Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chanukash 5778 Night 1

On Chanukah we remember all of the incredible miracles that Hashem did for the Jewish people. From the victory of the war, to finding the pitcher of oil that lasted 8 nights. We also remember that the Greeks prohibited us from doing many mitzvot, including learning Torah. 

On Chanukah as we enjoy the lights and the presents we also need to celebrate the ability to learn Torah and do Mitzvot.  Each night we will share with you a short Dvar Torah. Listen to it after you light the Chanukah candles. There is a question posted at the end of each video. Click below to submit your answer or bring it into school on a piece of paper and give it to your morning teacher. We will select a raffle winner from all the correct answers each day of Chanukah.
Join with us as we light the night with Torah!!

Click here for the video! 
Click here for Google Form to submit raffle answer 

Friday, September 15, 2017

דבר תורה נצבים - וילך

דבר תורה נצבים - וילך

 In this week’s Parsha, Moshe explains to Bnei Yisrael that the Mitzvot are not far away from us, that they are not as far as the heavens. Rather, they are very nearby to us - He says that they are in our mouth and in our heart, and we should observe them.
כִּֽי־קָר֥וֹב אֵלֶ֛יךָ הַדָּבָ֖ר מְאֹ֑ד בְּפִ֥יךָ וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖ לַעֲשֹׂתֽוֹ׃ דברים ל:יד
Why does he use these 3 words to describe how close the mitzvot are to us?
Rabbeinu Bachya comments that the pasuk mentions these 3 things because they are things that all of our Mitzvot encompass - our mouth, our heart and our actions.  There are some mitzvot that we do with our mouths - for example, learning Torah, saying Berachot and being polite to other people. There are other mitzvot that we do with our hearts, such as Tefila, which is called the worship of the heart, and fearing and loving Hashem come from the heart too.  In addition, there are other mitzvot that we do through actions. We visit the sick, we give Tzedekah and we blow the shofar.  Rabbeinu Bachya points out that these three words of our pasuk match up to the Mishna in Pirkei Avot 1:2.
שִׁמְעוֹן הַצַּדִּיק הָיָה מִשְּׁיָרֵי כְנֶסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה. הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר,
 עַל שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הָעוֹלָם עוֹמֵד, עַל הַתּוֹרָה וְעַל הָעֲבוֹדָה וְעַל גְּמִילוּת חֲסָדִים: אבות א:ב
There are three items on which the world stands - the Torah, the Avoda  (work), and Chessed.
When comparing this to what Moshe said, Torah is parallel to the Mouth, Avoda to the Heart, and Chasadim to our actions. These are the 3 pillars that the world stands on. These are the three things that Moshe said we need in order to complete all of the Mitzvot.
We need be careful how we use our mouth and speak about others. When we ride the bus every day, make sure that we are speaking nicely to people, and that everyone feels included by the words we use. We also should commit to doing more mitzvot that require our actions and use those actions to be kind and help others. During recess, make an extra effort to play with people that you dont normally play with. Finally, as Rabbeinu Bachaya points out, the most important type of Mitzvah is one that is done with our hearts, the ones that touch on our emotions. We need to use our hearts when forgiving people, loving Torah and having a kind and warm heart for everyone. 
As we approach Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we should consider to look at how we use our words, our actions, and our hearts. Having these three concrete aspects of what we do on a daily basis, can help us have a clearer way to prepare for the Yamim Noraim. 

Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova,
Rabbi Steven Penn

**Question for further discussion - If Rabbeinu Bachaya feels that the “heart (וּבִֽלְבָבְךָ֖) is the most important then why is it the middle, and not first or last?

שאלות נצבים - וילך

שאלות נצבים - וילך

Grades 1-2
1. On the last day of his life Moshe gathered the Jewish people. Who was invited ? (29:9-10)
2. The Torah states that “It is not in the heavens.. nor is it across the sea…” What is the “it” in the pasuk? (30:12)
3. Moshe is speaking to Bnei Yisrael on the last day of his life. How old is Moshe? (31:2)
4. What is the name of the leader that Moshe places in charge? (31:23)

Grades 3 – 5
1. The Torah states that “It is not in the heavens… nor is it across the sea…” What lesson is this trying to teach? (30:12)
2. Does Moshe cross the Yarden and bring Bnei Yisrael into Eretz Yisrael? (31:2)
3. Moshe commands Bnei Yisrael to gather at the end of 7 years, during the Shmitta year and read a special Parsha. During what Holiday do we read this Parsha? (31:10)
4. What did Moshe promise that the leader would be able to accomplish? (31:23)

Friday, September 8, 2017

KI Tavo Questions

Students in grades 1-3 that complete the Parsha questions and hand them in to the office will receive Nekudot each week. Please clearly write the student's name and class. The questions have not been covered in school however, the perek and pasuk for the answer is provided. 

Grades 1-2
 1. Bikurim is the mitzvah to bring which fruits to the kohen and how were they brought? (23:2, 3)
 2. In this parsha , four psukim are read during which chag? When during that chag? (26:5-7)  3. What response by Bnai Yisrael is stated twelve times in the parsha? (27:15-26)
4. What four word phrase is used in this parsha three times to describe Eretz C’naan? (26:9, 15 and 27:3)
 5. Which of the ten makkot are mentioned in this parsha? (28:21, 27, 38)

Grades 3 – 5 
1. Bikurim is the mitzvah to bring which fruits to the Bet Hamikdash? (Rashi 26:2 “Mereishit”)
 2. Describe how the bikurim were brought to the Bet Hamikdash? (Rashi 26:4 “Velakach hacohen”)
3. There is a mitzvah to write the entire Torah on large stones at the entrance to Eretz Yisrael. In how many languages is it written? (Rashi 27:8 “Baer heytev”)

Parhsat Ki Tavo Dvar Torah

Jewish educators recognize the critical importance of creating moments of inspiration for our children. Jewish day schools today work tirelessly to facilitate these dazzling moments of inspiration for our students. From Shabbat onegs to chagigot, from chesed programming to tzedkaha drives, our schools are packed with activities designed to engage and inspire our students toward a lifetime of meaningful religious observance.
Yet, we also recognize that religion can't be relegated to fun and games. Most significantly, religion serves as a roadmap for our lives. At times, religion can be challenging, placing great demands on our time and intellect. The upcoming recitation of Selichot is a prime example. It is certainly challenging to wake up, even earlier, during these days leading up to the yamim noraim. While Selichot place additional demands on our time, they can also serve as a springboard for our ever developing relationship with Hashem. We understand that the more we invest in any relationship, the more that relationship will mean to us.
This theme is reflected in a seemingly unusual verse in this coming week's parsha. Among the litany of items that are associated with the curses of the tochacha, the Torah tells us (Devarim 28:47) these items will occur "because you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, with gladness and with goodness of heart, out of an abundance of everything.”
Many commentaries are puzzled by this connection. Could it really be these devastating events can be linked to not serving Hashem out of love and devotion? After all, the pasouk doesn't say people stopped doing mitzvot, only that they stopped performing them with love.
Some of our baali Mussar and Hasidic masters have explained this paradox in the following terms. Indeed, if someone does not develop a true love or passion for an idea, eventually they will stop engaging with that pursuit. For example if someone doesn't enjoy dancing, they will likely not pursue dancing as a lifelong goal.
The converse is also true. As we grow up, we find our true passions and try to incorporate them into our lives. Thus, if someone views Torah and mitzvot as inherently enjoyable, it is far more likely they will be actively involved in Torah study and mitzvah observance into adulthood. With this insight, we can understand the pasuk to mean that since they didn’t perform the mitzvot with love and affection, eventually they grew to not observe them at all!
One of our chief goals as parents and educators is to enable our children to develop their own passion for yiddishkeit. For some it may be learning Torah, for others tefillah and for some acts of chesed. All of these concepts combine to create a well-rounded Jew. However, most critically, we need to provide the opportunities for our children to explore all of them.
Together let's provide those platforms for our students to develop their own paths, and eventually their passion for a life dedicated to Torah and mitzvot. Wishing us all a year of growth, nachat and success!

B’vracha, Rabbi Jonathan Knapp

Friday, March 17, 2017

שאלות פרשת כי תשא

שאלות פרשת כי תשא

1. How old did the men have to be in order to give a half a shekel? (30:14)

2. What was that silver used for? (30:16)

3. Who was chosen to supervise the building of the Mishkan? (31:2)

4. What were B’nei Yisrael afraid of? (32:1)

5. Out of what did they make the Golden Calf? (32:2)

6. What was Hashem’s reaction to seeing His people bow down to an idol? (32:10)

7. What was Moshe’s response to Hashem’s anger? (32:11-13)

8. Did B’nei Yisrael feel guilty about their sin? (33:4)

9. What happened after Moshe made new tablets? (34:6)

10. Where were the Ten Commandments to be kept in the Mishkan?

11. After how long did Moshe return to his people? (34:28)

Friday, March 3, 2017

שאלות פרשת תרומה

שאלות פרשת תרומה

Image result for ‫תרומה‬‎Questions K - 2
1. Hashem tells Bnai Yisrael to make  a Sanctuary for him out of three types of metals; gold, silver, and copper.
What is the Hebrew word for gold? (25:3) What is the Hebrew word for silver? (25:3) 
2. What are “besamim?” (25: 6) When do we use Besamim every week? 
3. What two materials were used to build the Aron? (25:10-11) 
4. What design was on the cover of the Aron? (25:18) 
5. How many branches were there on the Menorah in the Mishkan? (25:37) How is this different from the Menorah that we use on Chanukah? 

Questions 3 - 5
1. Name 2 items that were donated for the building of the Mishkan. (25:3-7) 
2. What was the purpose of the Mishkan? (25:8) 
3. The Aron was constructed in three layers so that one layer of material was sandwiched between two layers of the other material.  In the Mishkan, the materials were gold and wood.What material was used in between? and what material was used on the outside? (25:11)
 4. What was placed on the Shulchan? (25:30) 
 5. What item in the Mishkan was made only of gold? (25:31) 

From where did B’nai Yisrael get the wood for the Mishkan? (They were in the desert) See Rashi (25:5)