A Message from Rabbi Menachem Weissmann, Menahel / Head of School (10-13-23)

Rabbi Menachem Weissmann's picture

Dear Parents,

Immediately after Creation, the passuk describes the world as “sohu v’vohu,” which Rashi explains as “shockingly empty.” Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l points out that this means that not only was the world empty, but the emptiness itself evokes an emotion of being stunned at the emptiness.

Why should this emptiness be so shocking? Hashem creates everything, and as of yet, He had not placed any of creation in its format. What is so shocking? And what are we to learn from it being “shockingly” empty?

Rav Moshe explains that this phrase teaches a critical lesson. When one can do and doesn’t do, that inaction itself is shocking. For the Almighty Creator to have a world in a non-created state evokes the emotion of being taken aback—because He could do more. From this he derives an important lesson: a person who can accomplish and chooses not to displays a shocking waste of ability.

Albeit from a distance, we are living through the situation in Eretz Yisroel, and it is critical for us to realize that we can do something. We know the truth; guns and missiles do not win a war—Tehillim and Torah do! The acts of chesed, of kindness, in which we involve ourselves, the extra focus on Torah and on davening, and the extra emphasis we place on our interpersonal relationships are the things which can help our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, both those who are our messengers in battle and those who are in the cities. We must do something! As Rav Moshe says—one who can do yet does not do—that is “shocking.”

In PHDS/NEAT, the classes are engaged in a variety of activities generating zechusim for Klal Yisroel, with an increase of Tehillim, extra learning of Shemiras HaLashon and a variety of other activities, of which we of the staff are very proud.

We must realize that we are charged with the mission of helping acheinu kol bais Yisroel and live up to our responsibility to aid them in their fight. Hashem should give us the siyatta dishmaya, heavenly assistance, to do so.

Have a great Shabbos,
Rabbi Menachem Z. Weissmann
Menahel/Head of School