Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

15 Adar I 5768 - February 21, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Over a Hundred Spent Four Days Learning Torah at American Aguda Yarchei Kallah

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Participants of Agudas Yisroel of America's second American Yarchei Kallah — held this past Shabbos parshas Tetzaveh through Monday afternoon at the Newark Hilton " — left feeling uplifted and inspired.

For veteran attendees, the privilege of hearing from and simply being with an illustrious assemblage of gedolei and manhigei Yisroel, the atmosphere of conviviality, the aura of kedusha that permeated this unique gathering did not surprise and certainly did not disappoint. The feeling among first-timers,"expressed again and again throughout the four days, was that — notwithstanding all they'd heard and read — the event had to be experienced to be fully appreciated.

"Passing from the mundane to the sublime," was the way one newcomer described walking through the glass doors that separated the lobby of the busy airport hotel from the area that had been specially designated for the Yarchei Kallah.

"I had originally planned to stay only through Shabbos," said another. "But there was no way I could bring myself to leave. There was just something so pure about it all."

Highlights included the sweet, melodious strains of the Kabbolas Shabbos; the conference room turned beis medrash; the rischa deOraisa that characterized the outstanding shiurim by Rabbi Dan Blumberg, Rosh Kollel Yisroel veShimshon of the West Side and Rosh Hayeshiva Ohr Simcha in Englewood, and Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum, rav of Khal Nachlas Yitzchok, and not least the groups of lomdim reflecting on this droshoh, reexamining a point raised in that shiur.

The program opened Friday night with two shiurim. The first, by Rabbi Yitzchok Sorotzkin, rosh yeshivas Telz, focused on the sugya dekallah which was Krias HaTorah, offering an insightful and deep analysis of the requirement of a tzibbur for krias haTorah. He was followed by Rabbi Usher Weiss, Av Beis Din of Darchei Horaha and rosh hayeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, who delivered a shiur on the parsha, spinning a web of lomdus, halacha lema'aseh and aggadah based on the mitzvah of achilas kodshim.

After Shacharis the next morning, Rabbi Sorotzkin delivered a droshoh on the incredible koach of tefilloh. tefillos throughout the Yarchei Kallah," said one of the lomdim. "The challenge is to keep them in my mind and heart the rest of the year."

Later that Shabbos was a Sholosh Seudos droshoh from Rabbi Yaakov Reisman, rav of Agudath Israel of Long Island, in which he compared the bigdei kehuna with the way a Jew must approach his avodas Hashem. Explicating a shiur da'as by the Telshe Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Avrohom Yosef Bloch, Rabbi Reisman portrayed the end result of this process as lekadsho ulechahano reaching a high level of kedusha.

A powerful and empowering message of ahavas Hashem was conveyed at the Melave Malka by Rabbi Usher Weiss, who had traveled from Yerushalayim to be part of this special gathering. Relaying the heartbreaking news of a very recent personal loss, Rabbi Weiss then shared with the visibly moved assemblage what the tragedy had taught him: In times of sorrow, those who feel close to HaKodosh Boruch Hu feel His brochoh upon them. "It does not diminish the grief," he averred, "but imparts a feeling of calm and submission." The greatest balm for his pain, the Rosh Hayeshiva told his listeners, is limud haTorah.

Affected as much by the speaker's incredible dignity and deep emunah as by his distressing besura, the crowd fell almost eerily silent at the conclusion of Rabbi Weiss' remarks. The normal tenor of a Melave Malka was restored only when, at Rabbi Weiss' request, the men broke into spirited zemiros.

Addresses delivered the next evening would bring additional messages of chizuk and his'orerus.

"When two people sit and learn," said the Lakewood Mashgiach, Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, "the Shechina is with them." Alluding to the week's parsha and its focus on the building of the Mishkon, the place in which the Shechina rests, Rabbi Salomon went on to explain the concept of gilui Shechina.

"When the Ribono Shel Olam's hashgacha is recognized, when it can be seen making contact with creation " as it was in the Mishkon and in the Bais Hamikdash — that's gilui Shechina."

Giving numerous examples of the nissim Hashem regularly performed in those holy places, Rabbi Salomon brought the discussion back to the Chazal that tells us that when two Jews engage in Torah study, the Shechina is present.

"It would be a pity to go away from such a gathering without recognizing the nissim that brought us all here," the Mashgiach observed. "To have in this day and age a head and a heart pure enough to learn is a ness, one that Hakodosh Boruch Hu performs for us because He wants us to come closer to Him and to realize that our lives have to change."

Rabbi Salomon closed his remarks with an eitzah tovah for the lomdim: "When you return home, examine your life and resolve to live it with the Shechina. Because living with the Shechina affects every facet of our lives."

"And, it all begins," the Mashgiach proclaimed, "with two Yidden coming together to learn Torah."

The subject of Talmud Torah, and, more specifically the laws of Bircas haTorah and their profound effect on limud haTorah, were addressed by the next speaker, Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Feuer, rav of Kehillas Bais Avrohom. Galvanizing his listeners with his characterization of the Torah's transformative properties, the speaker went on to examine the various halachos related to Bircas HaTorah. "They should be said with trepidation, from a Siddur, slowly and deliberately and with yishuv hadaas." Bircas HaTorah, which Rabbi Feuer called "the most important" brochos of the day "set the stage for proper limud, lead us back to Sinai and inspire us to learn in the way Moshe Rabbeinu intended."

Rabbi Feuer's talk reached a crescendo with his observation that limud haTorah benefits not only the learner, keeping him spiritually afloat, but the Torah itself, which depends on those who learn it to keep it alive.

The penultimate shiur was delivered by Rabbi Yeruchom Olshin, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, who gave a fascinating talk about the different halachos surrounding the last eight pesukim of the Torah.

The final droshoh of the Yarchei Kallah was delivered by Rabbi Avrohom Schorr, rav of Khal Tiferes Yaakov who, in his inimitable style, delivered a riveting talk about the sanctity of Shabbos and its connection to krias haTorah and limud haTorah.

Quoting the Ben Ish Chai, Rabbi Schorr informed his listeners that "learning a blatt gemara on Shabbos, is equivalent to learning 1,000 blatt during the week." But, the Rav stressed, this benefit is obtained only if one has the proper understanding of the kedusha of Shabbos and conducts himself accordingly. Women, too, have a special power on Shabbos, Rabbi Schorr observed. When they bentch lecht with the proper kavana, they have the koach to change their lives and the lives of their descendants for generations to come.

It would be hard to imagine an audience more receptive to Rabbi Schorr's message — indeed, to all the inspiring words of Torah they had been privileged to hear throughout the Yarchei Kallah — than these baalei batim who had chosen to spend four days learning Torah and mining its riches.


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