Day 39 by Dean Nathanson: Optional Yeshiva


December 27, 2013

They say "Knowledge is power". Through my yeshiva experience, I was privileged to witness some 'powerful' people, who really embody this message. The experience was extremely eye opening, in the sense that Judaism is entrenched with deep meaning, and also the fact that meaning can be found through every lens you look through. We learned one can find meaning in everything and anything, as our sages say, "Every letter in the Torah is there for a reason." After an inspirational first day all the boys were excited to get started.

The yeshiva bochurs (our group of boys) commenced the day with a shiur from Rav Ari, a Moriah graduate. This shiur was a more philosophical based one, and really caught us off guard. Rav Ari asked a simple, but intricate question, "Why do we pray?" This seems obvious, but is it actually? The quintessential answer was, "I may pray for a good Math mark in order for Hashem to give me one." Rav Ari countered this by emphasizing the key issue, do we actually believe that we will change Gods mind? He knows what's going to happen, so can we actually pressure him into a decision? This was great food for thought, foreshadowing the ensuing amazing day that was to come.

We then made our way to the HaKotel yeshiva, where we were met by 2 counterpoint mads. They simulated a beit midrash, and we paired up to analyze some text from Rashi. This really enabled the boys to stimulate their brains and participate in some experiential learning.

After a much needed coffee break, we entered a dingy old yeshiva room, where we were met by Rav Yair. However there was an intriguing twist, this wasn't your typical long bearded, old Rabbi. From the get go he started screaming. But it wasn't just loud, he was screaming everything with all of his soul. This man exuded true passion for Judaism. The combination of sweat and tears were literally flowing out of this man, as he attempted to draw out our inner passion for Judaism. After an amazing and crazy shiur, you'd expect the class to end and we all walk out, right? Wrong. The class came to an end when Rav Yair screamed, "Fire" sparking our ensuing response of "Desire" which was followed by him saying, "Get Out!" 

Lunch was next on the schedule as we roamed around the Jewish quarter. There's nothing better than a good old shwarma to rejuvenate a stretched brain.

After lunch we were privileged to sit in on an actual yeshiva shiur, at the Aish Hatorah yeshiva. The class was addressed by Rav Gavriel, a great speaker who could easily pass as a stand up comedian. He infused an appropriate combination of life-changing ideas, accompanied by strategies one can employ to bring the idea into action and actualise it, while also keeping the crowd entertained with intellectually stimulating comedic remarks.

The day had unfortunately come to an end at that point, along with the yeshiva experience. I feel I can speak on behalf of all the boys by saying that the experience brought us all closer to Judaism and to each other. It also opened our eyes to the sensationally vast amount of knowledge there is to acquire. However as we reach the end of the road, it is important to remember, it is not the end, nor is it the beginning of the end, it is, in fact, the end of just the beginning.

Day 40 By Tali Jacobson

Day 38 by Ofir Zeevi and Zoe Resnick: Optional Hike