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A TRIBUTE TO PRESIDENT RICHARD M.

JOEL

Yom Hamyeuchas
I f you look carefully at the Jewish
calendar for the month of Sivan,
you may be surprised to find that
the second day of the month is referred
to as Yom Hameyuchas. Generally, we
Rabbi Dr. Hillel Davis
Chief Operating Officer, Five Blocks

understand “meyuchas” or “yichus” as
the paints and sketch out the drawings more apt description to the individual
“being of distinguished lineage,” so the
that would decorate their respective that he is and the role that he has
second of Sivan is apparently the day of
walls. The fourth sat by, seemingly idle, played than as a meyuchas. He is of
distinguished lineage. What does that
writing numbers in a note pad. As the distinguished lineage as one who has
mean and why is such an attribution
three were finishing their work on their worked to create a mural that reflects
attached to that particular day?
individual walls, the fourth finally stood the glory of all that surrounded him,
The most popular explanation is based up and arranged a series of mirrors on all the good and all the potential that
on the Gemara, Shabbat 86b-87a. The his wall. When the king arrived to judge we as a community have. He has built
second of Sivan was the day when the the work, he awarded the prize to the up our Yeshiva to reflect the very best
Jewish people were charged by God to fourth artist. He said that while the that came before us — our tradition,
be a mamlechet kohanim v’goy kadosh — creativity and skill of each of the three our history, our story as he would
a priestly nation and a holy people. The artists were both evident and special, so often refer to it. At the same time,
Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chaim 494:7, the work of the fourth artist was truly he has invested his entire being in
notes that this is the reason why it is the most beautiful in that it reflected unleashing the potential of the glory
called Yom Hameyuchas — the day upon the glory and the grandeur of all that of who and what will follow — the
which we as a Jewish people attained surrounded it. generations of young men and women
our distinctive and distinguished place who have absorbed those lessons,
Yom Hameyuchas has no intrinsic
among the family of nations. built on them and made them their
holiness, but by virtue of the fact
Others suggest that in fact the day itself that it sits in the midst of holiness, own, and will, God willing, continue
has no special or unique quality, but it reflects all that surrounds it. to bring pride and nachat to us as
rather since it sits squarely between Ultimately, that is what yichus is: the parents, grandparents, as Jews and as
Rosh Chodesh on the previous day and opportunity to reflect all the grandeur citizens of the world. He has created
the shloshet yemei hagbalah, the three of that which came before and that that fourth wall that reflects the glory,
preparatory days leading up to matan which will follow. When we think of the beauty and the nobility of what
Torah, it too is swept up in the overall ourselves as primarily a conduit to was and what is still to be.
simcha of the period. As such, Yom reflect the glory of the generations As a leader, he has created a paradigm
Hameyuchas achieves its prestige from that preceded us and we pray (and that we could all benefit from
its proximity to the holy days that work so) that the generations that emulating — understanding that our
surround it. follow us will also create their own yichus comes not from any greatness
The Yalkut Me’am Lo’ez cites a parable, beauty and dignity in which we can that we attribute to ourselves, but
which apparently is attributed to the take pride and ultimately bask in that rather to our commitment to ennoble
Roziner Rav, to explain this idea further. reflection, then we are truly meyuchas the past and enable the future. His
A king wanted his palace decorated, — we are of distinguished lineage. artistry has brightened the future of
so he invited four famous artists, each our community, the broader Jewish
This Shavuot, we are marking the end
to paint one wall of the palace. Three community throughout the world and
of President Joel’s 14 years at the helm
of the four worked assiduously to mix mankind as a whole.
of Yeshiva University. I can think of no

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary • The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series • Shavuot 5777