by Rabbi Avrohom Weinrib
Factory 220, Passaic, New Jersey. The passerby may have heard the music pulsating out of the banquet hall. Curious, he may have peered through the window and seen the carving stations serving every delicacy imaginable, the orchestra, and top of the line singers. Satisfied that he was witnessing either a very elaborate birthday party, fundraising dinner, or something of that sort, the passerby would move onward, the event reduced to an irrelevant memory.
Factory 220, Passaic, New Jersey. The passerby may have heard a strange humming sound pulsating out of the banquet hall. Curious, he may have peered through the window and seen hundreds of men, bent over their Gemaras, learning together with an indescribable intensity and excitement. Satisfied that he was witnessing some sort of Kollel event, or Rabbinical program the passerby would move onward, the event reduced to irrelevant, albeit inspiring, memory.
What was actually taking place on December 25th 2018 at Factory 220, was the first ever Kinyan Hamasechta event. Kinyan Hamasechta is an outgrowth of the now celebrated Vhaarev Na program. For those unfamiliar, here’s a quick review of how Vhaarev Na works. Rather than just going through a masechta, Vhaarev Na’s goal is the masechta going through you. As a result, there is no set pace, it is all about quality over quantity. Bochurim are encouraged to review what they’ve learned to understand the Gemara with absolute clarity. The program’s mantra has become “Chazara, chazara, chazara, and then? . . . . more chazara!” By constantly reviewing the Gemara, one internalizes its words to the point of inseparability. They taste the sweetness which comes with that mastery and they can’t get enough. Founded by Rabbi Dovid Newman, Vhaarev Na has seen indescribable success. Consider the following true story. Two bochurim, both Vhaarev Na members boarded a plane, flying to Eretz Yisroel. Each noticed that the other was carrying a Gemara Masechta Succah. They decided to join as chavrusos and chazer together. The plane took off, together with their fledgling chavrusashaft and . . . landed eleven hours later, just in time for their joint completion of the entire masechta. This is just one of the many stories attesting to the unstoppable power that Vhaarev Na has imbued in so many of today’s Bnei Yeshiva.
Then came the realization. There are Baalei Batim, so many of them, whose enthusiasm towards their learning has diminished. We need another program, tailored to adults in the working force, that will help them as well, to reconnect to Torah’s infinite sweetness.
Kinyan Hamasechta was launched. This program would take the same concepts as Vhaarev Na, but add a few relevant dimensions. Every Kinyan Hamasechta chabura is led by a talented and dedicated Magid Shiur. The chabura learns in the allotted time however much Gemara can be completed and clearly understood by everyone. Following the shiur, the group breaks up into multiple chavrusashafts, reviewing the Gemara together. This structure of limud, aside from its academic constructiveness, also forges an incredibly deep bond within the chabura.
The joint vision of Rabbis Dovid Newman and David Nakash quickly turned from a dream into reality. Joy is infectious, spiritual joy so much more so. Chaburos began to sprout up throughout America and then, throughout the globe. Moving from Monsey to Lakewood, to Brooklyn it has since gained popularity in the Midwest with chaburos in Minneapolis, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Internationally, Kinyan Hamasechta chaburos now exist in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Toronto, London and even Berlin. But it’s not the numbers that count. It’s the vibrance and the enthusiasm that truly demonstrate the intensity of Kinyan Hamasechata’s impact on the lives of its many dedicated members. It is now a revolution; the extent of which came to full expression at the first ever Kinyan Hamasechta event held last week on Dec. 25th 2018.
Factory 220, Passaic, New Jersey. The first ever Kinyan Hamasechta event, celebrating a movement that inspires, uplifts and transforms. Where participants gathered to hug the Gemaros they have grown to love. They danced with the seforim that have become their best friends and expressed an Ahavas Ha’Torah they never believed they would possess.
The overwhelming majority of the crowd were not Rabbis. They were doctors and lawyers, accountants and real estate agents. “Baalei Batim” we call them. But Kinyan Hamasechta has successfully dispelled that distinction. In the world that is Kinyan Hamasechta, titles are irrelevant, spiritual rankings non-existent. There, we’re all the same, connecting as best we can to that spiritual place where we all belong.
The event opened with a retzufos seder, in classic Kinyan Hamasechta style. The Kol Torah was positively deafening. One could almost see the melachim watching with envy as to what heights a Yid can rise to.
A siyum was made for those who had completed the masechta. But the truth is, it was essentially a siyum for every person present. A siyum is the celebration of accomplishment in Torah and that’s precisely what every person there was doing. Celebrating the inner world of Torah to which they have now been introduced. We danced to the well-known Niggunim “Ashreinu ma tov chelkeinu, ashreichem talmidei chachamim,” but this time, there was something different. These were no longer mere melodies; these were personal mantras, being expressed from the deepest part of the neshama.
And as we danced to the music, one could discern yet another familiar song emerging as a silent, yet deafening roar: Mah Ahavti Toresecha Kol Hayom Hi Sichosi! – How much I love Your Torah, all day, it is my speech. Yes, I may spend most of my day at business meetings, with patients, customers, clients or investors. But all day, every minute of the day, the speech that is essentially mine is the words of Torah.
The grand finale was the famous “Chazara song” composed by Rabbi Baruch Levine. The song was originally composed for Vhaarev Na, but of course, had equal relevance to Kinyan Hamasechta’s celebration. Continued chazara is what brought everyone to this momentous occasion; the joy reaching its peak as the message of the power of mastering one’s Torah echoed through the room.
The dancing was followed by an exquisite dinner for Kinyan Hamasechta members and their spouses. The wives who’d joined in the celebration witnessed firsthand the extent to which their mesirus nefesh has, and continues to, accomplish.
Much of the night’s celebration was encapsulated by an idea shared by keynote speaker, Harav Elya Brudny Shlita. Pointing to the opulent décor and luxurious meal, Rav Brudny explained that, indeed, Chazal teach us that a siyum is to be celebrated like a Yom Tov. But this begs the question: Why? Why the materialism? After all, isn’t a siyum a spiritual accomplishment? But that’s exactly the point, Rav Brudny explained. When a person makes Torah the very essence of their identity, it, in effect, transforms everything they do into something holy. What was once an elaborate slice of meat has now become a symbol of the Torah’s value and importance. This idea was essentially a synopsis of all that Kinyan Hamasechta seeks to achieve. Make Torah your essence. Let everything else then elevate with it.
Rav Brudny’s closing remark still rings in my ears. “We were despairing who Moshiach is showing up to? Who will be at the front lines? Who will care what Moshiach has to say? Seeing the crowd gathered here tonight, we now have hope.”
The evening’s celebration closed with a kumzitz together with Eitan Katz and Baruch Levine. Participants linked arms and hearts, 350 individuals fused into one mass of Bnei Torah united by the common and unparalleled joy of truly understanding and mastering one’s Torah.
After the event the emails began to flow in. Just a sampling of some quotes of attendees.
“As a recent working man, my Rosh Kollel’s advice to me was to pick a masechta, and make it mine I have kept a daily seder, but unfortunately not made a masechta mine. Kinyan Hamasechta has enabled me to complete that circle!”
“If Rabbi Newman would ask me for a one liner about Kinyan Hamasechta it would be the greatness that comes out of people when they are collaboratively on a journey to the common goal of lehagdil Torah ulahadira. I am coming back as a different person looking forward to a bright future of Yigeas Hatorah.”
“It was not about each of us individually, each chaburah individually, it was about achdus in Klal Yisrael. I danced, held arms and sang with people I never knew, so many whose names I still don’t know and felt such a sense of unity. My learning again has a new purpose.
I know each and every time I chazar, somewhere out there someone else is too, because we all believe in the same thing. I can’t wait until next year to see how many more have joined our ranks.”
“Its a little more than 12 hours after leaving one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I feel like it hasn’t ended.
It hasn’t ended because the sense of camaraderie that was built with people who when you walked into the event were strangers, and at the end felt like brothers.
It hasn’t ended because the kol Torah and energy that was displayed during the seder will appear in my eyes, ears and heart every time I open up a Gemara Succah.
It hasn’t ended because the sense of chashivus haTorah that was displayed through the event itself and so eloquently described by Harav Brudny shlita has given me a new chashivus for my own Torah and every member of Klal Yisroel’s Torah forever.
It hasn’t ended because the bonding of body and soul that took place inside me during the kumzitz will have an everlasting effect on my life.
And it hasn’t ended because I was exposed in an entirely new way to the real koach of what individuals can accomplish to make a revolution in Klal Yisroel that has and will continue to change the face of Klal Yisroel ad biyas goel.”
“As the flight took off, I smiled inside. Never in the last ten years had I taken a gemara on a flight. I took it out proudly and began to chazer!”
The Kinyan Hamasechta event was a blazing testimony to the depth of the relationship between the Torah, and Klal Yisroel. Each and every one of us can and must find a way to connect to Torah and Yiddishkeit in the most intimate of ways.
For more info, please visit kinyanhamasechta.com
or email Rabbi Dovid Newman at