At a moving ceremony to raise the banner of Torah, bnei Torah, led by HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman shlita, gathered at Beis Knesses Mass'as Mordechai in Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef to mark the opening of the yeshivas bein hazmanim in the city.
The event was organized by the Chareidi Social and Youth Affairs Department at the Beit Shemesh Municipality, with the assistance of Mayor Rabbi Moshe Abutbol. Deputy Mayor Rabbi Shmuel Greenberg, who organized the uplifting event, arranged special transportation for yeshiva students studying in the outlying parts of the city.
Hundreds of bochurim and avreichim packed the beis medrash early in the morning to launch the bein hazmanim study. Following a responsive verse-by-verse recitation of Tehillim for the success of the program and the honor of Torah, a number of local rabbonim stepped up to the podium to address the participants.
The keynote speech was given by the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Shteinman, who spoke about being an eved Hashem:
There is no comparison between one who learns his portion one hundred times and one who learns it one-hundred-and-one times. One who learns it a hundred times is termed "not having served Hashem." He is not an eved Hashem. One who learns it 101 times is called a oveid Hashem.
So the difference between an eved Hashem and a non-eved Hashem is who ever does more for Hashem's honor — learns Torah, fulfills mitzvos, does something else more — is called an oveid Hashem and the other is not called this. When a person rises to a new madreigah the results is that the previous madreigah as that of a non-eved Hashem and the new madreigah is an oveid Hashem. Thus, a person is always in suspense between oveid Hashem and a non-oveid Hashem. If, one second later, he learns Torah, then he is called an oveid Hashem, even though just a second earlier, when he did not learn, he is called a non-oveid Hashem. Therefore, whenever he learns more, or fulfills more mitzvos, at his previous level he was a non-oveid Hashem.
Therefore, there is no difference between bein hazmanim and the middle of the zman. Whenever he learns he is called an oveid Hashem. Being an oveid Hashem is the highest level. HaKodosh Boruch Hu called Moshe Rabbeinu and eved Hashem. No other person is called by Hashem "my eved." Very few people are called eved Hashem. Now there are all sorts of titles, but in the time of the Torah there was only one: eved Hashem. Everyone must be an eved Hashem. The more Torah he learns, the more he is oveid. During his whole lifetime a person must rise! Rise! Rise! The more he learns Torah the more of an eved Hashem he is. All the time: in his previous madreigah he was not an eved Hashem but when learning Torah he is an eved Hashem.
Boruch Hashem you want to elevate yourselves to become avdei Hashem. The more you learn, the more avodas Hashem you undertake. Know that HaKadosh Boruch Hu wants this, for man's purpose on earth is to be an eved Hashem. Each of you can make use of every single moment. Someone who does not learn is no longer His servant, but someone who labors at his Torah study is His servant. Therefore you should be happy to have the opportunity to learn, even bein hazmanim when there are no set sedorim in the yeshivas. But even when there is no set study framework you can rise to become an oved Hashem, which is the highest calling.
Our holy forefathers made this clear. It is written that Avrohom was an eved Hashem, along with Moshe Rabbenu and Yehoshua, who fully earned the title of `eved Hashem.' Yehoshua Bin Nun is referred to as a servant of Moshe. Someone who learns Torah and keeps mitzvahs is called a `servant,' and Yehoshua had the merit to succeed Moshe Rabbenu as the leader of Am Yisrael.
All of you should stive to make the most of life. People generally waste their lives engaging in all sorts of foolishness. I am not talking about things like loshon horoh, rechilus and nivul peh, but they simply waste their lives. A man lives out the years granted to him. How long does he have to live? Not much, because most of his life goes to waste! People do not do what needs to be done to be an oved Hashem and do not spend their time engaged in Torah study. Boruch Hashem, here the bochurim and the rest of you want to serve Hashem, during bein hazmanim as well.
May HaKadosh Boruch Hu help you to rise in Torah and yiras Shomayim to become Hashem's servants. May each of you merit — both him and his family — to toil in Torah and yiroh, grounded in yiras Shomayim, in ruchniyus and gashmiyus, and may HaKadosh Boruch Hu help you all to merit only goodness and bounty.