Tu B’Shvat Heralds New Beginnings in Limud HaTorah as Participants Pack the Beis Medrash at the Agudah Yarchei Kallah
Tu B’Shvat, the new year for the trees, marked an auspicious beginning for the intense limudim of Agudath Israel of America’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah. The day started early, particularly for those who took advantage of the opportunity to leave the hotel 75 minutes prior to neitz hachama to daven at the Kosel. For those who remained behind, there was Shacharis at the hotel, after which participants lined up at the Yarchei Kallah registration tables to receive the more than 500 page long book of marei mekomos that would help them further plumb the depths of the sugya d’kallah.
Despite having added extra tables to accommodate the largest ever Yarchei Kallah crowd, the hotel beis medrash was jam packed as eager attendees took their seats and began readying themselves for the morning’s main presentation. Many took advantage of an hour long preparatory shiur given by Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, editor of Yeshurun and co-chair of the Yarchei Kallah, shedding light on the many nuances of the topic to be addressed immediately thereafter by Rabbi Asher Weiss, Av Beis Din, Darchei Hora’a, Rosh HaYeshiva Yeshiva Darchei Torah. Rabbi Weiss began the main shiur of the morning by expressing his gratitude at having been honored to speak at every Yarchei Kallah to date and his personal pride in seeing its exponential growth throughout the years before expounding brilliantly on the many intricate halachos that apply to wine, which plays a pivotal role in Judaism.
Early Mincha was followed by a Daf Yomi shiur given by Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, executive vice president emeritus of the Agudah, and by 3 PM the beis medrash was filled to capacity once again as attendees began their hachana for the afternoon shiur, preceded by a hakdama given by Rabbi Gottesman. After a second Mincha minyan, HaRav Pinchas Friedman, Rosh Hakollelim, Belz, addressed the fascinating halachic conundrums of chatzi shiur, consuming only half the required amount of a dvar mitzvah as well as its implications for issur. Rabbi Friedman also elaborated on the upcoming parsha, noting that even in times of duress, strict adherence to the Torah is key to our survival as a nation. Two shiurei iyun were offered in the late afternoon, with HaRav Boruch Modechai Ezrachi, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel, discussing the finer points of machalos asuros and tikroves l’avoda zara with dramatic flair, while HaRav Meir Tzvi Spitzer, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshivas Mir, addressed the various prohibitions related to wine, whose extraordinary ramifications necessitate the need for strictly kosher wine. Offering divrei chizuk, HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rosh HaYeshiva, Slabodka, Bnei Brak, spoke eloquently on the importance of continuously striving upward and never being content with our spiritual status quo.
In another Yarchei Kallah first, the expanded evening program was open to the public in an initiative sponsored and inspired by Aaron Herzog, with all participants listening with rapt attention as HaRav Aaron Goldmunzer, Skvere Dayan, Yerushalayim, and Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbinic Administrator, OU Kosher, delivered a fascinating presentation on contemporary issues related to bishul akum at home, when traveling and in the manufacturing process.
A special women’s track was dedicated in memory of Mrs. Aliza Grund, president of N’shei Agudath Israel of America, who founded and organized the Yarchei Kallah’s women’s program until her untimely passing last May. Over 200 women, both from the Yarchei Kallah and the outside, took advantage of a golden opportunity to hear from the renowned Rebbetzin Rena Tarshish, menaheles of Masores Rochel. After being warmly introduced by Mrs. Debby Jacobs, Rebbetzin Tarshish spoke eloquently about the interplay of the midos of ahava and yira, in addition to paying heartfelt tribute to Mrs. Grund who she described as a paragon of chesed who truly epitomized those midos. An afternoon excursion had the group traveling to Beis Lechem where they poured out their hearts in tefilla at Kever Rochel before returning to Yerushalayim.
Rabbi Avrohom Nisan Perl, national director of the Agudah’s Commission on Torah Projects, said that he was inspired by the dedication that was on display throughout the day on Monday.
“It was amazing to see the incredible and tenacious commitment for limud HaTorah shown by the Yarchei Kallah participants, who were in the beis medrash from 6:30 AM until late at night,” said Rabbi Perl. “Despite the long day and the jetlag that so many of them are suffering, I watched how they grabbed a quick bite for lunch and dinner before literally running back to the beis medrash. It was truly a sight to see and a testament to their genuine love of learning and their passion for personal growth.”
Kol Torah Echoes in the Beis Medrash as the Agudah Yarchei Kallah Marches Onward
Much like the true beauty of a diamond is revealed after being polished by expert hands, participants at Agudath Israel of America’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah are finding themselves mesmerized by the brilliance of the sugya d’kallah unfolding before their very eyes under the guidance of the luminaries of the Torah world. Drawn deeper and deeper into the depths of the sugya, concepts and issues that were discussed during the first two days of the program have emerged in a clear focus and with every passing hour, the enthusiasm in the Yarchei Kallah beis medrash continues to hit record highs.
As always, the morning began with Daf Yomi, given in Yiddish by HaRav Chaim Yehuda Ullman, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshivas Bircas Aryeh Pressburg, Yerushalayim, and in English by Rabbi Gedalia Weinberger, Chairman, Daf Yomi Commission, Agudath Israel, Daf Yomi Magid Shiur, Agudath Israel Zichron Chaim Tzvi of Madison. Shachris segued seamlessly into preparations for the morning’s shiurei iyun, with Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, editor of Yeshurun and co-chair of the Yarchei Kallah, delivering a formal hachanah to ready participants for the upcoming Torah feast about to unfold. In a fascinating presentation, HaRav Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Chevron, spoke at length in Yiddish on the dichotomy between yayin nesech and yayin stam, while HaRav Yochanan Rudensky, Rosh HaYeshiva Mercaz HaTorah, enthralled English listeners with an in depth look at the halachic ramifications of baking non-pareve bread, a critical topic in the world of bishul yisroel and pas yisroel.
Cementing in their minds their accumulated learning with a chazara shiur given by Rabbi Shlomo Cynamon, Rav, Khal Bnai Torah, Flatbush, after Minchah, participants went meichayil el chayil with another hachanah session. A Yarchei Kallah surprise moment had Rabbi Weinberger recognizing Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, the Agudah’s executive vice president for finance and administration, in advance of his upcoming retirement. Rabbi Weinberger praised Rabbi Gertzulin for his dedication and his flawless management of the Yarchei Kallah’s technical details for years, creating the beautiful backdrop that allows the ruchnius of the program to flow freely. Visibly moved, Rabbi Gertzulin said that he has been privileged to be part of the Yarchei Kallah staff and that he looked forward to returning next year as a participant. Next on the program was a detailed shiur on bishul akum by HaRav Nissan Kaplan, Rosh HaYeshiva, Das Aaron, who appealed to the several hundred Americans at the Yarchei Kallah to strengthen their resolve, noting that leniency in the area of bishul akum can yield catastrophic spiritual results.
Flexing their spiritual muscles in a different direction, participants enjoyed a visit to Kever Rochel, taking advantage of an opportunity to daven at a makom kadosh, before returning to the beis medrash for a special audio visual presentation on kosher wine and grape juice. The Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, a foremost expert on wine production and Rav Khal Nachlas Yehoshua of Monastristch, walked participants through the winemaking process, highlighting the various points during production when halachic ramifications can arise.
While the men spent their third consecutive day in the beis medrash immersed in their learning, the women’s track saw history come alive again, this time with a visit to Beit She’an, known as the Pompeii of Israel, reliving the moments of the second Bais Hamikdash as well as the periods when the Mishnah and Gemara were written. Heading north, the women took in the beauty of the Kineret before heading to Teveria to daven at the kevarim of the Rambam, the Shlah HaKadosh, Rabbi Akiva, the Ramchal, and Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai and his talmidim.
Three days into the program, the Yarchei Kallah participants have found themselves firmly entrenched in the world of learning, the distractions of everyday life fading into the recesses of their consciousness, while the timeless words of the sugya d’kallah occupy their every waking moment. The opportunity to be completely immersed in learning is an opportunity to be cherished, noted returning Yarchei Kallah participant, Zev Friedman of Monsey:
“The Agudah continues to find new and exciting and innovative ways every year to make the program better and better, and their efforts are visible by the fact that more and more people come and by the growth of the program,” said Mr. Friedman. “This program shows what the Agudah represents: Torah and Daas Torah, period, and both are communicated and disseminated at this program every single year.”
Chazak, Chazak, V’Nischazek: Agudah’s 19th Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah Culminates on a High Note
The symphony of Torah that has uplifted and inspired more than 500 participants at Agudath Israel of America’s annual Yarchei Kallah concluded in an exhilarating crescendo of learning last Thursday, leaving participants eagerly looking ahead to taking their places next winter in the Yarchei Kallah beis medrash.
As with every previous day, the morning began with Shachris at the Kosel or the Yarchei Kallah hotel and Daf Yomi shiurim, given on Thursday in Yiddish by HaRav Naftoli Gefen, Magid Shiur, Kaminetzer Yeshiva, Yerushalayim, and in English by HaRav Amitay Bendavid, mechaber of Sefer Sichas Chulin. Also fixed in the Yarchei Kallah program were morning and afternoon hachanah sessions for the shiurei iyun, a preparatory shiur given by Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, editor of Yeshurun and co-chair of the Yarchei Kallah, and a chazarah shiur offered by Rabbi Shlomo Cynamon, Rav, Khal Bnai Torah, Flatbush.
HaRav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rosh Yeshiva, Ponovez, enthralled listeners at the morning’s Yiddish shiur with a discourse on the parameters of pas akum and bishul akum. Addressing the English shiur, HaRav Aryeh Dunner, Rav, Khal Divrei Shiur, Bnei Brak, employed his trademark wit to deliver a mesmerizing presentation on the concept of oleh al shulchan melachim and how evolving food trends can impact a particular food’s status regarding bishul akum. Rav Dunner also brought up the topic of lifnei iver and understanding the implications of doing something that might create halachic problems related to pas akum or bishul akum for others. An afternoon shiur had HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rosh Kollel, Bais Dovid, Cholon, Rav, Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak, sharing numerous fascinating stories, demonstrating how each one could be analyzed through a halachic lens despite their complexity, often resulting in unexpected conclusions. HaRav Pinchos Breuer, Rosh HaYeshiva, Knesses Eliyahu, a highly respected Agudah rav who is held in equal regard in Eretz Yisroel and the US, inspired participants in an English shiur that further clarified the halachos of yayin nesech and delved into the halachic ramifications that can occur when foods are changed through the cooking process. The final shiur of the Yarchei Kallah featured HaRav Shraga Kallus, Rav Khal Imrei Pi, Ramat Shlomo and Rosh Kollel, Machon L’Horaah L’Rabbonim, taking listeners on a walk through wine country, explaining the importance of truly understanding the halachas of yayin nesech instead of unnecessarily refraining from permitted items. Rav Kallus applauded participants for their diligent efforts throughout the entire week, noting that they had experienced incredible siyata dishmaya, mastering topics that normally take weeks and even months to learn in just four days. The day also included a post-Mincha siyum by Rabbi Mordechai Shapiro for the Monday evening teleconference chaburah that has had approximately 50 people toiling in the vineyards of Torah for many months throughout the year in preparation for the Yarchei Kallah.
It was a thought provoking day for the women’s group, who began their program with a shiur by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi on overcoming adversity, encouraging listeners to tap into their inner strength to weather personal challenges with equilibrium, balance, and simchah. The program also included a presentation honoring Mrs. Debby Jacobs for her efforts towards having the Yarchei Kallah flow seamlessly. Wrapping up the women’s itinerary was an extraordinary visit to the Israel Children’s Museum in Holon, where participants experienced one of three highly popular exhibits offering profound insight into the lives of the blind, the deaf, and the elderly.
Maariv, the last tefillah of the Yarchei Kallah, was followed by a joyous tzeischem l’shalom buffet. Exuberant participants were buoyed by a sense of accomplishment after their intense week of study and, as they parted amid warm wishes and promises to continue their learning, left eager to return home and share their enthusiasm for the Yarchei Kallah experience.
Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, chairman of the Yarchei Kallah and the Agudah’s Daf Yomi Commission, expressed his hakaras hatov to the many people involved in the extensive program including Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, Yarchei Kallah co-chairman, Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, executive vice president for finance and administration for the Agudah, Rabbi Labish Becker, executive director of the Agudah, Rabbi Avraham Nisan Perl, chairman of the Agudah’s Commission on Torah Projects, Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha Bamberger, national director of the Agudah’s Daf Yomi Commission, and Mrs. Debby Jacobs, executive assistant at the Agudah. Rabbi Weinberger said that he has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback that he has received from the Yarchei Kallah’s participants.
“As in every year past, everybody is coming over, thanking the Yarchei Kallah organizers, and saying this year has been better than ever before, and although we hear that every year, Baruch Hashem, it is true,” said Rabbi Weinberger. “While we can’t imagine right now how we will top this year’s program, we are confident that next year will surpass even this and everybody is invited to come and join us in 2020 for the 20th Annual Agudah Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah.”
An Oasis of Torah: Agudah’s Yarchei Kallah Leaves Participants Forever Transformed
From its opening moments at the Yikvei Zion winery in Maale Adumim to the final goodbyes at the tzeischem l’shalom banquet, the 19th annual Agudath Israel of America’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah was a truly spectacular experience, leaving an indelible impression on participants who returned home enthralled, inspired and even more firmly entrenched in their learning.
A project of the Agudah’s Torah Projects Commission, the Yarchei Kallah has grown exponentially with every passing year since it first began in 2001 under the guidance of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l. Agudah executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, recalled the first Yarchei Kallah, held in a small meeting room in the hotel, with participants spending three glorious days devoted exclusively to their learning.
“It was a tremendous thing, done to show solidarity for the Jews of Israel who were experiencing the horrors of the intifada and this was our way of showing chizuk for them,” said Rabbi Zwiebel.
Having been unable to attend the Yarchei Kallah for the past several years, Rabbi Zwiebel was stunned when he walked into the beis medrash for this year’s program, seeing what had previously been a large room expanded to nearly double its size to accommodate over 500 participants, all of whom had carved out time from their schedules to spend five full days devoted exclusively to learning Torah.
“The chizuk of being among such a chashuva group of bnei Torah, who sacrifice from their time and their businesses and their families to spend time going back to yeshiva and shteiging and learning, in lomdus, in halacha l’maysa, in yiras shomayim, in chavrusashaft and in every respect possible, was one of the most remarkable personal experiences I have had in quite some time,” observed Rabbi Zwiebel.
This year’s sugya d’kallah was devoted to portions of Maseches Avoda Zara dealing with machalos asuros and inyanei kashrus, delving deeply into the intricacies and nuances of yayin nesech, staym yaynam, pas akum, bishul akum, cholov yisroel and gevinas akum. Participants spent months preparing for the Yarchei Kallah, taking part in both live and teleconferenced shiurim and taking advantage of 469 pages of meforshim and marei mekomos to further shed light on the sugya d’kallah.
In a historic first, this year’s Yarchei Kallah covered a full five days, beginning on a high note with the winery tour. Participants had the opportunity to observe the wine making process, the first step in better understanding the various halachos that apply to this pivotal component of many key moments in our lives. Another annual Yarchei Kallah annual highlight was a visit to Bnai Brak’s Lederman Shul in the presence of Maran HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, and divrei machshava and chizuk proffered by HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rosh Kollel, Bais Dovid, Cholon Rav, Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak.
Every day at the Yarchei Kallah was filled from morning till night, with participants indulging in a rigorous schedule that included Daf Yomi, hachana, learning b’chavrusa, chazara of the previous day’s limudim and shiurei iyun in both Yiddish and English by the most prominent Roshei Yeshiva and Torah luminaries from Eretz Yisroel including Rav Asher Weiss, Av Beis Din, Darchei Hora’ah, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Darchei Torah, Harav Boruch Mordechai Ezrachi, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Yisroel, Yerushalayim, HaRav Meir Tzvi Spitzer, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshivas Mir, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Rosh Yeshiva, Ponovez, HaRav Moshe Aron Friedman, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshivas Mir, Yerushalayim, HaRav Dovid Cohen, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Chevron, HaRav Yochanan Rudensky, Rosh HaYeshiva, Mercaz HaTorah, HaRav Nissan Kaplan, Rosh HaYeshiva, Das Aaron, HaRav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rosh Yeshiva, Ponovez, HaRav Aryeh Dunner, Rav, Khal Divrei Shiur, Bnei Brak, HaRav Pinchos Breuer, Rosh HaYeshiva, Knesses Eliyahu, HaRav Shraga Kallus, Rav, Khal Imrei Pi and Ramat Shlomo, Rosh Kollel, Machon L’Horaah L’Rabbonim. Participants also had the opportunity to hear from HaRav Pinchos Friedman, Rosh Hakollelim, Belz, HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rosh HaYeshiva, Slabodka, Bnei Brak, HaRav Aaron Goldmunzer, Skvere Dayan, Yerushalayim, Rav Menachem Genack, OU Kosher, HaRav Elimelech Belsky, HaRav Amitai Ben David, Mechaber, Sefer Sichas Chulin, Rav Nachum Rabinowitz, Rabbinic Coordinator – Wine, OU Kosher, Rav Khal Nachlas Yehoshua of Monastristch and Rav Zilberstein in a format that included conventional presentations as well as panel discussions and audio visual presentations.
Avira d’Eretz Yisroel played a significant role in the Yarchei Kallah’s success, with participants managing to absorb vast amounts of material in a relatively short amount of time, a feat that could only be accomplished through siyata d’shmaya and kedushas Eretz Yisroel. Daily trips to the Kosel to daven Shacharis at Netz Hachama, as well as a visit to Kever Rochel also provided golden opportunities for heartfelt tefilla, integral components of the Yarchei Kallah experience. An incredible sense of achdus permeated the entire five day program, with many return participants renewing old friendships, while multi-generational groups including fathers and sons, and in some cases, fathers, sons and grandfathers, taking their seats in the Yarchei Kallah beis medrash.
A robust and very well attended parallel program had women enjoying uplifting shiurim given by Rebbetzin Rina Tarshish, Menaheles of Masores Rochel, and Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi. Dedicated in memory of Mrs. Aliza Grund a”h, president of N’shei Agudath Israel and founder of the women’s Yarchei Kallah program, the women’s itinerary was filled with opportunities to daven at kivrei tzadikim, emotional visits to mekomos hakedoshim including Kever Rochel, Beit She’an and Shiloh, and trips to the Kineret and the powerful blind, deaf and aging exhibits at the Israel Children’s Museum in Cholon.
The Yarchei Kallah’s success has continued to contribute to its annual growth, as participants hailing from all over the world return home feeling exhilarated, fulfilled and invigorated by the true joy that comes from being completely immersed in Torah learning. That sense of accomplishment and concrete demonstration of chashivus HaTorah is something that filters down to everyone around them, inspiring more and more people to sign up for the Yarchei Kallah every year, explained Rabbi Labish Becker, one of the Yarchei Kallah organizers and executive director of the Agudah.
“While the Yarchei Kallah itself is technically only five days long, it is a phenomenon that goes on throughout the year,” said Rabbi Becker. “In addition to spending months preparing themselves for the Yarchei Kallah, those who attend the program spend equal amounts of time chazering their learning, really cementing the material in their heads so that it becomes part of them. We have seen time and time again how people are forever changed by their attendance, and as we begin work on the 20th Annual Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah, we encourage everyone to join us in this truly transformative experience.”
19 Years Young, Agudath Israel of America’s Expanded Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah Opens with Inspiring Sunday Program
It was an extraordinary start for Agudath Israel of America’s 19th Annual Yarchei Kallah, with hundreds of people from all over the world participating in back to back events on Sunday, a prelude to the four day intense learning program that has significantly grown with every passing year.
The Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah, the Agudah’s Torah Projects Commission’s most eagerly anticipated annual event, began in 2001 under the guidance of Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l, who wanted to provide chizuk to those living in Eretz Yisroel during the intifada. The inaugural Yarchei Kallah lasted three days and drew upwards of 40 people, but as word spread of the incredible opportunity to delve deeply into the waters of Torah in Eretz Yisroel’s unique environment, it has evolved dramatically, this year expanding into a five day event drawing well over 500 people of all ages and stages of life from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Israel.
This year’s sugya d’kallah focuses on kashrus and forbidden foods, drawing on selected sections from Maseches Avodah Zarah which discuss yayin nesech and stam, pas akum, bishul akum, cholov yisroel and gevinas akum. Participants began preparing themselves for the Yarchei Kallah weeks in advance, attending dozens of preparatory shiurim in the tri-state area, joining weekly teleconferences, and downloading audio recordings and a full gallery of marei mekomos from the Yarchei Kallah website.
For the first time ever, the Yarchei Kallah included a full Sunday itinerary that began with a tour of the Yikvei Zion winery in Mishor Adumim. Participants enjoyed a firsthand look at the winemaking process, with special emphasis placed on the halachos of producing kosher wine, one of the topics included in the sugya d’kallah. After davening Mincha and Maariv, the program continued with a massive reception at the Bais Yaakov Seminary’s Ohr Bracha Hall on Rechov Chazon Ish, hosted by the City of Bnei Brak. A welcome respite for those who had traveled from far to attend the Yarchei Kallah, the dinner was further enhanced by words of welcome from Rabbi Yitzchak Pindrus, former deputy mayor of Yerushalayim and former mayor of Beitar, who introduced Rabbi Avraham Rubinstein, mayor of Bnei Brak. Rabbi Rubinstein spoke eloquently about the city’s phenomenal growth, a point further illustrated by a video highlighting the growth of Bnei Brak as an illustrious makom Torah and as a modern and updated center of technology.
The next stop on the program was the renowned Lederman Shul where participants had the opportunity to be in the presence of HaRav Chaim Kanievksy. Many people left their seats to crowd around Rabbi Kanievsky, taking advantage of a rare opportunity to be near the Gadol Hador and to receive his brachos. The group also had the privilege of hearing divrei bracha from HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rosh Kollel, Bais Dovid, Cholon and Rav, Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak, and Rabbi Eliyahu Mann, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Bais Hillel, who bentshed everyone in attendance with hatzlacha, both in their ruchnius and their gashmius, for coming to Eretz Yisroel to immerse themselves in Limud Torah. Setting another precedent for the Yarchei Kallah, the entire gathering at the Lederman Shul was livestreamed, giving over 1,000 viewers around the world a chance to participate from afar in this truly uplifting gathering.
After a full day of events, the group was bussed to the their hotel in Yerushalayim, giving everyone an opportunity to recharge their internal batteries before the formal program kicks off on Monday morning. Rabbi Labish Becker, the Agudah’s executive director, described the day as an inspiring way to set the tone for the powerful Limud HaTorah about to unfold, noting that among the participants was a Rov whose baalei batim had gifted him with a trip to the Yarchei Kallah as a thank you for having guided them through all of Shas, and a man whose family sent him to the Yarchei Kallah in honor of his birthday.
“The Yarchei Kallah has become an institution and a life experience,” said Rabbi Becker. “We see people starting to prepare for it three months in advance and spending three months afterwards doing chazarah of what they have learned. This year’s Yarchei Kallah is already turning out to be massive even before it has officially begun and we are looking forward to seeing this truly monumental event take its place in the annals of Agudah history.”
Momentum Grows at Agudah Yarchei Kallah as Sea of Learning Continues Unabated
The enthusiasm was palpable as the second day of Yarchei Kallah learning opened on Tuesday, delving even more deeply into the subtleties of permitted and forbidden foods, deeply nuanced parameters enacted by Chazal to preserve the integrity of the Jewish nation.
After early morning Daf Yomi shiurim, said respectively in Yiddish and in English by HaRav Naftali Prizant, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshiva Gedola Chechnov, Maggid Shiur Daf Yomi, Tiferes Menachem, Boyan, and in English by Rabbi Moshe Elefant, noted Daf Yomi maggid shiur, participants davened Shachris and headed to the Beis Medrash to begin preparing for another eye opening day of learning. The well-attended daily hachanah shiur given by Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, editor of Yeshurun and co-chair of the Yarchei Kallah, was followed by the morning shiur iyun. With his trademark warmth and smile, HaRav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Rosh Yeshiva, Ponovez, one of the most beloved and senior Roshei Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, took Yiddish speaking participants on a detailed journey through the concepts of yayin nesech and its relationship to avodah zarah, drawing on various sources including the Gemara, the Rambam, the Ramban, and the Shulchan Aruch. Extra chairs were brought in to accommodate the overflow crowd as HaRav Moshe Aron Friedman, Rosh Mesivta, Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim, delivered the English shiur, elucidating numerous issues related to bishul akum.
The afternoon included Minchah, a chazarah shiur given by Rabbi Shlomo Cynamon, Rav, Khal Bnai Torah, Flatbush, and another hachanah session, before a powerful two part shiur led by HaRav Asher Weiss, Av Beis Din, Darchei Hora’ah, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Darchei Torah. Organizers had to reconfigure the room to accommodate an attendance of more than 500 people, the largest number ever to attend a Yarchei Kallah shiur, as Rabbi Weiss gave the second of a two-part presentation on the intricacies of bishul akum and pas akum, followed by a dynamic panel discussion on contemporary halachic issues in kashrus featuring HaRav Aaron Goldmunzer, Skvere Dayan, Yerushalayim, and Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbinic Administrator, OU Kosher, that lasted for two and a half hours and touched on a wide array of topics including coffee, sushi, cultured meats grown from cells, induction ovens, potato chips and much more.
A heartfelt Maariv gave way to an emotional siyum on Maseches Avodah Zarah in memory of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Yisroel Belsky zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, Rav of Camp Agudah for decades and a leader in the halachic aspects of kashrus, whose yahrtzeit will take place on Friday. The siyum was made by Rabbi Gedalia Weinberger, chairman of the Yarchei Kallah and a magid shiur through several Daf Yomi cycles, and was followed by a fascinating remembrance of HaRav Belsky, given by Rabbi Elefant, giving over many of Rabbi Belsky’s piskei halachah. HaRav Elimelech Belsky shared his recollections of his father’s character, including his boundless simcha in Torah and his passion for kindling true joy in others. HaRav Amitay Ben David, mechaber of Sefer Sichas Chulin, presented the Daf Yomi Commission’s Global Chullin Initiative, which took place in 22 cities and was livestreamed to many thousands, showing each part of the animal and bringing enormous clarity to these complex halachos.
The Yarchei Kallah’s women’s track had an equally busy day, leaving the hotel at 9 AM for a trip to Shiloh to spend time at various Biblically significant locations, including the site where the Mishkan stood for 369 years, and Sela Yaakov, the rock that was formed from 12 smaller stones as Yaakov Avinu dreamed of angels ascending and descending a celestial ladder. The group also toured the Eretz Binyamin Center and the Psagot Winery before stopping on the way back to the hotel to daven at the kever of Shmuel HaNavi.
As the Yarchei Kallah passed its midway point, Rabbi Eliyahu Simcha Bamberger, national director of the Agudah’s Daf Yomi Commission and one of the Yarchei Kallah’s organizers, commended participants for the intensity that has carried them through the long hours in the beis medrash.
“It is clear to see that everyone is deeply immersed in the sugya d’kallah, internalizing concepts that are simultaneously lofty and applicable to their daily lives,” said Rabbi Bamberger. “From the earliest moments of the morning, through the culmination of the night program, which has grown by leaps and bounds, there is true passion here, and I have no doubt that that fervor will only increase as the Yarchei Kallah continues.”