By Mrs. Judy Landman
I attended my sons Hascholas Gemorah program at Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim Talmudical Academy on Sunday, February 19. It was a was a very special event and one that left an impression on the talmidim embarking on this journey as well as their proud parents and grandparents, and great-grandparents. Participants and guests were treated to a delicious breakfast seudah, set elegantly by a group of dedicated TA mothers. The program opened up with Rabbi Sass, the Menahel, giving Divrei Brocho, followed by Rabbi Hexter, the Associate Menahel, with his own. There was a video presentation in which the 5th grade Rebbeim spoke, encouraging the boys and congratulating them on this special milestone. One Rebbe told the boys that they are now travelling on a train trip with the tracks taking them to different places. Who knows where they are going, but it will be a beautiful and lifelong trip. Another Rebbe, likened the learning to that of a branch that is being collected and added to a stack of other branches for the building of a beautiful bonfire. One more Rebbe simply said this is what the boys have been waiting for their whole lives; to learn Torah! Enjoy it!
Rabbi Yissochor Frand was the keynote speaker, but he was also a very proud Zaidy of two of the boys partaking in this Simcha. He shared with the audience that when he was growing up, there were no celebrations for the Haschalas Gemorah. One had a bar mitzvah, with some assorted gifts, and that was it. His parents gifted him with a Shas that he lovingly used and still cherishes. Rabbi Frand made us all cognizant and truly appreciative of the Mesorah that continues and flourishes today. Many of the grandparents in the crowd could not have envisioned this moment in seeing this actually happen. And here we were, in a room with 400 people all witness to Ki Lo Sishachach MiPi Zaro.
This was especially poignant for me and my husband, as we are both children of survivors. My father, a”h, lived through Auschwitz, losing many family members along the way, HY”D, and joined Ner Yisroel, shortly after. My mother, yb”ct, was born at the very end of the war In Budapest. My husband’s grandparents, a”h, hid in a barn, somewhere in Poland while his mother, yb”ct, a toddler, was ensconced in a nunnery.
Concluding this special program, the boys sang two songs that really captivated the feeling of the day as four classes stood on the stage, in tiers, so that they could all be seen by their family. After this, the boys were called one at a time by their Rebbe, presented with their long-awaited treasure, their gemorah, that they proudly held as they walked back to their tables. And then it was time to learn! In the sweetest moment, a room filled with pure Neshamos and yiddishe nachas, engaged in the most precious Eisek, with the beautiful Kol Torah permeating the air as each boy learned with his family, ensuring another link in the chain.
Mazal Tov to the 5th grade of YCCTA! May you continue to shteig and always have a cheishek for Torah!
Judy Landman is author of Seasons of the Rain available on Amazon. She does Write for You creative writing workshops for groups and individuals.