Shas Yiden Avreichim Geonim Amaze Gedolim with Breadth & Extent of Torah knowledge
* Hagaon Harav Bunim Schreiber, shlit”a: Over 100 avreichim, outstanding geonim who know every place in Shas, responded clearly and without any hesitation. Here, in front of me, I see tens of thousands of bletter Gemora – Ashreichem!
* Hagaon Harav Chaim Peretz Berman, shlit”a, exclaimed: I was astonished to see that, aside from their amazing knowledge of Shas, the avreichim defended their knowledge throughout Tosafos and Rashi, Rishonim and Acharonim and also the Yerushalmi – it was simply remarkable
* Hagaon Harav Aryeh Leib Shapira, shlit”a, remarked to the wives of the avreichim geonim: “You are each zoche in helping develop a living sefer Torah in your home. Not every wife has such a zechus!
The Shas Yiden Kolel network held its 15th Annual Farher & Siyum Hashas for its 121 avreichim geonim at the Pavillion Hall, Yerushalayim. This was a grueling farher (examination) on the entire Shas that exceeded all previous examinations, as Shas Yiden has extended its scope and regimen to include all the Tosafos and Rashis, as well as Rishonim and Acharonim and the Talmud Yerushalmi. They answered with amazing clarity and acuity, that had, on previous occasions, left Maranan Gedolei Yisroel amazed at their incredible knowledge and recall.
The examiners of these young geonim were two of the Gedolei Torah of our generation: Maran Hagaon Harav Chaim Peretz Berman, Rosh Yeshiva Ponevez, and Maran Hagaon Harav Bunim Schreiber, Rosh Yeshiva Nesiv Hadaas. These two Geonim are known for their sharpness and incredible knowledge throughout Torah. They were amazed at the incredible knowledge demonstrated by the Shas Yiden geonim, most of whom are relatively young, and all of whom have been able to rise to levels of Torah knowledge in a manner that has no precedent.
This special gathering was the annual Siyum Hashas. It was also the opportunity for the avreichim from all the Shas Yiden kollelim across Eretz Yisroel to gather and to be tested collectively. This full-on Shas farher was a culmination of their written tests throughout the year – weekly on some 50 daf, monthly on 225 daf, quarterly on some 700 daf, and annually on the entire Shas. Stipends awarded for the monthly, quarterly and annual tests are calculated in terms of their scores.
They Know Every ‘Nook and Cranny’ in Shas
After the farher, all gathered in the adjacent hall. Among the invitees every year are Gedolei Torah who are happy to come and witness the incredible phenomenon of the Shas Yiden geonim, who amaze all with their prowess across the length and breadth of Shas. Each year they display loftier and loftier heights, and their knowledge is even more sharpened and broader than they were in the previous year. So commented Rav Bunim Schreiber. He had tested the Shas Yiden four years ago. Already, on that occasion, he was taken with their incredible knowledge. Now, he came to examine them a second time. He could not hide his amazement at the exceptional growth of knowledge and the sharpness of the Shas Yiden geonim. Just a few years earlier they had already attained great heights, and now they have overshadowed their previous accomplishments. In his letter to the Pozna Rov, founder of Shas Yiden, after the farher, he describes the Shas Yiden avreichim as “incredible avreichim geonim who know every single place in Shas… clearly and without any hesitation.
Similarly, Rav Chaim Peretz declared that this was the first time that he came so close-up to the incredible knowledge of the Shas Yiden geonim. In his letter of brocha that he penned after the farher, he wrote with great emotion: “I was so amazed to see, aside from their incredible knowledge in Shas, how they defended their knowledge in Tosafos, Rishonim and Acharonim, as well as in the Yerushalmi – it was just amazing”
Your Great Level
After the farher, all present moved to the adjacent banquet hall for the Siyum Hashas. The wives of the avreichim, who play an integral part in the success of their husbands, were especially honored. They enable their husbands to be able to devote their time to learning, and they ensure that the circumstances in the home are conducive to the learning – a fully integrated family effort of support. They, their families and other talmidei chachomim all joined in the great simcha.
The guest speaker was the Ponevez mashgiach, Hagaon Harav Aryeh Leib Shapira, shlit”a. He mentioned that during Chol Hamoed Succos, he watched a video of a Shas Yiden farher and “I just sat in the sukkah and cried. My eishes chayil asked why I was crying? I responded, pointing to the farher, Look at what’s happening here. See just how Yiden are so completely knowledgeable in the entire Shas and I shouldn’t cry?” He turned to the Shas Yiden avreichim – “I saw you being tested and responding with every reference in Shas, and with such incredible clarity. There I sat feeling woe to my embarrassment! The kin’as sofrim (jealousy of scholars) that I experienced will not increase my chochma,” he said with all modesty, “because I will never be able to rise to your great level.”
Rav Shapira then turned to the tables of the Shas Yiden wives. “Each of you should know that in your homes, you are living with a lebedike (living) sefer Torah! Very few and exceptional wives merit this. Ashreichen (Praised are you all)! You ensure that your homes are conducive for such learning and your children follow your stellar examples.” The Pozna Rebbetzin greeted each of the wives and presented each with a gift cash envelope as a token of the deep-felt appreciation of the Shas Yiden Hanhallah. In addition, they also receive packages in the form of a sefer Torah filled with nosh for each of their children.
Representatives of the avreichim geonim also addressed the gathering. They acknowledged that they had managed to reach the exceptional level of Torah knowledge due to program and regimen of Shas Yiden and the motivator who stands at the helm – the Pozna Rov, Harav Avrohom Halevi Eisen. He had been very close to the late Maran Sar Hatorah, רשכבה”ג, Hagaon Hagadol Harav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l, who was the Nasi of Shas Yiden and Rav Eisen’s patron, as well as other Gedolei Hador, and received their guidance and encouragement.
Rav Chaim encouraged the study program and regimen that has been developed at Shas Yiden that has certainly raised the bar of Torah learning and enables the Shas Yiden to rise to the level of all-encompassing knowledge of the entire Shas, with sharpness and clarity that had been demonstrated at the farher.
The avreichim told, each in his own way, of the incredible study load that is on their shoulders to be able to keep up with the regimen. Even one who was recently blessed with a son, or another who was marrying off a child, or even an avreich who was not feeling well with a cold or feels weak – bottom line, they cannot allow themselves to miss even one day of the study. They will just have to make up all that they had missed even from one day of study, which translates into 45 daf! Namely, 9 ‘fresh’ daf with all the Rashis and Tosafos, PLUS 4 full revisions of those daf! The regimen is very compressed. Thus, missing one or more days can translate into weeks required to catch up.
“I am not a masmid – I have tests.”
One of the avreichim who joined Shas Yiden two years ago, mentioned that a friend from the past asked him “What happened to you? How did you become such a masmid (an intense scholar)?” I responded: “I am not a masmid – I have tests.” Simply, yesterday I had a test on 200 daf of Gemora. Next week I’ve got a test on 500 daf and, in between, I’ve got a test on another 50 daf. And then, at the end of the next week, I will have a test on another 50 daf. So, I am simply so busy with studying for the tests and, without noticing, I find myself learning every available minute…”
According to him: “This is the greatest gift that somebody could give me ever – to change me into an a masmid. And who did this? The head of Shas Yiden, the Pozna Rov, and that is why we are so indebted to him with all our hearts.”
Entire Sukkah on Motzoei Yom Kippur
Another avreich mentioned that he lives in the small town Meitzad. There we were sitting on the night after Yom Kippur, and two Yiden were very quickly going through the Gemora Sukkah, from beginning to end. In response to questions from others watching them, they said that the previous year after Yom Kippur, they had watched one of the citizens, an avreich at Shas Yiden who studied maseches Sukkah through the night. They learned from his example how to achieve great accomplishments if you have the correct will. And so, after the meal on the night after Yom Kippur they sat and studied Sukkah until 5 a.m. to fulfill the dictum ” מחיל אל חיל – go from strength to strength” as immediate preparation for the Festival of Sukkos four days later.
The banquet was enhanced by inspiring music of a talented orchestra, and singers giving beautiful renditions. All joined in with song and dance for the honor and glory of the Torah and לומדיה (its scholars), who immerse themselves in the study of Torah. It is clear that wherever the Shas Yiden Kollelim are to be found, the quality and motivation to learn Torah is raised on high.