Parashat B’har- B’chukotai [Yes, Two Parashot again!]
There is a lot in this week’s two Parashot. We will focus on one item. There is a law that if someone sold a field in Israel, that was originally proportioned for his family, it may not be sold for perpetuity. It is only sold until Yovel-the jubilee year [the 50th year of the shmita cycle].
Although this law is obvious to anyone who reads Torah, the Torah repeats it and commands the seller to make it very clear to the buyer that the sale is not permanent.
The Ramban [A Rishon, commentary from around the 1100s] explains this idea of the seller having the responsibility to make clear to the buyer that the sale is not permanent, in a psychological manner.
After we have “owned” and lived in a house for a long time, it can be quite difficult for us to “give it up”. We will feel that it is ours! It will be almost punishing to give it up and move out. But that is exactly what the Torah requires of us.
The Ramban explains that the Torah is trying to make it easier for us to give up that house. It is a Mitzva from the Torah to make sure that the house goes back to the original owner. The Torah actually wants to minimize the nisayon – the test, to be successful with this Mitzva.
We find the Torah minimizing the test in other areas as well; Yaakov was told by Hashem Himself that it was time to leave his father in law, Lavan’s house. His pious wives, our matriarchs would have acquiesced, nevertheless, Yaakov did not just tell them that Hashem said “it was time to go”. It might have been difficult for daughters to leave their birthplace and their father’s home, especially so suddenly. Instead Yaakov minimizes the test by explaining to them the difficulties he had endured with his father in law. Remember how Lavan had promised Rachel as a wife for Yaakov after working 7 years as a shepherd for Lavan, to earn her. The day after the wedding Yaakov found out the “surprise” that his father in law prepared for him. His wife was NOT Rachel, but LEAH! Lavan kept changing the monetary deal with him as well. He explained to his wives that their father had “ripped him off” time and again, but only after a long soliloquy, does Yaakov say “by the way.. G-d said we must go”.
Rav Simcha Zissel Brodie says, this is a great principle taught by Rav Yisroel Salanter [a great mussar sage]; we have many tests no need to make them difficult or more challenging than they are meant to be.
Just as if we are trying to lose weight, it is not wise to walk into a bakery where the delicious aromas are wafting through the air, and beautiful pastries are on display. This will only make the test of trying to lose weight more difficult.
The same idea can be applied to keeping the Mitzvot of our holy Torah. If we are hungry, we should NOT even enter a store where there will be a temptation to purchase not kosher food. Let us not take a family trip on Friday afternoon close to the time Shabbat is going to begin [sundown/sunset].
Let’s ask Hashem for being successful in keeping His Torah, but no need to make it more difficult than it was ,meant to be.
Rabbi Y.S. Kuritsky
Judaic Studies Curriculum Coordinator
Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you PTA for your tireless dedication and hard work setting up a wonderful Mother’s Day sale for SIHA students this week! Students had a chance to choose from an array of adorable items to show their moms and grandmoms how much they love them.
Congratulations to our “act of kindness “ winners of this week!!
They are Alec R from 5th grade and Abe from 2nd grade
We are so proud !
Keep up the great work!!
We had another wonderful week in 2nd grads. This Shabbat we complete the 3rd book of the the 5 books of the Torah. We reviewed the complete book by reading,explaining and then drawing the theme of each Parsha in Sefer V’ayikra-Leviticus. We practiced our reading daily and started to learn about the upcoming festival of Shavout also referred to as Zman Matan Torahtainu. The time the Jewish nation received the Torah. Shabbat Shalom
Third graders learned the beautiful story of Shavuot. How and when Hashem gave us the Torah and how we celebrate. We learnt the story of Ruth and how she was so committed to hashem, she gave up being a rich princess of Moab and became a Jewish princess with no money instead. She eventually married a rich landowner Boaz and became the matriarch of King David. We read her story on Shavuoth because King David was born on Shavuoth.
We continue mastering the Dikduk rules and learn more shorashim words.
In Parsha we learnt what free choice really means. Hashem wants us to choose the path of Torah which is the path of life but He leaves us the choice to decide to do it or not.
We had another wonderful and rehearsal- full week here in 4B! We’re preparing our minds and hearts for Shavuot, when we’ll celebrate our receiving of the Torah. How perfect is it that we’ll be receiving our very own Chumashim just five days before Shavuot?
Looking forward to seeing you all at our celebration!
5th and 6th Girls
Thank G-d, we had a great week together in 5th and 6th grade Judaics. We continued on with the 4th Beracha of Shemoneh Esrei, asking Hashem for smartness, understanding and wisdom. We enjoyed decorating our scrapbook page in our shemoneh esrei notebooks.
We learned how a Jew puts on and takes off their shoes. The girls sent in amazing dance videos to our “Putting on Shoes” song. The winner will be announced on Monday.
We continued on in the Chumash of Shemot, Parshat Beshalach, learning about how the Egyptians chased the Jewish people who had just left Egypt a few days before, because they wanted to bring them back. We learned about the Jewish people’s reaction to the Egyptians chasing them, when they thought they were going to die just when they were finally redeemed. We all gave examples of how a Jew should act when something scary, sad or upsetting happens. We shouldn’t complain, but trust in Hashem that it is for our best and He is taking good care of us.
We learned all about this week’s Parsha, Parshat Behar and Bechukotai. It speaks about the many beautiful miraculous blessings of a Jew who keeps Torah and Mitzvot energetically and with joy. It is truly unbelievable to see the reward for that, in this world (and of course, even more so, in the afterworld.) We know that the Jews were exiled from the land of Israel and now there is lots of pain and tragedy in the world because the Jews sinned and didn’t keep the Torah and Mitzvot with joy, love, feeling and energy. The girls gave great examples of what we can do to bring the Beit Hamikdash (3rd temple) back and end all tragedy and pain, living joy-filled lives with Hashem’s presence.
The girls designed beautiful pictures as we learned. Great job!
We also began to learn about the Story of Rut, which is read in synagogue on Shavuot.
Shabbat Shalom! Have a wonderful relaxing weekend.
7th and 8th Girls
We had a fabulous week here, learning all about the wondrous going- ons at Matan Torah! Chumash class had us discussing the concept of doing Hashem’s will with strength and without fear, although that’s not always easy. Ariella Schindelman spoke beautifully about the concept of talking to Hashem as a means of connecting to Him, rather than just to get what we desire.
It’s been real.
7th and 8th Boys
7th and 8th grade boys learned about the Parasha.
Laws of Yovel-the jubilee year.
All houses sold in a walled city [from the time that Yehoshua bin Nun aka Joshua, the person who led the Jews after Moshe Rabbeinu Moses, conquered Eretz Yisrael aka the land of Israel] must be returned to the original owner in Yovel, the 50th year of the 7 year shemitah cycle.
All Jewish slaves are to be freed.
Laws of Shmita;
Shmita occurs every 7th year.
All produce in any field is considered Hefker – ownerless.
We learned that even now, that there is no Beit Hamikdosh, there is still a Mitzva D’rabanan -Mitzva from the Rabbis [not from the Torah] to keep Shmita. The farmers in Israel, today , do not; work the fields, plant or harvest them. We discussed how Jews the world over raise money to help these farmers who are keeping this important Mitzva have monetary support during the 7th year. We heard a great story about a man living NOW in Israel who was being prudent about the Mitzva of Shvi’it -Shmita, chased down his “cleaning help” whom his wife had given 2 apples. He wanted to make sure that the apples were treated with Kdushat Shvi’it – The holines of Shvi’it/Shmita and make sure that the apples were disposed of properly. When he caught up to her, she exclaimed “don’t call the police!”. She had stolen their jewelry! In the Zchut – merit of being scrupulous about this Mitzvah albeit NOT from the Torah, only from the Rabbis, he was saved from a terrible loss!
We continued learning about “identifying a corpse, in order to allow a wife to remarry. We discussed whether “signs” on the body/clothing are sufficient evidence. Whether “signs” are “from the Torah”. Whether a mole is a strong enough “sign”. We discussed the possibility that a mole can change after death.
We also began a new set of “Y’diot K’laliot.
Honorable mention to Noah Garber [brother of Zak and Sloan[, for his daily “good morning” to Rabbi Kuritsky!
This is a commendable midah tova – good character trait.
This week kindergarten read a nonfiction story about how to find different places on a map. They learned how to spell bossy e words and they finished writing their own how to. In math they took their test on ordinal numbers and they all did amazing! They were very excited to begin learning about money. They learned all about the penny. In social studies they learned about more American symbols. They learned about the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and the president. They also went on a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty. In science they learned that animals survive by hibernating, migrating, camouflaging, or by having special adaptation. They did a super fun experiment to learn about how animals are adapted to live in cold environments. They pretended to be an animal with and without blubber and they were amazed that the blubber kept their hands warm.
This week the first graders learned about children who perform on symphony and dance company. They were interested to see how all sorts of instruments come together to create music. In Language Arts we brainstormed topics for writing stories. Students came up with great ideas! In Math we began telling time by the hour and half hour. The first graders love to read the time on the classroom clock. In Science we continue to. explore the properties of matter. We discovered that matter can be categorized and even tested by using our senses.
Lastly, we discussed all of the wonderful things our mothers do. Students were so proud to share how these amazing women work so hard to take care of them. To honor them, students made beautiful Mothers Day cards. First grade wishes each of you a Happy Mother’s Day.
This week, in math, the second graders moved on to learning the 3 times table. They’ve been practicing answering questions quickly and correctly! They’ve also been working on using arrays to solve multiplication problems. In ELA, the students have finished their grammar unit on adjectives and adverbs. We’ve also been reading and answering questions about poems. The second graders even worked together to write their own poem about a sunny day! In social studies, the second graders started a brand new unit all about government. This week, some students have worked super hard and finished their mobile book reports early. They’ve presented their projects to the class and they have all been amazing! Way to go Sarit, Ava, Ben, Olivia, and Ryan!
In science, students finished Chapter: “Matter” They enjoyed and learned so much about physical and chemical properties of matter.
This week Grade 3 students practiced representing division equation using multiple formations. They are now focusing on solving division in its vertical form. They had also practiced analyzing different types of charts and graphs such as bar graphs and plot charts to solve arithmetic problems. During our Grammar lessons, students practiced identifying the main and helping verbs, as well as adjectives. During our Social Studies lessons, students were introduced to the Yurok tribe. They learned about their life in the forest (past and present) and are beginning to learn about their economy system. During our Russian lessons, students are becoming more proficient in identifying letter sounds and blends to read words. Many are now able to read simple sentences entirely in Russian.
In science, students learned about Earth’s weather and layers of the atmosphere.
This week we completed math state test. We are continuing to work on the geometry unit. Identifying different types of triangles.
We started to read a new class chapter book Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry.
In Social Studies we started a new chapter The Southwest and read about the land and climate of the Southwest.
In science, students learned and described chemical and physical properties of matter, identifying properties that are useful. A chapter test will be given the following week.
4B had a very eventful week. We took the math state test on Tuesday and Wednesday! We are very happy and relieved to be done with all of our state tests, however, the learning must go on! In math, we are finishing up our unit on decimals, and then continuing our unit in geometry, which we started before the state test last week. In ELA, we are wrapping up our unit on pronouns. On Thursday we went to the wonderful Mother’s Day sale, put together by our amazing PTA! It was a fun week!
In science, this week 4B learned and became familiar with different kinds of tools that we use in science labs to measure mass and volume. “Best science class” Sapir said while she was measuring the volume of an unknown object.
Fifth graders had a busy week! In grammar, this week was all about prepositions. We learned to identify prepositions and use them in our own sentences. In reading, students continued their novel study of the Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Students continued working on their character dossiers and had some interesting class discussions!
In social studies, students continued their study of the ancient Aztec civilization. Students took notes, saw pictures of artifacts, and completed their own map of the Aztec empire!
5th grade learned how to interpret scales on maps as proportions.
In science, students finished chapter: “Atoms and Elements”. They learned and understood the main concepts about atoms, elements, compounds and periodic table.
Middle School ELA and Social Studies
Sixth graders had a busy week! In grammar, this week we continued our unit on modifiers by looking at comparisons with adjectives and adverbs. In reading, we continued our novel study of Milkweed by Jerry Spinneli. In writing, this week was all about author’s purpose. We read nonfiction articles and wrote beautiful paragraphs!
In social studies, students continued their unit on Ancient Greece.
Seventh graders had a busy week! Today was the last part of the state testing for 7th graders. Congratulations everyone for working hard!
In grammar, we reviewed adjectives and adverbs. In reading, we wrapped up our novel study of Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson. In writing, this week was all about using textual details from fiction. Students wrote beautiful paragraphs!
In social studies, we learned about the reforms to American society in the late mid 1800s, as well as challenges that American cities had to address with the influx of immigrants in the 1800s. Our next unit is the Civil War!
Eight graders had a busy week! In grammar, this week was all about gerund phrases. Students identified gerund phrases and wrote their own sentences using them. In reading, we finished our unit on Animal Farm! Students are preparing presentations on the important themes of this book. I look forward to seeing what they put together! In writing, this week was all about using textual evidence in short responses. Students read nonfiction articles and wrote beautiful paragraphs!
In social studies, we started our World War II unit by examining the rise of Nazi Germany and the spread of Fascism and totalitarianism throughout the world at the time. We watched a video, saw photographs at the time, and had some excellent class discussions.
Middle School Math
6th grade started their unit on geometry.
7th grade honors reviewed how to compare unit rate and slope of proportional equations.
7th grade review mean, median, mode, and range.
8th grade reviewed solving multi step equations with variables on both sides of the equation sign.
8th honors learned about factoring quadratic equations.
Middle School Science
In science, students started a new chapter: “Forces”. Students learned and described what forces are and what they do. Explain how the forces of friction, magnetism, and gravity act in our everyday lives.
As you all know, the 7th grade has been discovering how our body works. The past couple of weeks, we have been diligently working to learn how our body obtains the nutrients from the things that we eat. In addition, we have been learning exactly what happens to our food once we take the first bite of a piece of food.
In this unit the eighth graders have been investigating the impact that an invasive species can have on an ecosystem. Students learned what it takes for an ecosystem to be balanced. Through investigation by way of articles data and videos they were able to make connections and discover the negative affects that zebra mussels have had on both abiotic and biotic factors within the Hudson River.
7th grade is flying high as we explore many interesting topics. We covered spies, attacks and children among others this week! 7th grade is really looking forward to a special outdoor lesson coming hopefully next week.
8th grade is moving forward on our journey through the Roman Empire!