Louis Sachs

Louis Sachs

Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
I have spent the past nine months, living in Jerusalem and absorbed in the history of the Jewish people. Through Masa Israel Journey, I am a student at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, where I engage in intensive Jewish textual study each day. Sunday through Thursday, I take classes on Chumash, Talmud, Rambam, Modern Jewish Thought, and many other subjects. In these classes we look at the texts in their original language, often Hebrew or Aramaic. While this has been tremendously difficult for me, it has been exponentially rewarding as I have witnessed how much my abilities have progressed throughout this program. What has been even more incredible is realizing how important and relevant these ancient texts are to my modern life.
 
One of the things I have noticed in our tradition is the importance of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world.” The belief that we need to look out for those around us and not think only of ourselves comes up again and again in our people’s vast literature. “If I am only for myself, what am I?” Hillel famously said in Pirke Avot 1:14, Over 2,000 years ago Hillel, one of the greatest rabbis of our tradition, understood the importance of looking out for the needs of others and not only of our own.
 
In his renowned work, the Mishnah Torah, Rambam taught that eight levels of charity exist and that each is above the other. The lowest is giving grudgingly and the highest is helping someone become self sufficient. Rambam lived in Spain over 800 years ago, and not only understood the importance of helping others but saw that there were distinctions in how one helps another. For Rambam, the greatest form of tzedakah was not a temporary fix, but a permanent solution. He understood that tikkun olam went beyond helping those in need, but addressing the problems cause it, as well.
 
In Bereshit 6:9, we are introduced to Noah and the text states that he walked “with” God. Rashi, one of the greatest commentators in our tradition, notices the difference between this verse and Bereshit 17:1 about Abraham, which tells us that our forefather walked “before” God. Rashi explains that Noah required God’s support for his righteousness, while Abraham had this strength within himself. Many other commentators have also wondered why Noah walked with God and Abraham walked in front of God. While they give many interesting explanations I am particular to one we discussed in my class.
 
Noah himself was a good person; the text even describes him with the same word later used for Abraham, “tamim,” often translated as “pure,” “perfect,” or even as, “blameless.” There is however, one important difference between the two: Noah was himself tamim, while Abraham sought to lift up those around him as well.
 
Over and over throughout the story of Abraham, we see him go out of his way to help those around him. When a powerful group of kings comes from the East to wage war against the local kings near Canaan, Abraham gathers the men of the household to help the local kings. After he saves the day, he takes nothing for himself from the loot they collected in the war. Not only did he go out of his way, but he expected nothing as a reward for his actions. Also, when God plans to destroy the city of Sodom, Abraham argues with him until God agrees not to destroy the city for the sake of 10 righteous people living there.
 
As opposed to Noah, Abraham set himself apart by focusing on helping others in any way he could. He walked before God, because he carried God’s message into the world through acts of tikkun olam. Noah may have been a good guy himself, but when the flood came, he did his duties but didn’t go beyond them to help anyone else. This quality explains why Abraham, and not Noah, merited being the father of the Jewish people.
 
At Pardes, I’ve learned that it is our responsibility as Jews to be like Abraham and to go beyond what we are told to do. Whether it is with money, time, or even just treating our fellow human being with dignity, it is our duty to perform acts of tikkun olam, and repair the world, by helping others in any way we can.
 
Next year, Louis will begin rabbinical school at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

All mitzvas great and small

<div class="masa-blog-title">All mitzvas great and small</div>

 
By Leor Kushner
 
The months I spent at Masa Israel’s Yeshivat Sha’arei Mevaseret Zion were the most unbelievable ones of my life.
 
Soon after our arrival last August, we entrenched ourselves in Jewish learning. But a few weeks later, the yeshiva announced that Sept. 14 would be devoted to hesed work: helping underprivileged people build sukkas.
 

Safety and security

Safety and security

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The safety and security of Masa Israel Journey program participants, staff and partners is our top priority.Masa Israel Journey maintains strict standards for safety and security on all program sponsored activities.
 
As a joint project of the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel, Masa Israel programs receive updated information regarding safety and security regularly and are able to respond to official recommendations.

Jewish Studies

Masa Israel journey offers a range of Jewish Studies programs designed to deepen your connection to our traditions and to the Jewish people.
 
Programs range from rigorous interdisciplinary studies of the Jewish people and civilization at some of the world’s top universities to Torah instruction and study at Israel’s leading yeshivas and seminaries.
 
Delve into the history of the Jewish people, explore your own Jewish identity, gain familiarity with a wide variety of Jewish texts or study to become a Jewish communal professional.
 
Your Jewish Studies experience in Israel awaits. Find it here.

 

 

Midreshet Moriah

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Program Description

At Midreshet Moriah, you can design your own schedule to match your interests, goals, and learning style. Focus on Tanakh, Halakhah, Jewish Thought, Gemara, Mussar, Chasidut, Contemporary Machshavah and Hashkafah, Tefilah, Ethics, Jewish History, Zionism, and more. The program includes tiyulim to explore the Land, experience different kinds of communities, have a great time with friends and teachers, and take a break from the daily learning routine.
 
The midrasha’s chesed program is a fantastic way to do hands-on volunteering—working with victims of terror, volunteering in soup kitchens, helping disabled children, volunteering in the Shaare Zedek Medical Center, training to be a medical clown, and more.
 

Midreshet Lindenbaum Overseas Program

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Program Description

Midreshet Lindenbaum provides an intensive experience of living and learning Torah that broadens and deepens your commitment to Torah, Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael.
 
You will experience the dynamism of the world’s largest Bet Midrash for women, where you will learn Tanach and Torah She’be al Peh with unrivaled depth and intensity. You will gain a love of Torah and self confidence in your learning as you grow religiously and spiritually in an atmosphere that respects your individuality. You will determine the emphasis in your learning through our scheduling flexibility that allows you to maximize hours in Tanach and Gemara, choose shiurim in Hebrew or English, and classes in the overseas or Israeli programs.
 

Midreshet Lindenbaum Darkaynu

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Program Description

Midreshet Lindenbaum offers a combination of a rigorous, challenging learning program and a supportive religious environment that encourages students to develop and to delve, to discuss and to debate, and ultimately to decide on a more mature and profound commitment to Torah and Mitzvot. Yeshivat Darkaynu is a new and innovative program developed for religious young men with special needs who are looking for the perfect way to spend a year in Israel.
 
The program is designed for students who want to continue their learning, develop vocational skills, build independence, improve self-esteem and expand their love of Israel and the Jewish people. Yeshivat Darkaynu is an intimate, "sidestreaming" program that is professionally staffed, highly structured and aims to meet the individual, special needs of its students.
 

Machon Alte - Chaya Mushka Seminary

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Program Description

Located in the historic city of Tzfat (Safed), Machon Alte is the only Chabad-Lubavitch School in Israel offering a challenging full-time academic program for young Jewish women seeking to discover and nourish their Jewish roots.
 
Machon Alte’s unique curriculum offers deep insights into the mystical teachings of Torah: its comprehensive program of Jewish studies focuses on Jewish Law, Torah and Prophets, Jewish Meditation and Prayer, Jewish Philosophy (Chassidut), and Hebrew Ulpan. There are classes for beginning and advanced students conducted in English, Hebrew, and Russian. Classes in additional languages are available upon request.
 

Bnei Akiva - Amichai

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Program Description

Bnei Akiva Amichai Amlat is an experiential program which combines a leadership, Jewish studies, Hebrew language, work in a Kibbutz, and Army/MDA experience. The program is meant for young Jewish boys and girls who are looking for a Jewish traditional program.
 

Beit Chana - Emissaries to the World

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Program Description

Beit Chana offers a special Chassidishe Torah-orientated learning and teaching program for students from abroad. The teaching training program at Beis Chana Sefad Chul expects admitted students to excel in Chasidishkiet, Tzniyut, Yirat Shamaim, Tefilla, Hiskashrus and more. Those who complete all the obligations of the program receive a “Morot Lagolah” certificate from the government.
 
The seminary was established primarily for Israeli-Hebrew speaking high school graduates, so most classes are in Hebrew and applicants must have full command of the Hebrew language.