Day 20 by Dean Nathanson: A Free Weekend Part 2

December 12, 2013

After being bruised, battered and bombarded over the past week, my happiness could not be confined to words at the thought of reaching the day of rest. Shabbas. I love how IST has been unintentionally implementing the motto, "Every minute doing nothing, is 60 seconds wasted." However, this philosophy has begun to take its toll upon me and I was excited for the break.

 

I spent my free-weekend in a yeshiva in Sha'alvim, with David Wolfowitz, one of our Counterpoint madrichim. Saturday morning was relaxed, my mind was delving into the deepest depths of my dreams, as I slept in quite late.

 

We then went to eat lunch at the Holtz's house and the food there was delicious. There was an assortment of salads followed by a great main course and a hearty cholent. A question I have always thought to myself is, how do all religious Jews have such great voices? It has always baffled me until this weekend when I realised that every opportunity there is to sing, we sing!

 

The ensuing zemirot songs were simply spectacular and I was privileged to allow my ears to experience an acapella of expertise. Many of the songs I had never heard before and I'm glad that they were sung as they were beautiful.

 

My memory of the afternoon was capped by a lovely nap, however before se'udat shlishit (the third meal of shabbas) we went to a lovely family who live just outside the yeshiva. They live in a small caravan and we were all invited inside to play games with them. It brought out my inner puerile innocence and as we were sitting there playing games, I realised I hardly ever get the downtime to sit and play simple board games. We spent se'udat shlishit in the yeshiva cheder ochel (dining room) with all of the other yeshiva bochurs. I can't say the food was amazing, but the company certainly was.

 

We then went back to our friends, the Seev family, who live in the caravan for havdalah. This time we were accompanied by about 10-15 yeshiva bochurs, all stuffed into the small caravan. I will never forget the atmosphere in that room. Every person prayed with such overt passion and sent Shabbat out so enthusiastically. It was sad to see shabbas go out, however I felt rejuvenated and spiritually lifted after this experience. I left the yeshiva with the fulfilling feeling of knowing that my physical and spiritual ‘being’ had been pleased over the weekend.

 

Day 21-24 by Daniel Rutner: Gadna

Day 19 by Jono Herman: A Free Weekend Part 1