[PHOTOS BY JDN IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]
With great joy for the Honor of the Torah, the Talmidei Chachomim of ‘Kollel Shas Yiden’ celebrated their Annual Siyum Hashas in the presence of the Gedolei Torah of our generation.
The Nasi of the Kollel, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Halevi Eisen, the Pozna Rov declared: “The Kollel scholars prove that everyone, with the brocha of Hashem, can do so – one just needs great determination and commitment.” Many Rabbonim, Roshei Yeshivos and Gedolei Torah honored the gathering with their presence, and warmly blessed those who concluded the Shas and their families.
At the time of the year that thousands of members of kollelim and yeshiva bochrim are beginning their winter ‘zman’ with joy and enthusiasm, in the hall of the Viznitz Hotel in Bnei Brak there was a gathering celebrating the conclusion of the learning of Torah. Tens of avreichim, all talmidei chachomim, sat around the central table. Across from them, on the dais, were gedolei Torah, Rabbonim, Dayonim and famous Roshei Yeshivos. All present knew that a similar gathering will take place in another year, when these outstanding scholars will complete the entire Shas for the fifth time.
The master of ceremonies was Harav Gavriel Levi, who inspired those present regarding this exceptional event at which they were celebrating with scholars who have one common aim which they face day and night – to master the entire Shas in depth and by heart.
The first speaker was the Rosh Kollel, Hagaon Harav Moshe Isaac Samet, who spoke on behalf of the avreichim. Rav Samet quoted the Gaon of Vilna that those who wish to learn the entire Shas have a great yetzer hara with the pressures of earning a living, and Hashem orders for them all their needs so that they should know Shas. The Rosh Kollel expanded his words to praise those who supported the kollel and expressed the appreciation of the avreichim of Kollel Shas Yiden. He also addressed his remarks to the Nasi and Founder of the Kollel, Hagaon the Pozna Rov, who consider the idea of the kollel a decade ago. Since then he used great wisdom to develop the approach and in addition he established the highly successful and popular Pozna Kehilla in Flatbush, NY.
Hagaon Harav Yitchak Aker, Rosh Yeshiva Grodno in Bnei Brak, spoke about the great importance of studying the entire Shas in one setting and the great merit of celebrating in the simcha of these talmidei chachomim who are the gaonim of the upcoming generation, who are familiar with the entire Shas, and who have a siyum hashas as one man with one heart every year.
Hagaon Harav Baruch Dov Diskin, Rosh Yeshiva Orchos Hatorah, warmly praised these outstanding scholars, the avreichm of the kollel the name of which is widely praised, and the admiration expressed by the gedolei Torah for its efforts, its founders and scholars. He expressed his deep feelings at beholding all these young scholars who each concluded the Shas every year after toiling over every folio and working through every sugyah.
The gathering listened with rapt attention to the touching words of Hagaon Harav Boruch Dov Povarsky, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevez, who was unstinting in his praise for these ‘golden’ scholars, who tirelessly harness their entire beings for the study of the holy Torah. He warmly extended his blessing to the avreichim and their families. He also lavishly praised the nasi of the Kollel, Hagaon the Pozna Rov, shlit”a, who actualized a vision and continues forward with all its developments.
The inspiring gathering was graced by the following Gaonim and Gedolim: Harav Shmuel Yaakov Bornstein, Rosh Yeshiva Kiryat Melech; Harav Itamar Garboz Rosh Yeshiva Orchos Torah; Harav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rosh Yeshiva, Ponevez; Harav Moshe Hillel Hirsch, Rosh Yeshiva Slabodka; Harav Boruch Weissbeker, Rosh Yeshiva Bais Matisyahu; Harav Chaim Shlomo Lebowitz, Rosh Yeshiva Ponevez; Harav Shevach Zvi Rosenblatt, member of the Bada”tz Sheeris Yisroel and tens of other rabbonim.
There was great excitement when the elder Gaon and Tzadik, Harav Yakov Edelstein rose to conclude the Shas. He, too, added words of praise and brocha to the scholars and their families and the Nasi of the Kollel. He was followed immediately on the dais by Hagaon Harav Eliezer Kahaneman, the Nasi of Yeshivas Ponevez who recited the hadran and the kaddish.
The hundreds of people present jumped to their feet with the entrance of Maran the prince of the Torah, the leading Gaon, Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a, who made the effort to participate in the gathering, much to the excitement of those doing the siyum Hashas and their families. Harav Kanievsky had met the avreichim at the time of the previous siyum a year ago when he questioned them from all over the entire shas. At that time, Reb Chaim asked for a piece of paper and a pen and, in his own handwriting, wrote that he had spoken with the avreichim of Kollel Shas Yiden on a number of sugyos in shas, and that he was happy to see that their knowledge extended across the entire shas.
The Nasi of the Kollel, Hagaon Harav Avrohom Halevi Eisen, shlit”a, the Pozna Rov, pointed out that the tens of avreichim in the Kollel proved that the Torah was not to be found in heaven: “Every person can achieve this. He just needs great determination and commitment. When a person strives to do the maximum, he receives encouragement from on High, help and support and will succeed to know the entire Shas.”