Challenges Make Us Great
Within a ספר תורה , Parshas Vayechi is unique from other פרשיות . Generally, each סדרה is demarcated
from the פרשה that precedes it by either a nine-letter space, or by the פרשה beginning on a new line.
פרשת ויחי , by contrast, has neither. There is no space separating the beginning of the פרשה from the end
of Vayigash. Parshas Vayechi is therefore known as a פרשה סתומה , a closed פרשה .
December 29, 2017
י‘‘א טבת תשע‘‘ח
· January 1—Early dismissal
for Preschool and grades 1G-
8G at 11:50 am, dismissal for
grades 1B-8B at 12:00 noon
· January 9—- General Studies
Faculty meeting– Hamilton
3:50 pm dismissal all grades,
Williston 4:00 pm dismissal,
no aftercare both buildings
· January 15—Faculty
professional development day–
no classes both buildings.
· We are accepting sibling applications for the Prek and Kindergarten for the upcoming school year. The application is included in the bulletin. If
you are planning to send a child next year, send the application in asap to reserve your child a spot. Thank you.
· In Chodesh Kislev, a total of 347 perakim were learned by the boys for the Chemdas Yosef program l’zechar nishmas the father of Rabbi
Shloimy Halpern. The boys learned : 3B- 23, 4B-35, 5- 86, 6-48, 7B-86, 8B– 69. To date, the total number of perakim learned is 700.
· מזל טוב to the girls in grade 5G for being misayem Parsha Yisro and to girls in grade 8G for being misayem Parsha Matos.
· Curiosity was peaked in grades 2-4 by signs that read C.O.S.B. They were challenged to figure out what it meant. They came up with some
good guesses. It was solved on Friday. It stands for Chidon On Sefer Bereishis. We will let you know the results.
· On Asarah B’Teves, girls in grades 2-5 learned about the history of the Kosel from a special video and 6-8 gained insight into the Holocaust by
watching a video prepared by Zechor Yemos Haolam.
The מפרשים discuss at length why this is so, with
רש״י , quoting the מדרש , providing some famous
פשטים . Rav Shamson Refael Hirsch זצ״ל . in his
commentary on חומש , offers a novel explanation to
explain the lack of space between the two
parshiyos. Parshas Vayechi, Rav Hirsch writes,
seemingly described the best years of יעקב אבינו ’s
life. He was reunited with his beloved son יוסף and
he dwelled in serenity and peace in גשן studying
Torah with his children and grandchildren.
This, however, doesn’t deserve a separate פרשה .
The challenges and troubles that יעקב faced and
overcame during his lifetime were what laid the
foundation for the future of כלל ישראל . They serve
as our guiding posts during our own trials and
tribulations. Life is about challenge and ultimately
the growth that that the challenge engenders. We
are not here on this world to simply coast through
our existence, but rather to confront our
difficulties and allow them to spur us to greatness.
The years that יעקב spent in מצרים were challenge-
free, a reward for a lifetime of עבודה done during
years of adversity and turmoil. Such a פרשה ,
simply the epilogue of יעקב ‘s life, is not a
freestanding edifice of its own. It is therefore
‘tacked’ onto the end of פרשת ויגש .
In a similar vein, one can wonder why the
piercing מוסר that יעקב אבינו gives to his three
oldest sons, taking them to task for deficiencies in
עבודת ה׳ , can be grouped with the other שבטים as
ברכת יעקב , Should it not be more appropriately
termed as the צוואה of יעקב , his last will and
The Telzer Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Mottel Katz
זצ״ל , beautifully reveals the ברכה inherent in יעקב ‘s
rebuke. Life is about working, improving and
growing. The greatest blessing a person can be
endowed with is a clear understanding of his
strengths and weaknesses. When a person knows
where he is falling short, he knows where to
invest his efforts to change. Thus, the מוסר of יעקב
gave the שבטים their roadmap for life. Armed with
this knowledge, the שבטים now had the ultimate
ברכה : the ability to discover the valuable resources
within themselves and use that to reveal the
fullness of their greatness.