One of the highlights of Shevach High School is the weekly address on Friday morning from local rabbanim to the Shevach student body. On Erev Shabbos, the 28th of Iyar, the Shevach students were privileged to be addressed by Rabbi Yonoson Hirtz, noted rav, m’chaneich, and historian on the topic of Yom Yerushalayim. Rabbi Hirtz began by quoting Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l, who explains that the Mishkan was the unifying factor for B’nei Yisrael in the Midbar, which is why only after the Mishkan was dedicated, was there a mitzvah to create the flags for each Sheivet, as the flags symbolized individuality and uniqueness. Without the Mishkan as the center of the nation to solidify everyone, their distinctiveness would ultimately be a detriment to the unity of am Yisrael. Rabbi Hirtz pointed out that just as the Mishkan was the unifying factor in the Midbar, so, too, Yerushalayim was not divided amongst the Sh’vatim and was the place that unified klal Yisrael.
Rabbi Hirtz then proceeded to describe the n’vuah of Z’charyah HaNavi, who prophesied that there will be a day in the future when the elderly and the young will once again return and populate the streets of Yerushalayim – a prophecy that we are living witnesses to. The events of the last 50+ years have brought the words of the navi alive.
Rabbi Hirtz described the pre-1967 borders and the events that led up to the war in May and June of 1967. He related how the Old City was once again returned to Jewish sovereignty, and described the euphoria felt by klal Yisrael around the world now that the Kosel was once again accessible to the Jewish people. Rabbi Hirtz concluded with the brachah that we are grateful to HaKadosh Baruch Hu for the unmistakable miracles of 53 years ago, but we still yearn for the ultimate G’ulah where we will all be in Yerushalayim ha’b’nuyah!
Shevach culminated its Friday morning speakers program, on the 13th of Sivan, with an address delivered by Rabbi Shmuel Marcus, rav of the Young Israel of Queens Valley. He spoke passionately about the need to change the ordinary to the extra-ordinary. We all have that capacity, said Rabbi Marcus. As the intensity of the past three months now eases somewhat, our charge is to resume what we were familiar with, but on a higher level.
Rabbi Marcus stressed the need to appreciate those things that were denied to us during the last few months. The transformation of our perspective should be with one eye towards the past, and one eye towards the future. This transition allows us to grow from the past and segue with enthusiasm to the summer ahead and beyond.
This special Friday morning program has given the Shevach students much to think about and take to heart. The lessons and hashkafas ha’chayim they derived throughout the year from their distinguished guest speakers have made a strong impact on them, and will guide them throughout their lives.