(By Chaim Gold)
More than 2,500 bachurim craned their necks to catch a glimpse of the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, shlita, as he arrived the Armanot Chein Hall in Bnei Brak, this past Thursday night, 8 Av/August 8.
Rav Gershon, the elder Rosh Yeshiva of our time, together with HaGaon HaRav Moshe Hillel Hirsch and other Gedolei Roshei Yeshiva came to attend the Dirshu ‘Seder Hachanah’ Event. Seder Hachanah is a unique maamad specifically designed for one demographic, bachurim leaving yeshiva ketana, (high school aged yeshiva) and entering yeshiva gedolah, (beis medrash level). The transition from yeshiva ketana is a transition that requires much guidance.
Rav Gershon, who has been delivering a daily shiur to bachurim in yeshiva gedolah for more than sixty years, started by addressing the middah of curiosity. He explained, “Every bachur has an innate middah of curiosity, which is a good thing. He must, however channel that middah, utilizing it for Torah. Channeling that middah for Torah includes being curious about, ‘What does Rashi mean? What is this or that masechta all about?’ There are many things outside the yeshiva that can also pique one’s curiosity, that every bachur has to take great care to avoid,” the Rosh Yeshiva said.
One of the very popular features this year was a roundtable discussion with the prominent Roshei Yeshiva, HaGaonim HaRav Avrohom Yitzchok Kook, HaRav Bunim Schreiber and HaRav Yitzchok Goldwasser, shlita. They gave tips on very timely and important issues, for example: How does a bachur who is accustomed to learning with a chavrusah for only one or two hours in mesivta, now learn three daily sedorim that are often more than three hours long? What should a bachur who likes bekiyus more than iyun do? How do you choose a fitting chavrusah?
A second roundtable of shailos and teshuvos with HaGaonim, HaRav Shraga Shteinman and HaRav Naftoli Kopschitz, shlita, clearly had the bachurim riveted.
Another highlight of the event was the divrei chizuk by the Nasi of Dirshu, Harav Dovid Hofstedter. “Gaava is a middah to be avoided at all costs, even ostensibly for a good purpose. At times, a bachur, especially a good bachur going to an excellent yeshiva can think, ‘I am choshuv, I ask good questions that at times can stump my Rebbi. I need the best chavrusah…’ There is no place at all for gaavah, even seemingly l’shem shomayim!”
Rav Moshe Hillel Hirsch said, “The first thing a bachur should know is that on Rosh Chodesh Elul, you will be making what might be the most transformative change of your life. One’s entire life is built on the foundation that you make in yeshiva gedolah.”