The morning dawned crisp and cloudy and overflowing with mixed emotions.
Like marathoners nearing the finish line, participants at the Agudah’s 20th annual Yarchei Kallah were filled with anticipation as they readied themselves to soak up every word of every shiur. And yet, amid the exhilaration and excitement was a silent prayer that, somehow, Yehoshuah would miraculously appear to once again utter the phrase “shemesh b’Givon dom, v’yareyach b’emek Ayalon,” holding back the hands of time and extending the Yarchei Kallah, for even just a few more hours.
Armed with the determination to make the most out of their final day and buoyed by the sheer joy of their newly acquired limudim, participants started Thursday morning with a sense of confidence, ready to be inspired. Preparing themselves for the challenges that faced them over the next few hours, lomdim took advantage of opportunities to learn b’chavrusah and to attend hachanah and chazarah shiurim as well as the Yiddish Daf Yomi given by HaRav Naftoli Gefen, Maggid Shiur, Kaminetzer Yeshiva, Yerushalayim and the English Daf Yomi said by Rabbi Elozor Kanner, Daf Yomi Maggid Shiur, White Shul, Far Rockaway.
The first shiur iyun of the day was given by HaRav Pinchos Friedman, Rosh Hakollelim, Belz, who took the participants on a masterful tour of sugyos relevant to the topic of tefillah. Rabbi Friedman, author of the sefer Shiveli Pinchas and the highly popular divrei Torah bearing the same name, exhorted participants to pay special attention to every word of their davening in order to prevent errors that occur all too frequently through lack of attention.
HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rosh Kollel, Bais Dovid, Cholon rov, Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak, dazzled the participants with a real-time discussion of shaylos that have been brought to him on a wide variety of topics. Citing multiple poskim in his analysis, Rabbi Zilberstein explained how each source could potentially influence the outcome. A concurrent shiur for the English track was given by HaRav Yitzchak Blau, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Tzvi, whose interesting discourse into halacha l’maysa of tefilah offered guidance on multiple davening-related matters.
The final shiur of the Yarchei Kallah was a halacha shiur given by HaRav Chaim Mordechai Ausband, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Ateres Shlomo, who discussed the concept of tashlumim in the fourth brachah of Shmoneh Esrai, Atah chonen l’adam daas. Rabbi Ausband reviewed the brachah’s application as a form of Havdalah, walking listeners through possible scenarios and what corrective actions should be taken when the special Motzoei Shabbos recitation of Atah chonantanu is accidentally omitted.
The women's contingent enjoyed a full day of hands-on learning that included a trip to Masada and a visit to the remains of the Bayis Sheini era village of Ein Gedi, returning to the Ramada in time to join the Tzeischem L’sholom banquet, the culmination of a week that will be forever remembered. As participants prepared to go their separate ways, phone numbers were exchanged and plans were put in place for future learning, cementing the special bonds forged during the Yarchei Kallah.
“There were many tearful goodbyes but even more promises to continue the incredible hasmadah that we have seen over this week,” said Rabbi Shlomo Gottesman, co-chair of the Agudah’s Commission of Torah Projects. “It has been a transformative and uplifting week for each of our participants. We have no doubt that the inspiration of the Yarchei Kallah will touch their hearts every time they open up a siddur.”