This weeks Sidrah opens with the Mitzvah of "Machatzis Hashekel." Every member of Klal Yisroel was commanded to contribute a half shekel coin annually for the Bais Hamikdosh. It was to be used to purchase Korbonos Tzibor, communal sacrifices. This donation effected a "Kofer Nafsho", an atonement for specific "Aveiros", and also symbolized achieving forgiveness for the "Chait Hoegel." The Midrash learns from the words "Zeh Yitnu" that Moshe Rabbeinu could not understand this Mitzvah until Hashem showed him a "Matbeiah Shel Eish", a half shekel coin made of fire.
The Kli Yokor explains that Moshe Rabbeinu was in doubt about which of the four sins of the "Egel" would be forgiven with this contribution; a) Avoday Zorah, (idol worship) b) Giluy Arayos, (immorality) c) Shifichas Domim, (murder) or d) Lashon Horah, (inappropriate conversation about people). [Please note that the severity of Lashon Horah is seemingly comparable to these three other Aveiros, since they have been categorized together. "Haloh Dovar Hee."] Hashem showed Moshe this "coin of fire" to impress upon him that only the sin of Avodah Zorah would be atoned for with the Machatzis Hashekel. Perhaps this fiery coin symbolized spirituality and stressed that Hashem may forgive an Aveiro Bein Adom Lamokom, a sin where the transgression is only related to Hashem. An Aveiro which will affect other people, however, may need another kind of atonement, to somehow rectify the transgression.
Once again, the Mussar to be learned may be the importance we should give to Ahavas Yisroel and our relationships with our fellow people.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana, Menahel
Parents Journal Campaign Begins as 80th Anniversary Approaches
During the past two weeks, TA parents have received their Journal Campaign Packets which describe this years process. Our 1996 Parents Campaign was very successful. We are hopeful that even more of our parents will participate in this effort during our very special 80th year.
PTA conferences are planned for Monday evening, March 31. Appointments will be scheduled for parents only if the Rebbe/teacher requests one. You will receive a letter in the mail which will indicate what appointments are scheduled for you or if no appointments were requested. At that time you will also receive notice about how to go about requesting an appointment should you desire one. More details will be forthcoming.
Registration and Reregistration
Registration for new students and reregistration for our present students is in full swing. If you have not sent in your various forms and/or fees, please do so immediately. Thank you.
As per the elementary calendar, dismissal for all elementary students will be at 3:30 on Thursday, March 20,Taanis Esther. Carpool drivers should please park in their Friday/Sunday spots. There will be no sessions on March 23 and March 24, Purim and Shushan Purim. Enjoy the holiday!
Now I Know My ABCS
Morah Debbie Sugars nursery school class has begun to learn the letters in the English alphabet. As part of their lesson on the letters "A" and "B", they ate yummy Alpha-Bet cereal snacks, apples and bananas. Theyll be eating their way through the alphabet.
The class also started learning about the 5 senses. This week, they learned about the sense of sight. As a reinforcement to the lesson, each boy received his own kaleidoscope.
Fire Fighters Come To TA
The Pikesville Fire Station was empty for an hour this past Wednesday morning. The fire vehicles were not rescuing a cat, putting out a fire, or caring for a sick person; they were parked in the TA parking lot for the purpose of showing the Pre 1A classes all of the vehicles and equipment used by fire fighters. Each boy walked through the back of an ambulance, explored the fire engine, and actually sprayed water from the hose. The fire fighters demonstrated other equipment and explained what the students should do in case of a fire. One of the fire fighters put on the suit and mask that he wears when fighting a fire. He looked a bit scary, but after his exhibition the students recognize the need for all of his protective gear.
The Pre 1A classes were so glad that the fire fighters could spare the time to be with them on a lovely, unseasonably warm day in February. So much was learned!
Is Mrs. Taragins first grade class going into competition with Toys-R-Us? As part of the classs math unit on money, the boys recently created a toy store in their classroom. Each boy brought in a toy, put a price tag on it and then used play money in various denominations to purchase one of their friends toys. Of course this was really a math lesson in disguise. Baruch Caplan, a student in the class said, "Learning by playing games can be such fun."
Our Own Kohen Gadol?
In honor of the past weeks Parshiyos, Parshas Terumah and Tetzaveh, Dovid Lax, a second grade student in Rabbi Brulls class, came to school dressed as the Kohen Gadol wearing a replica of the Bigdei Kehuna. He visited the various classes at which time his clothing was discussed and studied.
Rain, Rain, Dont Go Away
Mrs. Weils second grade class has just completed a unit on the Rain Forests of the World. They watched a National Geographic video on Rain Forests supplied by classmate Aaron Mordechai Wodinsky. The video was followed by a wonderful book on Rain Forests brought in by Yehuda Leib Birnbaum. To show what the class learned about this vital part of our environment, you need only stop by our Elementary school foyer where you will see a story about the Rain Forests and a large group project diorama (made in art class.) The technical correctness of this "class made rain forest" can be checked by referring to any reference book on Rain Forests. The three levels of Rain Forests- the canopy, the mid-level and the ground level- are home to different animals and plants which can be seen in the beautiful diorama on display in the hall.
Three Talmidim from Rabbi Purecs third grade class, Yosef Baalness, Aryeh Klugman and Yaakov Neuberger learned 4 consecutive Perokim of Mishnayos Brochos Milah BMilah, word for word Baal Peh. The Perokim that they learned so thoroughly were Aleph, Bais, Daled, and Hey. Their immediate goal is to be able to recite the entire Mishnayos Brochos consecutively word for word by heart. Well keep you informed of their progress. Yosher Kocachem!
Appreciating Our Tzelem Elokim
Mrs. Amian Kelemer, the Coordinator of the Department of Special Education at the Council on Jewish Education Services, came to Mrs. Sommers second grade class to discuss how everyone is different but at the same time, everyone is the same. Each person is created BTzelem Elokim, in the image of Hashem. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we have to accept each others weaknesses while at the same time looking for each others strengths. She spoke about friendship and how important it is to be friends with each other. The class wrote thank you notes to Mrs. Kelemer. Shmueli Price wrote, "Thank you for telling us about how to make friends. I learned about making lots of friends. I will try to be polite to everyone,
Shraga Sarett wrote, "Thank you for coming to our school. Thank you for teaching us about making friends. I will be nice to every boy." Each one of us can learn from this Musar Lhaskil.
Rabbi Purecs and Rabbi Dinovitzs Classes Forging Ahead
Rabbi Purecs third grade class and Rabbi Dinovitzs morning third grade class recently finished Parshas Miketz. They are anxiously awaiting their Siyum which will be scheduled shortly.
Learning About The Makos
Both fourth grade classes finished Parshas Vaayra and are planning a Siyum celebration. We are very proud of these Talmidim.
Hascholos Gemorrah To Be Held This Sunday
Our fifth graders are now beginning to learn Gemorrah! To celebrate, a grand Hascholos Gemorrah will be held this Sunday, March 2. Over 150 parents, grandparents, and siblings are expected to fill the cafeteria where they will have a Seudah and hear from some of the Rebbeim and Hanhala words of encouragement and Chizuk as the Talmidim enter this new and exciting chapter in their lives. Boys, Kol Hascholos Kashos, all beginnings are difficult, but we have every confidence that youll rise to greater and greater heights in your learning.
Talmud Torah Keneged Kulom
Over 130 Talmidim from grades 2 through 5 participated in a grand Chemdas party in honor of their great achievement so far in the Chemdas program. The school treated these fine young men to pizza, soda, and pretzels. They heard a spell-binding story about the importance of learning Torah from Rabbi Brull. An enjoyable magic show ended the afternoon. Although the Chemdas program is officially over on Lag Bomer, we know that these boys will continue learning their entire lives.
We recently received this note about the Chemdas program.
"Dear Rabbi Brull,
Just a note to tell you how much Nachas I had watching Chaim and Yossie learn for Chemdas together. They spent a lot of time learning and helping each other. What a nice way to bring two brothers together.
Thanks for everything.
What A Corn (ea) Joke
Dr. Stuart Dankner, Dr. Dean Fiergang, and Ms. Ann Kimball have finished their excellent presentations to all of our preschool, elementary and sixth grade classes as part of our Health Awareness Month. Our students came away with a more thorough understanding of how the eye works. The presentations were done in a fun and relaxed tone as this following conversation indicates. Dr. Dankner was explaining to the fifth graders the concept of genes and how we get our various features. When asked how one would for example, have blue eyes, the humorous answer he gave was "from blue genes (jeans)." After hearing Dr. Dankners joke, Yaakov Freedman, a student in Mrs. Sommers fifth grade, responded, "Thats a corn(ea) joke! We thank Dr. Dankners entire office staff for these fascinating, educational and enjoyable presentations.
Solar System Scholars
Mrs. Allen's elementary P'TACH class is studying about the Solar System. They learned that the Solar System consists of one star (our sun), nine planets, the moon, and many asteroids. The class made a scale model of the Solar System. This model is almost as long as one side of the classroom. It stretches over seventeen feet. On this model, Earth has a diameter of 3/4 of an inch and is only 5 inches from the sun. Pluto is almost 17 feet from the sun. If a person could drive a car to the sun from Earth without ever stopping and keep driving 75 miles per hour, it would take 142 years to get to the sun. It would take almost 6,000 years to reach Pluto at that rate. Earth's moon is very close; it would take only 133 days to drive there. The boys are impressed with the size of our Solar System.
Hail To The Chief
Mr. Leach spoke to the fourth grade classes about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Some of the trivia facts which he discussed were simply amazing. This lesson was in conjunction with the Presidents Day observance. We thank Mr. Leach for his continuous lessons to our various classes.
Eretz Yisroel Bound
Our high school students are very much in demand as students in the Yeshivas in Eretz Yisroel. This week they were visited by Rabbi Mendel Blochman of Keren B'Yavneh and Rabbi Heshy Teichman from Yeshiva Teferet Yerushalayim. It is noteworthy that in most cases the Yeshivas do not respond immediately to the boy's acceptance because they want to see all their applicants first, but in many cases our talmidim are accepted right after their interview. We are so proud of our talmidim!
We at Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim believe our mission is to shape the whole talmid, that is, beside providing a quality chinuch in education, there is a stress on developing their Midos and Yiras Shamayim as well. For those who attended our basketball game Motzei Shabbos against Yeshiva High, it was clear how successful our efforts, together with our parents, were in this very essential area. The deportment of our team and fans was truly inspiring for everyone to see. From the referees to neutral observers it was clear that our talmidim have the right priorities as Benei Torah. Yasher Koach to everyone!
After spending a few weeks learning halachos of Shechita and Treifos, Rabbi Lerner will be taking his shiur to a slaughter house this coming Tuesday. Rabbi Lerner, who is also a shochet, will give the shiur a real "hands on" lesson about these complicated and technical areas of halacha.
We greatly appreciate and thank Rabbi Motti Abramson, a YCC-TA graduate, for allowing our talmidim to come and learn from him at Rupersberger Packing House.
Shabbos in Scranton
Our out-of-town students, accompanied by Rabbi Shraga Herskowitz, high school Rebbe and Dorm Mashgiach, and Rabbi Moshe Cohen, our high school Mishnayos Rebbe and dorm counselor, will be spending Shabbos at Yeshiva Beth Moshe in Scranton, Pennsylvania. We will be leaving Friday after morning classes and will be returning late Motzei Shabbos. While at the Yeshiva in Scranton, they will have opportunity to interact with fellow Yeshiva students from other areas of the country and hear inspirational talks from world-renown Roshei Yeshiva. We wish them a safe trip and an enjoyable and enriching experience.
Father-Son Beis Medrash
On Sunday, February 23, 1997, thirty-three fathers joined their sons, other 6th graders, and their Rebbeim for a morning of davening and learning. The morning started with davening followed by a delicious breakfast prepared by Mr. Will Heath and Mrs. Raisa Kats. A divar Torah was given by a 6th grade student, Yona Newmark. After breakfast the fathers and sons continued with a seder of learning in the middle school Beis Medrash. It was truly a beautiful sight to behold and sound to hear. After the inspired learning, Rabbi Nachman Klein delivered words of chizuk on the importance of fathers learning with their sons. Because of all the positive comments we will try to schedule another 6th grade father-son Beis Medrash before the end of the year.
This past week, Rabbi Fuchs, one of our 6th grade Rebbeim, took a group of boys away to lunch as an award for their extra-curricular learning. A passerby went out of her way to tell Rabbi Fuchs what nice, well-behaved boys he was with.
Rabbis Dinovitzer, Fuchs, Ribiat, and Zheutlin accompanied their shiurim to the Jewish Convalescent Home for some Purim Katan ruach. Rabbi Dinovitzer played the piano and the boys danced and sang for the residents in the Reception Room. A few of the talmidim also explained the importance of Purim Katan. The residents truly enjoyed the ruach, but the bochurim enjoyed it even more. We would like to thank our students for being such good ambassadors of TA. We have much of which to be proud.
Rabbi Zheutlin's class held a siyum upon finishing Parshas Kedoshim on Wednesday, February 26, 1997. Avi Aaronson delivered a divar Torah to the class. Yasher Kochachem and we hope to hear of their next siyum on Parshas Emor soon.
Rabbi Fuchs' shiur update: They have now reached 85 Amudim of Shakleh V'Tarya and are quickly closing in on a hundred.
Rabbi Zehnwirth's shiur has finished Parshas Berashis and will be taking an administrative test on the whole sefer. They have also finished a major Dikduk unit. They have accomplished a tremendous amount this year proving there are advantages of not having too many snow days.
Mr. Goss Speaks at PTA Meeting
Mr. Goss appreciated the opportunity to speak to parents at this weeks PTA meeting. Special thanks go to the Berkmans for opening their home to the meeting. One of the areas which Mr. Goss discussed at the meeting was the need for parents to help students become personally responsible for themselves. He offered two pieces of advice about how to help our sons take charge of their lives.
1.) Start off at an early age giving children responsibility with jobs at home such as room cleaning, dog walking, cooking, trash removal. Increase these as your child approaches adolescence.
2.) Avoid feeling that you can bail your child out from any predicament. In the extreme, this is a form of enabling or rescue fantasy. If a child leaves his homework under his bed (or any place but in his book bag), do not call the school and offer to fax or bring it in. Just say "No" when your son asks to be rescued in this manner. A child should take whatever consequences come his way so that he learns from his mistake. No one ever failed a college course because of undone homework in 6th grade. But, learning how to organize and do things on time are important life lessons.
AT Y.C.C.- TA (circa1898)
Mr. Horowiczs U.S. History students became 1898 U. S. Senators for a day. Divided into three groups and acting as foreign affairs committee, the class analyzed the testimony of prominent individuals of the time. They made a written proposal to the Senate and then President McKinley as to the proper disposition of the Philippine Islands, recently acquired as a result of our victory in the Spanish- American War. For the record and using a wide variety of arguments, two groups supported annexation and one opposed. This type of primary source document evaluation and use helps students develop skills needed for the twelfth grade advanced placement history course.