This Will Reverberate Across The Torah World
by Rabbi Eliezer Sandler
On Tuesday, 2nd Cheshvan (October 17), an event took place quietly, simply and without fanfare in Flatbush, but which will reverberate throughout the Torah world. The Shas Yiden Kollel Network of Eretz Yisroel has inspired hundreds to toil at mastering Shas and to complete the study annually. Its website with live recordings of farheren (public oral testing) on all parts of Shas have become a must-view for talmidei chachomim, yungerleit and yeshiva bochrim all over. (www.shasyiden.com)
Kollel #7 Opened in NY
Well, Shas Yiden with 5 kollelim in Israel, just opened its second kollel in the Diaspora in Brooklyn, NY. The other is in Stamford Hill, London, UK. The number of avreichim geonim has now risen to 119! The grueling regimen requires each avreich to complete 9 blatt a day with all the Rashis and Tosafos, plus four chazoros (revisions) of each. A monthly detailed examination – written and oral – on some 225 blatt, makes sure that the information is truly mastered. In addition, three or four times a year, a public farher (test) of all the avreichim at one gathering is conducted by leading geonim and Roshei Yeshiva.
This has followed the pattern established by the late Nasi of Shas Yiden, Sar Hatorah, Hagaon Hagadol, Maran Harav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l. He would enjoy inviting the avreichim for a farher at his home. From all over Shas he would pepper them with questions - some in-depth, some requiring broad knowledge and some trick questions, which were always accompanied by a smile and twinkling eyes.
Modest and Strong
For years now, ever since the prowess of Shas Yiden became known and appreciated, there have been many requests to open a Shas Yiden Kollel in New York. However, the focus was initially to develop a strong base of kollelim in Eretz Yisroel and then to venture out into the Jewish world. Rav Chaim’s brocha was first to aim at establishing 10 Shas Yiden kollelim. All the NY avreichim had qualified for acceptance through written and oral tests on hundreds of folios of Gemora.
Present at the opening were the Founder of Shas Yiden, the Pozna Rov, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Eisen, shlit”a, and Rosh Hakollelim of the Shas Yiden Kollelim Network, Hagaon Harav Moshe Isaac Samet, shlit”a, who arrived days before from Israel. There were also a few of the Shas Yiden supporters and the 14 avreichim metzuyonim. There were two short addresses by Rav Eisen and Rabbi Samet, a short lechaim and Danishes, and then back to learning. Simply, there is no time to waste with such a schedule. Their official day is 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. Most begin their learning fartogs 4:30-8:00 am before davening, and then after returning home in the evening.
This simplicity of the gathering really reflects the concept behind Shas Yiden. There was no flashiness or excesses by those present, because the way of these talmidei chachomim is to delve into the texts with humble focus and without fanfare. They have dedicated themselves to years of Torah learning. There are no summer or winter bein hazmanim (vacations). Time off is only on Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed, and even then, it is only a reduction of half the study load per day.
Rav Eisen spoke about the small and tough beginnings of Shas Yiden; how people did not believe that he would achieve his goals; and that others would not support or entertain the idea that this incredible endeavor would get off the ground. Well, the proof is not only the success of Shas Yiden, but the wide support of Gedolei Torah across Eretz Yisroel and abroad. Rav Eisen thanked all present and welcomed the new avreichim metzuyonim ‘aboard’ and, most importantly, they should be aware that since its inception, Shas Yiden always paid the monthly stipends on time.
Rav Samet, recalled a visit some eight years earlier to New York. People could not even consider a gradual and solid development of Shas Yiden, let alone its stellar growth that has captured the imagination of the Torah world. That was the time when the Sar Hatorah had said that there should be 10 Shas Yiden kollelim.
Changing the Torah Landscape
The opening of this new Kollel here in New York has been a major inspiration to the Shas Yiden kollelim and the supporters. The drive of the Shas Yiden avreichim was so different to anywhere else. They all know the lofty, but achievable, goals and the program and means required to achieve them. They monitor their own study schedules because, only too well, do they appreciate that if they fall behind, through the monthly exams it will soon be clear if they would continue to have a place to continue in the kolel. They all feel this exciting opportunity to be part of changing the Torah landscape in America, and which parallels what is being done at Shas Yiden Eretz Hakodesh.
To watch the dynamic Shas Yiden farheren, or for more information on Shas Yiden, or to donate, Click on www.shasyiden.com or Call 718-702-1528 or Mail: 1274 49th Street #562, Brooklyn, NY 11219. London: UK Registered Charity # 1191225 - 2 Timberwharf Road, London N16 6DB, England or call 0208-066-1566