This past Thursday was not an ordinary day in YOSS. Instead of spending the legal holiday as a day off from work, fathers and grandfathers of the fifth grade talmidim of Yeshiva of South Shore spent their morning shepping nachas and celebrating an important Torah milestone together with the next generation. They were all present as the fifth graders celebrated their beginning of a journey through life, with a grand Haschalas Gemara event.
The day began with a Shacharis attended by all talmidim and guests, followed by a lavish breakfast buffet. The rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, welcomed all the guests, and described how a person’s view of the world changes as he learns Gemara. “Suddenly,” he told the assembled, “as you see ordinary objects and events, you will be reminded of gemaros and halachos. The next time you see a lost object, a cow, or a pit, you will be seeing gemaros, and you will remember that you learned halachos about these objects!” He then described how through learning Gemara, one’s view of the world becomes the view of the Torah.
The highlight of the breakfast was the fifth grade choir, led by Rabbi Shlomo Drebin. They executed an amazing performance of Abie Rottenberg’s “Lulai Soruscha” featuring solos and duets, and even one boy, Moshe Ross, who played the flute!
After a brief dvar Torah from talmid Shmuel Roth, the program continued in the beis midrash, where the talmidim learned b’chavrusah together with their parents and grandparents for 20 minutes. This strengthened the bond between generations, and allowed the fathers and grandfathers to experience the haschalas Gemara together with their children.
The associate menahel, Rabbi Avraham Robinson, introduced two more talmidim, Dovid Soniker and Eli Greenbaum, to deliver divrei Torah. He then introduced the guest speaker, Rabbi Eytan Feiner, rav of Cong. Kneseth Israel, The White Shul. Rabbi Feiner captivated the audience with his enthusiastic stories about various gedolim who displayed an amazing ahavas haTorah. He encouraged the boys to strive to reach their level, albeit each in his own way. He dazzled the audience with his explanation of the Gemara in Megillah which tells us that in the future, the leaders of klal Yisrael will teach Torah in the theaters and circuses.
“The Gemara is talking about our times!” exclaimed Rabbi Feiner, “The siyum haShas six years ago, and the future one planned for 14 months from now will be held in MetLife Stadium, where the gentiles go to watch their sports games!” He then asked why it is so important that we teach Torah in these venues. Rabbi Feiner explained, based upon the Ksav Sofer, that the umos ha’olam spend so much time, money, and effort to enjoy themselves at these venues. They paint their faces, scream, and yell with enthusiasm! “This,” explained Rabbi Feiner, “is how Hashem wants us to learn Gemara! We have to learn with a lively enthusiasm, and take great efforts to enjoy what we learn!”
He concluded by wishing a berachah for all talmidim that they each start their new journey in the world of Gemara with a great enthusiasm and enjoyment! The talmidim were truly inspired, as were their fathers and grandfathers.
The three fifth-grade rebbeim, Rabbi Moshe Scharhon, Rabbi Nossie Burger, and Rabbi Avi Adler, all commented how beautiful the event was, and how excited the boys are to begin learning. Rabbi Drebin then raffled off three sets of Shas to three lucky talmidim, one from each class, to add to the excitement of the day.
The icing on the cake after the inspirational program was the gift that each talmid received. Every talmid was presented with a beautiful individualized tabletop shtender as a present from the yeshiva, to remember this joyous day.
Yeshiva of South Shore hopes that the excitement and joy of their talmidim at this great beginning of Torah sheba’al peh, will be the beginning of many more years of achievement and joy in learning.