May 24, 2024
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Hakhel at Yeshivat Noam

I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I didn’t realize that I was crying until I wiped a tear from my face. I have always been a proud parent, teacher and cheerleader of Yeshivat Noam, but the program that was held on Friday, Erev Sukkot, truly blew me away and reminded me of why I feel the way I do about Yeshivat Noam. Honestly, I never knew what the mitzvah of Hakhel is.

On that day, at noon, over the loud speaker, Rabbi Uzi Beer, Assistant Principal Judaic studies, Elementary School, began reading the pesukim from Sefer Devarim in the Torah that describe the mitzvah of Hakhel. He then explained the pesukim in English and how we at Yeshivat Noam were about to experience this mitzvah.

Dressed in a Talit and kittel, carrying a Torah, Rabbi Beer began dancing and singing through the halls of the school, picking up one grade at a time, creating a long procession leading outdoors. Class by class, led by their teachers, the students proceeded through the outdoor fields, which were decorated with Israeli flags. The air was filled with beautiful music played by Morah Adina and the spirit of the event was celebratory.

As I arrived with my students, the middle school students and teachers were dancing with Torahs and all of the rebbeim were wearing their talit and kittel.

Rabbi Chaim Hagler, Principal, addressed everyone, Buds through eighth grade, reminding us of the 1,000 that we were gathered and the million that were Bnei Yisrael.

Special long, thin, silver trumpets were blown, and then Rabbi Hagler leined a short portion of the Torah. The Torah was raised for hagbah and all recited “Vzot HaTorah.” Finally all boys who are Kohanim said Birkat Kohanim under talitot. The program concluded with more dancing and singing.

While watching, I couldn’t help but think that these experiences are the reason we send our children to Jewish day school, and certainly why we send to Yeshivat Noam. In the words of Rabbi Hagler, “Like the real Hakhel experience, we are sure that our public display of Kavod (honor) HaTorah and Ahavat (love) HaTorah left an indelible impression on our students.”

May we all be zocheh to experience this mitzvah first hand in seven years!

By Caryn Nat, Yeshivat Noam Third Grade Teacher

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