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11 Tishrei 5766 - October 15, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Siyum on Completion of Writing of Commentary on Shas

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

A siyum on Shas is not a common event, even in Jerusalem, but soon Rav Shalom Shmuel Udwin will be celebrating a siyum on the completion of writing the Birchas HaTorah Series, a commentary on Shas. This unusual event will take place, iy"H, 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening, 24 Tishrei 5766 (27 October 2005) at Yeshiva Ohr HaChaim at Rechov Ezra 1 (at the corner of Rechov Yechezkel) in Geula. Gedolei Yisroel will be in attendance.

Childhood Inspiration

In an interview with Rav Udwin, he stated:

Growing up in Graff Reinett, South Africa, a small village on the edge of the Karoo Desert, my childhood became an inspiration. In this village a minyan of men gathered most Friday evenings for mincha and ma'ariv.

Before shul many of them would spend most of Friday afternoon playing lawn bowls or tennis. I would dutifully follow my late father to his game of lawn bowls every Friday and thereafter we would together attend shul. One particular Friday the match was tied and undecided.

Realizing that other members were expecting them in shul, they informed the non-Jews whom they were playing against that they awarded them the game and left. I was stunned. I tried to call my father back but he and his friends headed off to shul. Eventually I followed.

After davening, my father turned to me and said, "Son, I have bought you a siddur in Port Elizabeth and I request that you daven from one page a day." I agreed.

Not knowing a word of loshon hakodesh, I recited daily the Birchas HaTorah and especially the part speaking about how Hashem will sweeten divrei Torah in our mouths. This incident is etched daily in my life and spurred me on to finding out what is Torah, and eventually to being zoche to learn Torah and most importantly being able to spread Torah in any way possible.

Many years later, after being informed about my own son's serious medical challenges, I was given brochos by the foremost gedolim of the era. The brochos were that if I did the mitzvah of teaching Torah diligently to my children (and their peers) I would merit being able to speak divrei Torah everywhere.

I began teaching Torah diligently to my children and decided in 1992 while in Toronto to begin writing a commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. This commentary, which is the first completed modern Hebrew translation and elucidation on the gemora on the 38 tractates, has finally been printed. The empathy and support displayed by individuals and supporters gave impetus and encouragement so that the journey was made easier. On this occasion I would like to thank all the many individuals who aided this initiative lechvodoh shel Torah.

Further Initiatives

While completing a commentary on all of Shas is an incredible accomplishment, several years ago, Rav Udwin also established Yeshiva Kol Bonayich in Jerusalem, starting with his own sons but soon including others who needed a special therapeutic environment in order to learn Torah. Realizing that such a yeshiva needs its own building, Rav Udwin has overseen the completion of such a new building at 46 Beis Yisroel in Jerusalem, which is dedicated to the memory of his brother Pierre Udwin (Pesach Yaakov ben Avrohom Karpel). The Israeli amuta run by Rav Udwin, named Yad Pesach Yaakov, has two groups of talmidim in temporary quarters awaiting the move to the new building.

Concerning Yeshiva Kol Bonayich, Rav Udwin explains that these talmidim, with severe challenges from autism to schizophrenia, are able to attain a love for Torah. As stated in Devorim: You will teach it diligently to your children and you will talk of them when you are sitting in your home and when you go out. There is no exception to this rule as the novi Yeshayohu writes all your children ("kol bonayich") should be knowledgeable about your Torah and then we will merit much peace and tranquility in the form of Moshiach.

For further information about Yad Pesach Yaakov, contact in Israel A. Golden, Hakablan 12/4, Jerusalem (telephone 02-651- 0092) and in the U.K. J. Wolinsky Esq. 79 Leeside Cr. London NW11.


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