Join the 27th Season of the One Week Kollel

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one-week kollelA unique and exciting learning opportunity will be offered during the last week of December in the heart of Flatbush.  The program is known as the One Week Kollel.

The Kollel will meet Friday, December 25, 2015, through Sunday, January 3, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  It will be hosted in the spacious and comfortable Beis Medrash of Congregation Tomchei Torah located at 1966 Ocean Avenue, between Avenues N and O.  The sugyos of study this year will be drawn from Perek Keitzad Mevarchim (Berachos 36a), particularly the laws relating to the beracha of borei minei mezonos. The program will include chavrusa study, small study groups, and a series of shiurim.  Lunch and refreshments will be served.

The renowned Rav Pesachya Fried, shlita, will lead the program as Rosh Kollel.  His legendary shiurim cover the major themes of the sugyos and are accompanied by well-organized handouts presenting the relevant source material.  His original and scintillating shiurim are presented and delivered with utmost clarity.

Rav Moshe Twersky, shlita, another pillar of the Kollel, will deliver a series of daily shiurim covering every detail of the selected sugyos.

Rav Yisroel Belsky, shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Torah Vodaath; Rav Sholom Plutchok, shlita, the Mara d’Asra of Congregation Tomchei Torah; Rav Yitzchok Deitz, shlita, the Mara d’Asra of Congregation Zichron Alter; and other guest Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim will also make presentations.  Preliminary and preparatory shiurim will be offered for those who are interested.

The learning will be dedicated le’ilui nishmas Mrs. Batsheva Mandel a”h.  Mrs. Mandel’s nobility, grace, and kindness are remembered by the chaveirim of the Kollel.  Every year, she took it upon herself to personally serve lunch to the members of the Kollel.  All remember her warm greetings and divrei bracha during the brief daily lunch breaks.

The Kollel was established in December 1988 by Dr. Aaron Mandel under the auspices of Torah Connections.  The mission of the One Week Kollel is to afford ba’alei battim an opportunity to re-live the milchamta shel Torah of their yeshiva days.  The last week in December was selected because it is a time when many have vacation from work and are able to commit themselves to this holy endeavor.

Participants in the Kollel spend a week learning several sugyos b’chavrusa in the company of noted talmidei chachamim and yir’ei Shamayim.  The highlight of the program is the series of stimulating shiurim delivered by distinguished Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim.  The sugyos are carefully selected to include familiar topics to enable the participants to delve into the sugyos quickly without spending much time familiarizing themselves with background material.  Through the nurturing of the Maggidei Shiur, participants in the Kollel in prior years have advanced spiritually and intellectually.

The core members of the Kollel are a diverse group of more than fifty people from near and far, united in their desire to grow in Torah and yiras shamayim.  In addition to broadening one’s knowledge of Torah, the Kollel fosters an environment of genuine camaraderie and inspiration.  One member noted that beyond the knowledge that he has gained through the program, the Kollel environment has inspired him to strive for greater heights in ruchniyus.

As a testament to its success, the one-week program has been extended in prior years to weekly shiurim.  In addition, some members of the Kollel have met learning partners with whom they have continued to learn and maintain close relationships for years.  As many have discovered, there is no friendship that is stronger or more enduring than one forged through the study of Torah.

It is noteworthy that the Kollel is commencing its twenty-seventh season.  Twenty-seven is the numerical value of the word zach, pure.  This word is mentioned in connection with the oil that was used for the lighting of the menorah in the Beis ha-Mikdash (Shemos 27:20).  Chazal tell us that only in regard to the menorah are we instructed to use absolutely pure olive oil, with no sediments. Meal offerings, by contrast, do not demand this degree of quality.

The number twenty-seven has great significance because it represents the number three raised to the power of three. The number three is symbolic of stability and endurance—“A three-ply cord will not easily be severed” (Koheles 4:12).  The concept of three is featured prominently in Jewish thought.  For example, in Pirkei Avos, we are taught that the Torah stands upon three pillars:  Torah, avodah and gemilas chasadim (Avos 2:2).  In addition, we have three Forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov.  The concept of three is rooted in the physical reality that an object can rest securely only upon a foundation with three legs.  When we multiply the number three by itself, and then multiply it again by itself, the result is twenty-seven, symbolic of the ultimate foundation of stability and endurance.  Twenty-seven thus represents the three-ply cord braided from three-ply cords, three levels deep.

Chazal teach us that the menorah in the Beis ha-Mikdash represents the light of Torah.  The Torah demands that the light of the menorah shine tamid, i.e., continuously.  Perhaps these two ideas are related.  In order for the light of Torah to achieve sustained endurance, temidus, it must be built upon a foundation of purity, zachus. The Kollel this year has reached this symbolic milestone, twenty-seven years of sustained devotion to diligent Torah study, twenty-seven years of a group of individuals expressing that limud haTorah is the only choice when it comes to deciding how to spend one’s vacation time.  Please join the Kollel this year and be a part of the experience!

The program offers an exciting learning opportunity for participants of all backgrounds.  A special division will be devoted to beginners, which will offer shiurim and additional assistance for those who are interested.  For registration, sponsorship opportunities, and more information, please call Torah Connections at (718) 998-5822 or (718) 253-3554.

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