Dean's Letter Shemos

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Dear Parents,

I hope everyone had a relaxing vacation. I know that the inability to travel was difficult and I thank you for your part in keeping the school safe. For those who had to travel, we apologize that your children were unable to return to in-person learning. While we look forward to a speedy end to the virus, we must not ignore the unfortunate trend of a growing infection rate – and we want to keep it out of Providence.

I had the opportunity to teach an amazing group of 7th- and 8th- grade girls this week. We asked the vexing question of why the meyaldos, nurse maids, deserved a prize of mansions or a stronger lineage for not killing the Jewish baby boys at Pharaoh’s command. After all, who would just go out and kill – it is unethical and immoral?! A simple answer is that they saved the Jewish boys even in the face of punishment for not complying – truly worthy of a reward.

If one examines morality throughout the ages, one will find that there is no objective standard for morality, and as society becomes more liberal, the bar moves from year to year. Many in the medical field look at elderly people suffering from terminal illness as simply using up needed space. I recall when a parent in our school was told that the hospital was going to disconnect the food tube from their parent to speed up their death. They had to bring the complaint to the ethics committee of the hospital and were supported to keep the elderly person fed. The result was that the patient was released from the hospital and lived for at least four and a half years following the event.

Based on the fact that morality is subjective, each person’s response in the face of a moral and ethical dilemma would differ. There are many legal cases that would illustrate this point. The Telzer Rosh Yeshivah, HaRav Chaim Mordechai Katz z”tl, explains that the only way the meyaldos were able to disrespect Pharaoh’s command was because “Vatirena hameyaldos es hoElokim – the maidservants feared Hashem.” Their fear of Hashem made them worthy of tremendous reward.

We at PHDS are a family school steeped in the mesorah of our rabbis and the teachings of the Torah. While morality is constantly being judged in the world, we are able to draw an objective standard of morality from the Torah.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman
Dean