Regards from the Torah world

Friday, 16 July, 2021 - 5:33 am

I am on my way home from Antwerp, Belgium. My good friend, Rabbi Chaim Druckman from Luzern, is sitting next to me. The trip takes six hours; we will be in Switzerland by evening, G-d willing.

Yesterday, on the way there, it was only the two of us. Now we have our children with us: his son, Levi, and my son, Natan. Both of them have completed their year of study at the Chabad Yeshiva in Antwerp.

So, here I am, sitting in the car next to him, lost in thought. The difference between the life I live and the life our children live in the yeshiva is so great, that sometimes it seems that we live in parallel universes.

A few hours ago, I was still surrounded with these young boys, the “Temimim”, as they are called in Chabad. The discussions were only around Torah issues. For the past few weeks they have been trying to make use of every minute to learn yet another daf of Gemara, and in the past week they stayed up late in order to be ready for the big exam that they had last night – on five whole chapters from Bava Metzia.. Anyone who has ever learned in a yeshiva knows how much one has to invest and how dedicated one must be in order to be prepared for such an exam.

And here’s the gap between us: My friend and I are coming from a world of public activity – we have offices, and meetings and email and WhatsApp. True, we have Torah classes, and we too open Torah books and learn, but there’s no comparison between that and the lives of Temimim, Torah students. The only thing they have in their world is Torah.

The yeshiva’s Rabbis, the heads of the metivta and the mashpi’im speak. Their language is that of Torah and chassidut – the language of a holy yeshiva, the language of Abayei and Rabba, Rashi and Rambam, the Admor Hazaken and the Rebbe. They are looking at their students, whose lives they have lit up, with much joy and pleasure, and the young men’s faces are shining. A halo of Torah and kedusha rests above their heads and lights up the world. What a wonderful sight – heavenly, yet down here on earth.

“Give me Yavne and its sages,” requested Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai a few days before the destruction of the Temple, approximately two thousand years ago. What can I say? Rabbi Yochanan was successful. Yavne and its sages have continued to exist all these years and they are now gushing forth.

Ribbono shel Olam, Master of the World, look down from heaven on us. See their faces, see their studying, see their purity; check out their wishes. They are Yours, and they deserve – and in their merit we all deserve – to see the true and complete Redemption speedily in our days, Amen!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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