Dvar Torah

By Rabbi Dr. Richard Ehrlich

In this coming week’s Torah reading of Schelach, we read of the unfortunate story of the miraglim/ the spies who were sent on a mission to scout out the Land of Israel. Unfortunately, they returned with negative comments which disheartened and discouraged the Jewish people, with tragic results.

But apparently Moshe must have had an inkling, a premonition or a foreboding of disaster, because the Torah tells us that before he sent the group away he prayed and changed the name of Hoshea, adding a yud to his name to make it Yehoshua – which means yud, hey Hoshea – Hashem should help Hoshea. Moshe apparently foresaw the disaster that ensued and prayed that Hoshea should be spared from this catastrophe. The question that begs to be asked is, “Why then did he not pray for all 12 spies, why did he limit his prayers to Hoshea alone?”

The answer, I believe, is quite simple and very relevant to our gathering here tonight and it is based on a passage in the Talmud, Yoma 86A. The Gemara comments on the Mishna in Pirkei Avot ( perek gimmel, mishna yud gimmel) Rav Chanina ben Dosah omer . . . kol sheruach habriyot nocha haymenoo, ayn ruach hamakom noch haymenoo. Roughly translated this means, whoever is pleasing to his fellow man is pleasing to the Almighty and whoever is not pleasing to his fellow man is not pleasing to the Almighty either.

The Talmud elaborates further on this Mishna and says that if someone studies Torah, Misha, attends to Talmudei Chachamim (wise sages), honest in his business and speaks pleasantly to the others; people will say concerning him, “Happy are the teachers who taught him Torah and woe to the people who did not study Torah – for this man has studied Torah and look how pleasant, fine and wise are his ways and how righteous his deeds.” Clearly the Gemara is teling us that people will judge teachers by how their students act and conduct themselves. If they perform nobly, with proper derech eretz and conduct themselves honestly in business, thein it is a positive reflection on their teachers as much as it is on themselves. But if they don’t, this too, is a reflection on them and highlights their failure to direct them onto the proper path.

Going back to our story of the spies, I think the answer is now self evident; Moshe prayed for Hoshea alone becaus Hoshea was his disciple. If Hoshea would falter and join the others this would directly reflect back on Moshe. Concerning him they would say, “Woe to his teacher, Moshe who didn’t teach him properly,” Therefore, more than anyone else, Moshe prayed for his disciple Hoshea and because of his prayer Yehoshua merited to avoid this debacle.

Your children, our student, have hopefully internalized the many messages, Torah values, and proper behavior that has been taught to them each day by you, the parents, and our Rabbis, Morot and teachers here at SIHA. Let us hope they have learned these lessons well and will be a source of pride to you and our school.

Special Announcement!

Congratulations to our Noetic Math Olympics winners!

Second Grade – Brianna Sanders
Third Grade – Ryan Yakobzon
Fourth Grade – Joshua Applebaum
5B – Brandon Sanders
5A – Liam Zbarsky
Sixth Grade – Ruti Applebaum
Seventh Grade – Asher Hecht

Congratulations to our 2022 SIHA Spelling Bee winners!

Kindergarten: Emmy Garber
First Grade:  Liad Hanuka
Second grade: Sloane Garber
Third Grade: – Ella Hanuka
Fourth Grade: – Leah Yakobzon
Fifth Grade: Taila Badalov
Seventh Grade:  Asher Hecht

SIHA wishes all students and their families a wonderful summer!
Have a great time, do your summer homework, and we will see you in the fall!