Rabbi Benzion Klatzko Inspires Shevach Students at Yom Iyun
On Monday, Elul 23, the senior class of Shevach High School, under the leadership of Yom Iyun head Mrs. Debbie Meltzer and senior Rochel Willig, organized a thought-provoking and meaningful yom iyun. The program began with a powerful video the class produced introducing the theme of the morning, “Shivti b’veis Hashem kol yemei chayai” — “I yearn to live in the House of Hashem all the days of my life.” As senior Daniella Itshakov elucidated, this refers to our love for Hashem and our desire to be with Him.
The Shevach students learned that the House of Hashem is not only referring to the actual Beis HaMikdash, but to any place where one makes Hashem’s presence felt. Dovid HaMelech’s desire was to always have the House of Hashem on his mind and to constantly reflect on that. Through the PowerPoint presentation, the students and faculty were given ideas as to how to make any place a Beis Hashem through tefillah, mitzvos, and middos tovos.
The Shevach seniors then performed an interpretive dance directed by seniors Shira Sklar and Tzivya Gross, and a moving choir performance led by Faiga Rabvogel. This was followed by a presentation of an exquisite banner, painted by Chana Deitsch and Liora Karshigi. All three beautifully encapsulated the theme of yearning to be in “Hashem’s house.”
The highlight of the yom iyun was an address by Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, founder of Shabbat.com. Rabbi Klatzko spoke about stopping, taking time out from all our rushing, to literally sit and contemplate the presence of Hashem.
Rabbi Klatzko spoke about the idea of “gates” in Yiddishkeit, how to traverse from our side of the gate in order to strengthen our relationship with Hashem. He spoke about occasions in life when one must take this step and the courage needed to do so. He then brought to light some of the opportunities to re-coronate Hashem — when we see the majesty of His creations, when we have opportunities for self-discovery, and when we suffer personal tragedies.
In an emotional narrative, Rabbi Klatzko relayed how his teenage nephew, Moshe, a’h, used his own illness as an opportunity for growth and connection to Hashem. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation asked Moshe what he wanted most, he requested a bookcase filled with sefarim. When asked why he chose sefarim when he could have anything he wanted, Moshe answered that he wanted to show Hashem how he very much wanted to learn all the sefarim, but if he was not given the time in this world, he at least wanted the credit for it.
Rabbi Klatzko ended by stressing how much Hashem wants us to be in His presence, and that if we walk “through the gates,” we will have a beautiful life. The girls left inspired to internalize these ideas for the Yomin Nora’im. Shevach principal Rebbetzin Rochelle Hirtz, along with the rest of the faculty, is confident that this message will remain with the student body throughout the year.
BYQ: Chesed Is Our Way of Life
Continuing the BYQ Shabbos Project Kits, third-graders learned the importance of chesed and the good feelings one receives when helping others. Before Sukkos, the girls decorated a small 4- x 4-inch box to replicate a sukkah. They added their creative touches with decorations and even schach!
The girls packed the boxes with Shabbos and yom tov essentials like LED candles, tablecloths, besamim, and included some special extras like flowers and the berachah for lighting the candles.
The girls wanted to bring simchas ha’chag to those who would be hospital-bound over yom tov. These girls had a fantastic time making the little sukkahs and using their creativity to bring simcha to those who need joy in the hospital. We are sure the girls will take this message of giving and continue to find satisfaction in giving to others throughout their lives!