Providence Hebrew Day School, 450 Elmgrove Ave. Providence, RI 401-331-5327
Vayishlach Deans letter
This week, I returned from a very busy and successful fundraising trip to both Los Angeles and Toronto. On these trips, I reach out to donors who are not affiliated with Providence in any way but who open their hearts, minds and pockets in support of our school. This includes friends who make phone calls on my behalf and open many doors for me. It is these joint efforts that allow me to raise significantly more than other schools and yeshivos visiting these same cities. We are deeply grateful to all of these friends of PHDS/NEAT for their support of our school.
Support from outside of our community and school must inspire us locally to consider being even more supportive of our school. I am not only referring to direct contributions but also to your solicitation of grandparents and other family members, professional contacts, and friends to make donations to the school’s scholarship fund or to purchase tickets for the school’s annual raffle campaign. The raffle is a very important fundraiser that allows all parents the opportunity to earn credit toward your family’s fundraising obligation. There are only a few weeks left until the raffle and we ask all parents to please consider doubling your efforts to sell tickets and help the school. We thank you for all of your efforts until this point and look forward to a successful close to our raffle campaign.
In last week’s parsha, we learn about Yaakov lying down to rest after many years of not sleeping. He places twelve stones around his head, and in the morning, he awakens to find that they had all merged into one stone. The Midrash tells us that Yaakov sees this miracle as a Divine message that Hashem’s blessing of the growth of Klal Yisrael would come about through him. Rabbi Schepps asks the following question: How do twelve stones merging into one show Yaakov anything; if one stone turned into twelve units, wouldn’t the connection be more clear? The Torah teaches us that Hashem promises “v’e’escha l’goy gadol – and I will make you into a great nation.” What does “goy gadol” mean? If we are talking about quantity, Klal Yisrael is much smaller than many of the nations! “Gadol,” therefore, explains Reb Schepps, refers to a very different type of great. He gives a number of answers to this question, proving that “gadol” refers to one who is giving in his nature. If we look at the Torah leaders whom we refer to as “gedolim” today, we find that equally important to all of their Torah learning is the manner in which they give to others. Reb Schepps therefore explains that Yaakov understood when he saw the twelve stones merge into one that the growth of Klal Yisrael is directly tied into the achdus of our nation. When he saw the merged stones, he took this as a sign that when we are all together as one, there can be real and true growth in quantity and in spirit.
One of the beautiful aspects that I am able to point out to those I visit is that although our high school has girls from different backgrounds both religiously and socially, there is a sense of true achdus in the school. When there is achdus, the promises of Hashem are fulfilled, and we see our true growth as a people.
I thank you once again for your support of the school’s scholarship raffle fundraiser!
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman, Dean