Options - Yeshiva - Daniel Paikin
Today we began our options program and l chose to go to Yeshiva. After hearing about the recent Na’aleh trip, I was eager to participate and learn about a range of different topics. The day began with a quick ice coffee and rugelach stop, before we began our jam packed day at Yeshivat HaKotel - a Yeshiva in the middle of the Old City. Our Madrich, Adam Cohen, ensured us that we only get out what we put in and expressed how lucky we are that we are given the opportunity to learn with some of the best Rabbis in the world.
Our first speaker of the day was Rav Efroni Schlesinger. He spoke about the 4 categories of Rabbinic Halacha and the exploration of why the Rabbi’s want to get involved with Rabbinical Law. Being told “the Rabbis’ say” would have caused many of us to be distracted and bored in the past, however, we are now able to replace that frustration with an appreciation for their logic and rationale behind what they do and why they do it. This is a great example of something we can get out of Yeshiva.
Our next speaker was someone that we can relate to very much - Gidi Fine, an Moriah College alumni whom is currently on his gap year in Israel. He spoke to us about the importance of Israel and the struggles that we as a nation have had to go through in order to be where we are today. The journey was not easy and the message Gidi taught us, was although we have been through many wars and exiles, we have only grown as a nation and the land of Israel will continue to grow in the future.
After a well deserved lunch break in the Old City we returned for another speaker, Rav Yoni. Rav Yoni spoke about the truth of G-d, faith in G-d and belief. He challenged our thoughts and asked us “how do we know that He is up there?” This is question that many people find difficult to answer. He then ended off his Shiur with the message that there are moments in our lives in which we feel a presence and it is up to us whether we are cynical about it or we choose to embrace it. After a short tour of the Yeshiva we were given the opportunity to participate in a Q & A with Rav Jesse Horn. It is hard to believe that a man can be so wise and knowledgeable. We had challenged him with difficult questions - for example: why don’t we rebuild the Beit Hamikdash now or where does the soul go in the after life? Not only was he able to answer our questions, but he explained every answer in great depth. This was the highlight of the day for many boys as it was the perfect opportunity for us to ask questions that may otherwise not be answered.
The shiurim we had received today allowed us to take a few ideas with that we can not only think about on IST but also in the future. It has been an incredible start to our experience - we have been challenged but also had the opportunity for our eyes to be opened to explore the deeper meaning behind Judaism . I am very excited to see what the next few days bring.