Imagine if you were given the opportunity of enabling, and having a zechus in, 20,000 children learning and mastering a vital portion of the Torah that, unfortunately, is not widely studied. Wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
Seder Zeraim, which deals primarily with the agricultural laws of the Torah, was, for a long time, a neglected portion of Shisha Sidrei Mishnah. But Seder Zeraim is an extremely important limud. Reish Lakish is quoted in the Gemara (Shabbos 31a) as stating homiletically that the word “emunah,” meaning faith, mentioned as the first of six terms in a posuk in Yeshayah (33:6), “Vehayah emunas itecha chosen yeshuos chochmas vodo’as,” corresponds to Seder Zeraim. Maseches Brachos, which opens the seder, and the rest of the masechtos are viewed as an expression of faith through reliance on the Ribono Shel Olam.
WATCH: AWESOME- The moment Rav Chaim enters the Siyum Mishnayos
It is understandable why, when his daughter, Rebbetzin Chana Shteinman a”h, was ill and in need of a refuah, Rav Chaim Kanievsky instructed that Seder Zeraim be studied as a merit for her.
At the time, Rav Kalman Etrog, who received Rav Chaim’s directive, launched a wide-ranging effort to enhance the study of Seder Zeraim. In addition to Rav Chaim’s support, Reb Kalman was encouraged by Rebbetzin Shteinman’s father-in-law, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, as well. Reb Kalman’s amazing fortitude and unending dedication resulted in a nationwide program known across Eretz Yisroel as Zichron Chana, which has thus far facilitated the mastery of Seder Zeraim by 20,000 youngsters.
This is a phenomenal accomplishment that has been appropriately celebrated in past years with a massive siyum event at Yad Eliyahu Stadium, with over 16,000 children in attendance. Rav Chaim Kanievsky has attended each of these siyumim, making a point of being presence for a significant portion of the program, demonstrating the respect he has for Zichron Chana and the importance he ascribes to the program. The ahavas haTorah demonstrated by the participants and the kavod haTorah reflected by the event itself have made a profound impact on those present and Jews far beyond.
A major part of this undertaking is the publishing of tens of thousands of seforim containing elucidated Mishnayos, with diagrams and illustrations, assisting the youngsters in the learning of the difficult masechtos of Zeraim. Rabbi Etrog has thus far published approximately 60,000 such seforim.
This year’s siyum, to be held next week, is expected to draw its largest crowd ever of over 20,000 youngsters. It will be a maamad of kevod Shomayim of unprecedented proportions.
The program and next week’s siyum are facing a financial challenge. In the past, Zichron Chana has benefitted from some government funding, as it was viewed as a cultural undertaking, rendering it an appropriate recipient of those funds. Changes in the allocation guidelines, however, have left Reb Kalman and Zichron Chana far short of the funds needed to keep the various facets of the program going.
20,000 children are looking to us to step in and help.
Seder Zeraim, the seder of emunah, is relying on us to ensure that the study and mastery of its holy words continue.
The zechus of supporting this limud haTorah program is immense. For more information or to sponsor this program in general or next week’s historic siyum, call 917.283.9059 or email to [email protected]
WATCH: Over 16,000 children singing together Ahava Rabba