As the gesher year draws to a close here is the final few days’ schedule. We would like to thank the gesher family : staff, students and their families for making this year so memorable and inspiring .
Gesher Weekly Schedule: Week of June 12th
Sunday, June 12th – Shavuos
Monday, June 13th – Yom Tov Sheni / Isru Chag
Tuesday, June 14th – Final Day of Learning
9:00 – 11:00 – Final Morning Seder and Shiur
11:00 Depart for Final BBQ Siyum @ Rav Rosman’s (with stops at Kever Shmuel HaNavi and Rav Asher Weiss on the way)
5:00 – Final Afternoon Seder and Shiur
8:30 – Final Night Seder and Shiur
Wednesday, June 15th
Pack and Take Care of things
4:00pm – Final Banquet
SHAVUOS – the Totality of Torah
It’s a real blessing to be able to mind the parsha gap and instead focus on the upcoming festival. Indeed, hoping for a bit of festive clarity to cover the Israel-Diaspora parsha gap, what could be better than Shavuos – a simple festival with a simple theme: the Giving of the Torah. Yet in searching for this clarity, I entered some mist.
We have noted in the past that Shavuos is unique in that the Torah does not ascribe it a particular date – instead referencing it to Pesach via the Omer count; giving way to the celebrated machlokes between the Rabanan and Rabbi Yossi in Gemara Shabbos as to whether Mattan Torah was on the 6th or the 7th of Nissan. Similarly we have noted that the laws and customs of Shavuos are miniscule in number compared to those of Succos and Pesach. Yet there is much more to explore here…
Firstly, the Gemara in Pesachim (68b) cites the view of Rabbi Eliezer that each festival provides a choice as to our conduct: a Yom Tov can either be fully dedicated to prayer and Torah study or to feasting and celebration. Yet, continues the Gemara, on Shavuos Rabbi Eliezer insists (or concords) that some level of physical appreciative indulgence is necessary for ‘this is the day of Mattan Torah.’ Why would the Torah, the most spiritual of all gifts, have to be celebrated on a physical plane?
Let’s explore this issue via one more question and observation. Consider the Gemara (Brachos 11b) regarding the morning blessings on the Torah…
The Gemara is discussing which sections of learning require reciting Birkas Hatorah beforehand. Rav Huna says that only learning pesukim suffices, but not Midrash, whilst Rav Elazar added Midrash too, but not Mishnah. Rav Yochanan opined that even Mishnah necessitates a bracha, but Talmud does not, and Rava (who we pasken like here) writes that even Talmud requires a bracha beforehand.
In analysing this piece and explaining the logic behind each view here, Rashi writes that Rav Huna’s logic is that the main part of Torah is the Written Law – this is the direct word of G-d and this is the greatest level of holiness. This logic is rather compelling – and Midrash (Rav Elazar’s view) is simply an expansion/broadening of this: the Midrash is the extrapolation of these pesukim. Yet when it comes to Rava’s view Rashi veers away from his previous explanation – instead he writes that the Talmud is the mainstay of Torah, from which all halachic ruling emanates. What happened; initially Rashi set the sanctity of the written word of G-d as the benchmark and yardstick for the bracha on the Torah, whilst at the end Rashi moves to an ostensibly completely different scale: the discussions and rulings of Torah. Why? The resolution seems to be that Rashi keeps the yardstick as the Written Law – but he understood that Rava was adding a whole new level to the appreciation of the Written Law that obligates a bracha. Rava was saying that the true expression of the totality and sanctity of the Torah is when the Torah is expressed in this world. Halachic rulings and discussion are the ultimate expression of Torah because they show that Torah does not exist merely in the Heavens and realms of deep spirituality – Torah also exists in the depths of the physical world and can uplift, correct and fix this too.
On Shavuos we celebrate the totality of Torah and how it connects to us. When Moshe was initially confronted by the angels upon receiving the Torah from Hashem (see Gemara Shabbos) his rebuttal was that since man is physical he is most appropriate to receive the Torah – for it can deal with human experiences. Similarly, when we make sure to eat on Shavuos (even according to Rabbi Eliezer) it is to show this synergy between the physical and spiritual, in showing that Torah can uplift the physical too.
Indeed, this concepts works well with the beautiful piece of the Beis Halevi that the main celebration on Shavuos is for the Oral Law – that on the 6th Sivan Moshe added a day to the pre-Mattan Torah preparations; marking the first instance of human involvement in interpreting the Torah.
On Shavuos we celebrate the kedusha of the Torah – its full sanctity and depth – but we do so with the knowledge that Hashem made Torah accessible to the physical world and that our holy task it to latch on to it and allow it to be expressed in this world,
Wishing you a chag sameyach!
(Prepared and chaired by Rabbi Miller)
We are looking forward to the special Shlomo Katz pre-Shavuos mishmar concert tomorrow night; with Shavuos and the final few days of yeshiva on the immediate horizon
Gesher Weekly Schedule: Week of June 5th
Preparing for Life after Yeshiva
Sunday, June 5 – Yom Yerushalayim
7:30 – Special Yom Yerushalayim Shachris with KBY and Igud Yeshivot Hesder at the Kotel
12:00 – Shiur and Shmuz – Rejoicing When Your Enemies Fall – Rav Rosman
1:30 – Mincha
8:15 – Mariv and NS
Monday, June 6
12pm Hart Levine – Giving Back and Staying Involved on Campus
1pm – GSB 2017 – Shana Bet Lunch – New Building 5th floor
4pm – Leaving Panel Part 1 with Afternoon Rebbeim
Tuesday, June 7
12pm – Leaving Panel Part 2 with Morning Rebbeim
1:20 – Ariel Fisher, JLIC at Princeton
Mincha @ 3:50 – Depart for Rosh Chodesh Mesiba @ Sanhedria Orphanage
8:15pm – Maariv, Night Seder and Final Late Night Q and A with Rabbi Berger
Wednesday, June 8
12:00 – Aish Essentials: Deep Impact with Rav Gav – Shavuos Edition
4:00 – Leaving Panel Part 3 with All-Star Aish Rabbis
8:15pm – Maariv, Night Seder and Final Bayit Cham
Thursday, June 9
12:00 – Getting Ready for Shavuos – Rav Greene
4:00 – Crash Course in Hichos Kashrus at Home and on Campus – with Rav Elbaz
8:15pm – Maariv & Night Seder
9:30pm – Shlomo Katz
11:15pm – Late Night Mishmar Learning
12:00 Good Food!
Friday, June 10
8:30am – Bagel Minyan & Parsha Shiur
Final Shabbos and Shavuos!!!!
Gesher Weekly Schedule: Week of May 29
Sunday – May 29
12:10 – Aish Essentials: Inspirational Jewish History – History of Modern Israel – Rabbi Ken Spiro
4:00 – Deep Torah – Rav Miller
Monday – May 30
12:00 – Guest Speaker – Rabbi Elliot Mathias, Director of Hasbara – Anti-Israel on Campus and What You Can Do About It – Theater
4:00 – Rabbi Moshe Zeldman – Controversial Issues
Tuesday – May 31
12:00 – Guest Speaker – Rabbi Gidon Schneider
4:00 – Guest Speaker – Rabbi Gidon Schneider
Regular Afternoon Seder
Night Seder followed by Late Night Q and A with Rabbi Motty Berger
Wednesday – June 1
12:00 – Aish Essentials: Deep Impact – Rav Gav
4:00 – Rabbi Aaron Neckameyer – Science & Torah: Your Soul in a Video Game
Bayit Cham @ the Deutch’s
Thursday – June 2
12:00 – Rav Rosman – Shiur and Shmuz
4:00 – Rabbi Motty Berger – Jewish Philosophy
Night Seder Followed by Mishmar with guest Rabbi
Friday – June 3
8:30am –Bagel Minyan & Parsha Shiur
Shabbos – Out Shabbos