Photos: Itzik Roytman/COLlive
When Menachem Levy came to Achei Temimim, Smicha was an impossible goal. For Menachem and many other Bochurim, the idea of learning the amount required to receive Smicha, and learning it well, was laughable. This Sunday, Menachem and 15 of his fellow classmates became Rabbis.
These boys are proficient in the nuances of Kashrus and Halacha, navigating its complexity with astonishing ease. They have developed an enthusiasm for the Halacha, and a rich appreciation for its practical application. They have proven themselves in tests with renowned and respected Rabbonim, like Rabbi Boruch Hertz, Rabbi Yosef Barber and Rabbi Tuvya Kasimov.
How does Achai make this transformation possible?
It starts with the course material. The boys use a fully English text of the Shulchan Aruch, translated and elucidated by Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman. Using his revolutionary Machon Smicha curriculum, the bochurim are presented with each topic clearly. The text also provides them with summaries of the commentaries, and the students use these to understand the details of Halacha and the distinctions between opinions.
The boys’ success is not only due to a revolutionary textbook. The Shulchan Aruch has been brought to life by Rabbi Shmuel Kesselman and Rabbi Yisroel Kaplan. Rabbi Kaplan and Rabbi Kesselman guided the bochurim through all of the difficult texts with ease. They gave Shiurim each day that helped crystalize the often confusing details in a clear and simple way. Approaching each test, the Rabbis stayed with the bochurim late into the night to help them review the material in a way that made the tests manageable.
Finally, the environment that Achai provides has made the Halacha profoundly meaningful. The Menahel of the program, Rabbi Levi Tzukernik, Farbreings with the boys every week, and models the incorporation of Halacha in a healthy way through countless conversations and interactions. They learned Chassidus through the shiurim and lectures from Mashpiim Rabbi Yossi Paltiel, Rabbi Yehuda Fenton, and Rabbi Dovid Losh. This rich environment allows the bochurim to see the manner in which the values and laws of Yiddishkeit can realistically apply.
As these new Rabbis look toward the future they are celebrating the experience that they have had. The Bochurim reflected upon the growth that they have seen and marveled at their success. “When I came here,” Ezriel Litvinchouk shared, “I never expected to finish. And I didn’t just finish – I did really well.”
What's your opinion?Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.