Saturday, December 4, 2010

A New Sefer Torah Comes to CJDS - Mira's Words of Torah

On Thursday, Chicago Jewish Day School, under the magnificent leadership of Judy Taff, celebrated the donation and dedication of a Sefer Torah to the school from the Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation.  Once a flourishing synagogue with a fantastic USY chapter, Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation recently sold its building and a piece of suburban history came to a close.  However, the congregation lives on in the vibrant Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago through the gift of the Torah.  

Our daughter, Mira, was asked to deliver the D’var Torah at the celebration.  The following are her words of Torah for the occasion:

Who here has a Mezuza at home?
Who here knows what Tefillin are?
Who has ever held a Torah?
Who knows what these three things have in common?

The Shema appears in these three important items, the Torah of course is the most important one, which is the reason for today’s special occasion.

In the Shema it says,
וכתבתם על מזוזות בתיך ובשעריך

Inscribe it on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The Shema tells us that we need to have Mezuzot on our doors as a constant reminder of these rules, and of yetziat metzra’im - the Exodus from Egypt.  It is also supposed to remind us of the Torah when we walk into our homes and out of them.

The Shema also teaches us to wear Tefilin:
וקשרתם לאות על ידיך והיו לטוטפות בין עיניך

Bind it as a sign on your hand, and let it serve as a symbol on your forehead.

Tefilin is a sign of love between Bnai Israel, and HaShem, and we see that when the mitzvah of Tefilin appears in the paragraph after the Shema where the first word is  ואהבת -  love.

The Tefflilin on our arm is close to our heart.   The Tefillin on our head is close to our mind. I think that this shows that we can’t have an idea with only our mind, and we can’t have an idea with only our heart, so we have to use them both.

This summer I had an amazing opportunity, I was allowed to make my own Tefilin with the Israeli artist Noah Greenberg. He not only showed us how to make Tefilin, but taught us about it, and I learned how the Shema is one of the prayers tucked into the boxes at the top of the Tefilin.  At camp, I get to learn from experience.  We are lucky to do this at school too.  

What I like about how I learn Torah at school is that no one sits us down to tell us what’s there.  We get up and do it together.  I like how when we don’t understand something, we can have a discussion about what we get, don’t get, and what we think. When I have a question about Torah, I get to ask it, and say what I think with the full support of my class.  

Here at CJDS, the teacher doesn’t just talk to us, but we have big discussions, and we can debate about what we think. It’s more interesting and it’s more fun to learn.  I love it how not only the students are in the conversations and debates but the teachers are too.  They’ll take sides, and it takes everything to a whole new level of learning.  
I get to share what’s in my head and my heart, and I know my teachers do too.  

I think that we say Shema so often because it reminds us of HaShem and HaShem’s rules.  I think that because in what Orly is going to read this morning HaShem says a lot about love and loyalty. I think that G-d says that so that we stay on track in our lives, and we always remember that G-d loves us.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to share some Torah with you this morning, I would like the chance to thank the members of The Northwest Suburban Jewish congregation for giving us this amazing new Torah. I know that we all appreciate your generous donation to CJDS.

Boker tov.

Mira’s words of Torah are a synergy of all that she has learned over the years at The Epstein School, Camp Ramah Darom, our home and, most recently The Chicago Jewish Day School.  We are so proud of her and feel fortunate that she and Amalya are learning in such a special place.

1 comment:

Jacob Ner-David said...

what about what she learned during her time in Israel? :)