“Longevity Literacy” in the Torah World

We are living in a time of increased average life expectancy. Advancements in healthcare, improved living conditions, better nutrition, and medical breakthroughs have all contributed to this increase. According to recent statistics, a 65-year-old man in the United States will live on average close to another 20 years! 

In the financial planning realm, there has been an observed trend of people of retirement age not having what is referred to as “longevity literacy”, i.e. not fully appreciating this longer life expectancy, and therefore not planning appropriately for it. 

In the spiritual planning realm, it is no less important to possess “longevity literacy” with the conversation focused instead on how to spend all the extra time suddenly available. There are so many possibilities with which to fill newfound hours – spending more time with the einiklach, travelling to see the wonders of Hashem’s world, taking some time to just relax.  Time to travel unhurriedly to Eretz Yisroel, visit mekomos hakedoshim. Time to volunteer to do Chessed in so many areas!  And… time to take learning Torah a step up from merely being “Koveah ittim”, time to set one’s sights and aspirations higher than ever.  

20 years is a very substantial amount of time, one that can be used to accomplish great things in Limud HaTorah. Imagine using this time to learn properly through the entire Shas!  

Over the last few years, Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Edelman has been leading a late-morning chaburah for people with flexible work schedules at Mercaz Torah U’Tefillah (Rabbi Eichenstein’s). Among the participants of the Chaburah are several men already in retirement, and the conversation about what sort of learning goals should be set for the retirement years has come up.

With the encouragement of these Baalei Batim, and with a glowing letter of recommendation from the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisroel, Harav Aharon Feldman Shlit”a, Rabbi Edelman is preparing to start “Yeshivas Gevuras Ari” in the coming months. As the name implies, this will be a full-service Yeshiva type of program, including davening, meals, morning and afternoon Seder, a weekly Shmuz and more. But more importantly, the Yeshiva intends on setting out with an ambitious goal: To learn methodically through the entire Shas in approximately 8-9 years!

The Yeshiva is being called “Gevuras Ari” based on the Passuk in Tehillim “ואם בגבורות שמונים שנה”. The advanced age of life is referred to as a period of “Gevurah”, as the Tiferes Yisroel in Maseches Avos explains – At this stage one’s Kochos HaNefesh are stronger than one’s physical desires, and it is therefore easier to learn Torah and fulfill the Mitzvos. And of course, the reference to the Gevurah of a lion is based on the well-known opening Halacha in Shulchan Aruch – “יתגבר כארי לעמוד בבוקר לעבודת בוראו”. Mustering up such Gevurah sets the tone for all our Avodas Hashem.

To learn more about this golden opportunity (even if you can only attend 1 Seder), please contact Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Edelman at 443-651-3088 or at gevuras-ari@mercaz.center. 

May we all merit to accomplish great things in our learning during our short hiatus in this world, and when our time comes and we arrive at the next world we will be greeted with:

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