Welcome to Toras Chaim
Imagine yourself in a fourth grade classroom. This week is Parshas Yisro, and here the Torah describes Klal Yisrael reaching Midbar Sinai. In just days, Heaven will meet Earth. The rebbe in our classroom brings the challenging posuk, וַיִּֽחַן־שָׁ֥ם יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל נֶ֥גֶד הָהָֽר׃ "And [he], Israel, camped there opposite the mountain." But Klal Yisrael was comprised of 3-million people! Who is this "he," and why is the entire camp in the midbar referred to in the singular? And before the rebbe can even ask the question, one of these students in our classroom shoots his hands up and asks this EXACT question. The very question that is asked by Rashi himself!
At Toras Chaim, we build up students, we create intelligent thinkers, and we present Torah as a gift for the child to unwrap. Our students know enough, care enough, and are connected enough to ask this and other 1000-year old questions. So what is the answer, anyway? Rashi explains this to mean כְּאִישׁ אֶחָד בְּלֵב אֶחָד "As one man, with one heart." So it was really only one "he" all melded together. But what does this even mean, and is this really what Hashem wants?
Toras Chaim embraces the idea of synergy, defined as where two or more people work together to create a better solution than either could create alone. It's not your way or my way. It's our way, the better way. We recognize that each of our teachers is different with their own strengths and their own perspectives. At our school, we celebrate these differences and create better together through these sweet sounds of synergy. We are as one, the qunitessional אִישׁ אֶחָד that depends on his לֵב אֶחָד. My very dear friend, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, says the root of חְינוּךְ is חֵן, which, interestingly, when spelled out in English reads as "chain." This is the invisible bond that connects the rebbe and the talmidim. In a small school like ours, these bonds, these 1-on-1 interactions, are the driving force that is our version of chinuch: connecting each and every child to their learning and addressing all of his or her individual needs.
-Rabbi Yonah Lazar, Principal