Torah and nature. The blueprint and the masterpiece itself. They ought to be connected. Well the yeshiva in Postville, IA did just that. A thrilling extracurricular learning campaign was launched, encouraging efficient use of the bochurims’ free time.
Rabbi Yossi Gurari ע”ה of Postville, IA very much appreciated a wise insight on the parsha from the Kli Yakar. “On a regular Shabbos Yossi Gurari would often come over to me and share a vort in Kli Yakar.” Rabbi Gavriel Levin reminisces.
Rabbi Levin, who spearheaded this project, also says that his close friend emphasized the need for writing in chinuch. Writing teaches one how to summarize a topic which they have learned and to remember it clearly. In light of the above the following mivtza was launched.
Every week bochurim would pen down from memory a summary of a Kli Yakar and a Sicha from the Rebbe on the Parsha. The young men learned the material during their breaks, properly utilizing the interim time between mandatory seders. Of course, in good Jewish fashion, refreshments were served to those participating.
The constant studying accustomed the bochurim to learning meforshim, and greatly furthered their ability to learn Sichas. In fact one bochur testified “Because of this mivtza, I am now able to fully learn a sicha by myself”.
With the insights still freshly imprinted on their minds, the students were treated to refreshing excursions and enjoyable outings as a reward for the knowledge gained, and as an incentive to continue.
The campaign was initiated in loving memory of Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Gurari ע”ה. Rabbi Gurari ע”ה was always awed from the splendid beauty of raw nature, the Creator’s gift to His creations.
After a full year of absorbing the stimulating teachings of the Kli Yakar and acquiring insight from the Rebbe’s Sichas, the bochurim got the opportunity to visit possibly one of the most awesome and splendid displays of raw nature. In a dramatic finale to this groundbreaking mivtza, participants embarked on a three day journey to the Badlands National Park in Southwestern South Dakota. The breathtaking view of the naturally vibrant, colored canyons, coupled with enthralling layered rock formations, was definitely a most wonderful and poetic conclusion to an epic run of learning and growing. The iconic and memorable Mount Rushmore National Memorial was also visited by the group of learned bochurim.
Now infused with the positive habit of covering ground consistently and retaining it, the learners at Yeshiva Beis Shalom were not to be stopped. In a great effort to learn a large chunk of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch well, the bochurim were encouraged to study 60 simanim from Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried’s magnum opus.
After completing question and answer booklets on the 60 simanim they qualified for the next round to put their newfound knowledge up for scrutiny. The Yeshiva was swept up in a captivating desire to learn and know the sizable quota. In an intense game show fashion, two teams of bochurim went head on, impressively displaying their eloquent understanding in practical Halacha. Rapid fire answers were delivered, and points quickly piled up, proving that indeed, even though only one team could win the game, all walked out true winners.
The victorious team enjoyed exhilarating times on a go-cart racetrack and relished in a sumptuous barbeque. All bochurim who finished their question and answer booklets, were rewarded with valuable prizes as well.
The permanent mastery of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch along with the previously mentioned accomplishments in the study of the Kli Yakar and the Rebbe’s Sichas, will propel these bochurim to eagerly learn and achieve a greater understanding in the Parsha and other relatable aspects of Jewish life.
The yeshiva would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Aron Goldsmith for donating time and money to enable this Mivtza to have happened.