Upper School Weekly Update

September 15th, 2017  -  Nitzavim-VaYelech
In This Issue
D'var Torah
Thoughts of the Rav
Fun with Science
Students on the Go
Order S'chach
Lulav and Etrog
Social Media
Division Newsletters
Next Week
In Two Weeks
Mon., Sept. 25
Long davening
2nd period cancelled
College rep visits: Yeshiva U, 9:44am; Barnard, 4th period
Volleyball vs. St. Joseph's (JV 5:45pm, V 6:45pm)
Boys' Soccer @ Cristo Rey (6:15pm)
Tues., Sept. 26
Portrait Day
Long davening
2nd period cancelled  
College rep visit: McGill U, 4th period
Back-to-School Night, 7:00pm
Wed., Sept. 27
  Long davening
2nd period cancelled   
 College rep visits: Brandeis U, 3rd period; U Maryland, 7th period 

Thurs., Sept. 28
Long davening
2nd period cancelled  
College rep visit: Muhlenberg, 5th period  
Girls' Soccer @ St. Joseph's (4:00pm), Boys' Soccer @ Gann (4:00pm)

Fri., Sept. 29
Noon dismissal
Last day to drop class
Special schedule

Having a

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D'var Torah

by Rabbi Baruch Goldman, Limudei Kodesh faculty
In last week's parsha, כי תבוא , Moshe Rabainu presented in graphic terms the consequences of not following the Torah. Ninety-eight curses were enumerated in detail. These curses are known as the תוכחה , "The Rebuke."
This week's parsha opens with Moshe telling the people: You are all standing here today before your God. [ אתם נצבים היום כולכם לפני ד' אלוקיכם ]   Rashi [ פסוק י"ב ] explains the connection as follows. Upon hearing all the curses in store for them, הוריקו פניהם ואמרו מי יוכל לעמוד באלה - The people's faces turned green (white) and they said "Who will be able to withstand these curses?!!" We will all die! Moshe then seeks to comfort them and says: אתם נצבים וכ'ו Relax.   . אתם הכעסתם למקום ולא עשה אתכם כלייה You angered God greatly, yet you are all standing here today (alive), meaning that you are alive and well, and will enter the land, so no need to worry.
This is perplexing. Moshe seemingly gave the speech of his life. The people were deeply moved and enveloped with the fear of heaven, which was his apparent goal. Yet as soon as he sees their response, he says "Just kidding!" You guys are fine; You have nothing to worry about.
One explanation might be as follows. One of the most powerful tools of the יצר הרע (evil inclination) is יאוש - despair. I am beyond forgiveness; my future is hopeless, so I might as well sin and do whatever I want, since anyway I will not be admitted to heaven. G-d hates me and I can't change who I am, which is essentially evil, there is nothing I could ever do to change that. My יצר טוב (good inclination) is just too weak. I cannot alter the way I was raised and the habits I have developed.
Moshe therefore seeks to counter their despair and pessimism. All of you are still here. God loves you and is eagerly waiting to help, once you make the first move to come closer to Him.
An interesting question remains, however. Why didn't the Jews turn pale when they heard the 49 curses mentioned in ס' ויקרא] פרשת בחוקותי ]? Why only here in פרשת כי תבוא ? The אור החיים in דברים פרק כח:יז says that the curses in פרשת בחוקותי appear in the plural, addressing the Jewish people as a whole. This explains why in that section G-d included verses of comfort and consolation. עם ישראל , being an eternal nation, is always guaranteed to survive. In כי תבוא , on the other hand, the curses appear in the singular. Therefore, there is no mention of comfort - דברי נחמה - since no individual is assured of survival. This was the very reason why the Jews became so concerned. As individuals, there are no guarantees that they will endure.
The takeaway for us is to always remain upbeat and optimistic, knowing that we can indeed change who we are (growth mindset). We should not despair of elevating our spiritual level. Spiritual growth is the very purpose of our existence, and one we are all capable of achieving.
We also learn the importance of being part of the ציבור , the collective body of Jewish people. There is power in numbers. Having more friends, and turning former enemies into friends by apologizing and asking for forgiveness, is a sure way to ensure that through our combined merits, we will all merit to be inscribed for a happy and healthy new year. Amen.
Thoughts of the Rav 

by Rabbi David Saltzman
As we approach the Yamim Noraim, Rabbi Soloveitchik explains, in Al HaTeshuva, the difference between kapara and mechila.
One purpose of Yom Kippur is to soften the effects of Hashem's judgment and alleviate the severity of any punishment. The mechanism for this is that on Yom Kippur, G-d's attribute of mercy replaces G-d's attribute of judgment, which in turn lightens the decree.
This is hinted at in the keriah for Rosh HaShanah, where we read that during Akadat Yitzchak:
וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לוֹ הָאֱלֹקים וַיִּבֶן שָׁם אַבְרָהָם אֶת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וַיַּעֲרֹךְ אֶת הָעֵצִים וַיַּעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתוֹ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִמַּעַל לָעֵצִים:
And they came to the place of which God had spoken to him, and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and he bound Isaac his son and placed him on the altar upon the wood.
The Kabbalists understand this to mean that G-d's attribute of chesed (mercy), represented by Avraham, tied up G-d's attribute of strength (judgment), represented by Yitzchak. This is how mechila occurs on Yom Kippur, and it provides us with a more lenient sentence than we really deserve.

Fun with Science!
Students in Mrs. Gordon's 10th grade chemistry class are feeling the heat as they explore mass change during various processes.

In our new Computational Physics class, 9th grade students build computational models that represent and predict complex phenomena.
(Click here to view a video of this experiment.)
Upper School Students on the Go!
In addition to their classes this week, many students participated in ruach-filled community-building activities.

Our senior class camping trip in Western Massachusetts included hiking, home-cooked meals outdoors, and apple picking, as well as volleyball and other activities.

Ninth grade students headed to Camp Yavneh this morning for a Shabbaton in the woods of New Hampshire.   

It's Time to Order S'chach!
Even if you have a bamboo mat, consider adding some authentic and fresh smelling
s'chach to spruce up your sukkah this year! Our PTA s'chach fundraiser makes it easy to order your s'chach while helping the school at the same time.
Minimum order is $52 for two bundles, $26 for each additional bundle (it generally takes 4-6 bundles to cover an 8' x 10' sukkah). Orders must be received and pre-paid by next Wednesday, September 20. Pick-up is scheduled for Sunday, October 1 from 10 - 11 a.m. at Saval campus.
Please click here to place your order!

Senior Class Lulav and Etrog Sale

The Class of 2018 will be taking lulav and etrog orders, beginning next week. A sign-up form will be emailed to all families with pricing and pick-up information.

Let's Get Social!
There's so much going on here at Maimo! Be sure to check out our social media to get the inside scoop (with lots of great photos) on happenings at school.
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Lots of wonderful things are happening at Maimonides School! 

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