own, so we refrain from exercising any form of ownership over it. Yovel reminds us that purchased property does not really belong to us - such ownership is only temporary, until it reverts back to the ancestral heritage, as it was originally given by Hashem. The "freeing" of the servant reminds us that in reality we all are servants of Hashem, and no one is their own master, much less the master of someone else.
The Sefer Shmot emphasis is a socio-moral one. Shmittah serves as an equalizer, in which the poor person enjoys the same access to the land's produce as everyone else. The Yovel allows those who have lost their ancestral property to maintain their claim on it. The Eved Ivri is a system of indentured servitude by which the poor can have a home and food while making an honest living, eventually being set back into society on their own two feet.
These two perspectives are evidenced in the psukim as well. For example, the theme of our parsha is "For the land is Mine, since you are strangers and sojourners with me" (Bamidbar 25:23) as opposed to in Sefer Shemot, where we learn the purpose of Shmittah is so "That the destitute of your people may eat, and the beasts of the field will eat the remainder" (Shemot 23:11).
We find these dual themes stressed by different Rishonim as well. The Rambam, in Moreh Nevuchim III:39, explains Shmittah as a command about "compassion and favor towards all people," while the Sefer Hachinuch describes its purpose as:
In order that a person will remember that the land which produces fruit for him year after year does so not because of its inherent powers, but because there is a Master over it and over its masters, and when He so wishes, He commands that it be left alone.
Our parsha's emphasis on Hashem's dominion over us may also address Rashi's question on this week's parsha: What does Shmittah have to do with Har Sinai? In light of Rav Bazak's idea, we could suggest that our parsha has everything to do with the message of Har Sinai - belief in Hashem and adherence to His commands - because all the land is His.  
Thoughts of the Rav
by Rabbi David Saltzman
כִּסֵּ֣א כָב֔וֹד מָר֖וֹם מֵֽרִאשׁ֑וֹן מְק֖וֹם מִקְדָּשֵֽׁנוּ:
As a Throne of Glory, exalted from the beginning, so is the place of our Sanctuary.
(Yirmiyahu 16:12 - from the haftara)
The Rav explains that our right to claim Israel and Yerushalayim rest on one concept - kedusha. Maintaining that the land and Yerushalayim are ordinary real estate undermines our rights to the land.
The question is asked: Can kedusha and churban (destruction) co-exist? It would seem that these are opposite extremes, and kedusha would evaporate in the face of ruin.
The Rav claims that there is a second approach, which holds that kedusha tolerates churban. That G-d can dwell not only in a magnificent Temple, but also on Mount Zion, which has become desolate; foxes prowl over it (Lamentations 5:18).
The proof is found in the pasuk cited above. There is a dual image portrayed regarding the Beit HaMikdash. The כִּסֵּ֣א כָב֔וֹד מָר֖וֹם is the Beit HaMikdash above, the spiritual representation of the physical Beit HaMikdash below. The enemy can destroy and annihilate everything below, but as long as there is still a Beit HaMikdash above, he cannot affect its sanctity. And as long as מְק֖וֹם מִקְדָּשֵֽׁנוּ - the place of our sanctuary - exists, G-d's presence rests not only above, but also below.
Yom Yerushalayim sameach !
Upper School Retreat and Color War
Our Upper School retreat kicked off yesterday with a day of Color War. Teams Chalav and Dvash (Milk and Honey) faced off in a range of activities including sports, relay races, bucket brigade, banner making, dance, songs, cheers, and divrei Torah. A new addition to the Color War line-up this year was a Bracha Bee! The final tallies were close, but in the end Dvash took the Color War prize. What a fun way to begin our retreat! 

Today's activities included "Get to Know Your Teachers" sessions - featuring crafts, games, hikes, and more - as well as "Kangaruach" trampoline jumping and waterfront activities.

The students are now getting ready for a wonderful, ruach-filled Shabbat with their teachers and classmates!

Chalav U'Dvash

Bucket Brigade

Get to Know Your Teachers Better activity with Dr. Gordon

Kangaruach jumping

The Votes Are In - Student Elections Complete
The campaign flyers have been posted, the stump speeches have been given, and the votes have been cast!

Next year's class representatives will be:
10th grade: Ellie Klibaner-Schiff and Mikey Neusner
11th grade: Judah Kosowsky and Hillel Schwartz
12th grade: Josh Fine and Eitan Traum

Uriel Cohen and Aaron Weinstock will serve as new Student Council presidents, which was determined after a second round of voting due to an initial tie.

The Physics of Music
Mr. Williams' 11th grade Physics class discovered the physics of music this week. Student Ben Fisher played his violin for the class while Mr. Williams used a microphone connected to special software to show the waveform frequency and wavelength. "Ben was really great at explaining how he thinks about and makes different notes and amplitudes of sound with his violin, how he tunes it, and so on," said Mr. Williams.

Their next experiment will be to determine the speed of sound using pipes of different lengths. 

10th Grade Parent Davening and Breakfast on Tuesday

The Glass Menagerie Sparkles Onstage
The characters of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie - Amanda, Laura, Tom, and Jim - came to life on Monday night as our Upper School drama club staged a wonderful performance of this classic play

Final Exam/Assessment Period Schedule for Grades 9, 10 and 11
Please note the following schedule for the 2018 Final Exam/Assessment Period for grades 9-11:

Friday, June 1
Last day of US classes; 2:30 dismissal

Monday, June 4
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - History
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Navi

Wednesday, June 6
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - English
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Talmud 

Friday, June 8
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - Math 
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Chumash

Monday, June 11
9:00-10:30am (11:15am for extended time) - Science
12:00-1:30pm (2:15pm for extended time) - Jewish History 

Wednesday, June 13
Projects due by 10:30am - World Languages

Friday, June 15
9:30-11:30am - US Final Exam Hand-Backs 

See What's Happening in other Divisions
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