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For the week ending 24 June 2017 / 30 Sivan 5777

Goings on about Ohr Somayach

by Rabbi Shlomo Simon
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

The past few weeks, leading up to and including Shavuot, have been a momentous time here in the Yeshiva. The dominant theme of introspection and spiritual growth during the Sefirah period, which had been a subject of mussar shmuzzen (ethical talks) throughout, became physically manifest in the days leading up to the Festival commemorating “The Receiving of the Torah”. As you may know, the Yeshiva is composed of a multitude of programs, each one tailored to a specific group of students to enable maximizing their growth in learning and midot (character traits). They include the Mechina, which is our introductory program; the Center, for students who are already ba’alei teshuvah and more independent in their learning; the Intermediate Program for college age young men from religious homes; the Beit Midrash Program for the advanced students; the Kollel of Rabbi Reisman for our advanced married students; and the Derech Program, our largest single department, which caters to post-high school students who mostly come from religious backgrounds.

On the night of the 48th day of the Sefirah the various programs which make up the Yeshiva came together for learning in the main Beit Midrash. The atmosphere was electric, and the building was shaking with the “kol Torah” (sound and “voice” of the Torah) of hundreds of students learning Torah with great diligence and devotion. Late that evening there was a festive seudah (meal) in the dining hall. It was quite a memorable evening.

Three days later was the culmination of Sefirah — the 50th day after Pesach — the night of Shavuot. Not only was the entire Yeshiva learning all night, but with lectures for men and women, people flocked from all over the Holy City to Ohr Somayach to receive the Torah anew, and be infused with the holiness of Torah and mitzvot, which we will draw on throughout the year. The Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Nota Schiller, shlita, pointed out that like on the British Empire at its zenith, “the sun never sets”, so too is it on the “Ohr Somayach Empire”.

While we were learning in Yerushalayim, our emissaries were teaching that night in different parts of the world: Rabbi Gottleib was in Johannesburg, Rabbi Breitowitz was in London and we had other Shavuot events in New York, Toronto and in Sydney, Australia. Unlike the British Empire, however, the sun will never set on Malchut Shamayim — “the Kingdom of Heaven”.

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