(PHOTOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)
By Rabbi Eliezer Sandler
For a second time this year, Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky opened his home to the “Shas Yiden Kollel”. For the last few years, Rav Kanievsky has farhered all twenty-one Yungerleit with questions on the entire Shas, satisfied himself as to their incredible erudition, and then celebrated their annual Siyum Hashas with them.
This time was also a great celebration. However, it was not a siyum but rather a beginning – the official opening of ‘Shas Yiden – Bnei Brak’. At the last siyum at Chanukah time, Rav Kanievsky had requested that the Nasi of the Kollel, Hagaon HaRav Avrohom Eisen, Pozna Rov, to consider opening a Bnei Brak branch kollel of the Bet Shemesh-based Shas Yiden. Just over a week ago, on Rosh Chodesh Iyar, led by the Rosh Kollel, HaRav Isaac Samet, a minyan of YUngerleit became part of this incredible Torah project.
As news spread about Shas Yiden opening in Bnei Brak, other outstanding avreichim have approached Rav Eisen, urging him to open branches in other locations of leading Torah communities. Shas Yiden has developed a sophisticated and carefully assessed method and technique to enable talmidei chachomim to complete Shas on an annual basis, and to master it b’al peh (by heart).
A Special Chabura
In only one week the new avreichim have all completed fifty-six daf plus four chazoras on each – a total of 280 daf! Like the rest of the Shas Yiden, they will be required to sit for written detailed exams on 225 daf every month. The rest of the Shas Yiden avreichim just completed their half year exam on 1600 daf!
With the new kollel, the chabura of Shas Yiden has now grown to 31 talmidei chachomim who are enhancing the Torah landscape of Eretz Yisroel and abroad.
Lehagdil Torah U’l’haadirah
The official launch of the new kollel was a singular experience – an intimate gathering of Torah lishmah. The avreichim from Bet Shemesh were present with the new avreichim, and all squeezed into the room. The atmosphere was electric, especially that Rav Kanievsky was present. Beaming, Rav Chaim began the evening throwing out some complex questions from Shas to the avreichim. The ‘thrust and parry’ of the discussion was something to behold.
Earlier in the day, there was an informal farher on Shas and the erudition of the avreichim was simply amazing. Some supporters of Shas Yiden and members of Rav Eisen’s Pozna kehillah in Flatbush flew to Eretz Yisroel to be part of the simcha. All bnei Torah, they were overwhelmed by the mastery of Torah that they witnessed. The Shas Yiden are scholars who know Shas from ‘cover to cover’.
At Rav Chaim they all partook in a Lechayim. Each was introduced to Rav Chaim and were given brochos that they will never forget. They were all enthralled by the experience and joy of this special event.
Among the new avreichim is a grandson of Hagaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, Rosh Yeshiva at Ponevez. All of the avreichim had to pass searching tests on 450 blatt to be accepted into the program.
Rav Chaim gave the following brocho to the supporters of Shas Yiden at the gathering:
“די אלע וואס שטיצען דעם כולל פון ש”ס אידן, וועלן האבן עולם הזה ועוה”ב, קונה זיין תורה,
און א סאך געלט” (-כל אלו שתומכים בכולל הזה של ש”ס איד’ן, יזכו לעולם הזה ולעולם הבא,
יקנו תורה ועושר גדול).
“All who support Shas Yiden will merit olam hazeh and olam habo, and will acquire Torah
and great wealth.”
Unique Learning Regimen
Aside from the daily study load, the sense of commitment of the avreichim is quite unique. If one misses out one day, that means need to do 16 daf the next day plus four chazoras, equals 80 daf! Moreover, it is not just a commitment from them, it is an incredible commitment by their wives and families. At every siyum, a special acknowledgement and presentations are made to the wives in recognition of their mesirus nefesh.
180 Days More Per Year at Shas Yiden!
As distinct from the practice of kollelim, Shas Yiden officially learns almost double the days that is customary. Generally, kollelim have official bein hazmanim during the months of Tishrei and Nisan (60 days), 20 days in Av, Fridays and Shabbos weekly and Yom Tov – a minimum of 160 days per year!
Being an avreich at Shas Yiden means giving one’s all for the learning of Torah. Literally, every minute of every day is devoted to Torah. There are no bein hazmanim, period. It is no wonder that Shas Yiden has the full support of the gedolei Torah, Roshei Yeshivos and Dayonim across Eretz Yisroel and beyond. Each of these remarkable bnei Torah will be counted among the gedolei Torah of tomorrow.
Endorsement of the Gedolei Hador
Rav Eisen also introduced the group in private visits to Harav Gershon Edelstein, Harav Berel Povarsky and Harav Dov Landau. On the day after the farher there was a visit ro Rabbi David Abuhatzira who expressed his delight and support at the expansion of Shas Yiden. He declared, as he has done in the past, that “the world stands on the Torah learned by Shas Yiden.”
The late Hagaon Harav Yaakov Edelstein, zt”l, was an avid supporter of Shas Yiden and has been a great source of encouragement to Rav Eisen for many years. The last letter he wrote before his passing was for the opening of the new Shas Yiden kollel branch in Bnei Brak.
He referred to the avreichim as “Those who learn the whole of Shas with great clarity” and added that those who support Shas Yiden will be blessed many times over. Endorsing his words and co-signing his letter were Harav Chaim Kanievsky, Harav Gershon Edelstein, and Harav Berel Povarsky.
A Yissachar-Zevulun pact at Shas Yiden enables a person to acquire the zechus of the entire Shas in just one year. In Yoreh De’ah #246 It states that it is considered as if he learned it all himself. This opportunity has become a source of comfort for people to obtain such a zechus for their dear ones during the year of mourning – a siyum of the entire Shas can be completed on the yahrzeit!
For further information on Shas Yiden, the Yissachar-Zevulun pacts, sponsorships or to donate: 718-702-1528, [email protected]. 1274 49th Street, #562, Brooklyn, NY 11219. For online donations please use the following link:
Photos by JDN